Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)
- TITLE: She is a Child, Now She is Old
By Glenda Lagerstedt
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She is a child. Her clothes are shabby. Her house is nondescript, run down. Her possessions are few.
She is an adolescent. She sees what she has missed. She has a part time job. Now her clothes are new, she has belongings that make her proud and help her to fit in with her peers.
She is a young adult. She works fulltime, her clothes are nicer and her possessions have increased even more.
She meets the young man of her dreams. She sports a diamond. Together they plan their wedding.
Her friends give a bridal shower. Wonderful gifts overflow, making her glad. Pots, pans, casserole dishes and linens galore. She feels wealthy and blessed.
She is a young bride. Joyful and nervous all at once, she walks down the aisle to meet her beloved. They are surrounded with the love and best wishes of family and friends. And oh yes, more gifts to bless the bride and groom.
They move into a small apartment, their first home. Everything fits into four rooms and a single closet. (They have to lean hard on the closet door to close it and hope that it doesn’t spring open unexpectedly, exploding its contents.) But everything fits.
Now they are expecting a child, a little girl, so they buy a starter home. It’s not a much bigger than the apartment but boasts cellar and garage, good things since so much space is claimed by crib, stroller, highchair, playpen, dresser and changing table. Toys and clothes from the baby showers fill the dresser, crib and corners. She is transported with joy; her child will have what she never did as a child.
Time moves on, bringing another child; thus a bigger house, bigger cellar, attic and plenty of closets. This child is a boy, and frilly dresses and talking dolls won’t do. Too precious to shed, outgrown treasures move quietly to the attic. The boy child supports mom’s determination to ensure no lack for her offspring.
His older sister and later a younger one, also continue to realize the goal of plenty of good stuff. A vast abundance of yard sales and doting aunts and grand parents conspire to support that objective.
The children grow up and move on…declining to take the ‘good stuff’ with them. The clutter never gets busted despite several good books (alphabetized) on a bookshelf, detailing just how to beat the chaos. She marvels that she can empty a closet, fill two large trash bags with rejects, and then seemingly return as much content as it originally held.
First her husband’s parents and then her own pass on. So much stuff, too hard to dispose of. The untidiness expands, taking over the house.
There is a time when their energy is boundless. She papers, paints and plants as needed to keep their home pleasing to the eye. He builds a porch, a gazebo. He adds a fence and some shutters. But then their drive dwindles along with the bank accounts. Now he studies the peeling paint outside and wonders when or if they can afford to get it refurbished.
To her it seems as tiring these days to paper the small hallway as it once did to redecorate the entire living room. She looks around the area and acknowledges to herself that it needs to be redone. But there is so much stuff to move. The very thought exhausts her and she rests on the couch in yesterday’s clothes, letting yesterday’s newspaper fall to her chest as she dozes off.
Now she is old. Her clothes are shabby. Her house is nondescript, run down. And her possessions are crowding in and smothering her after all the years.
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