Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Threefold Cord (04/12/12)
TITLE: Keep Your Buttons Tight
By annie keys
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I’d had this problem since childhood, my coat buttons are always falling off. Most the days of my youth, I’d greeted my Mom with, “The button fell off my coat AGAIN.” Mom had always shook her head and admonished me that if I’d just listen to her directions to use three strands of thread to sew it back on this time instead of the customary two, there would be no more issue with missing buttons.
What she said made no sense at all. If the metal shank on the button could cut its way through one or two threads, why would a third matter? Wouldn’t the shank simply cut through that thread as well? But, she’d always insisted the “three strand thing” would work.
Now, years passed childhood, my button and my heart dangled by a thread. I sat toying with the button crying as the mile markers rushed by my window. Enough, I’d simply had enough of fussing, empty promises and brokenness. I’d tried, for months, no let’s be honest, years, to live with Ben. Life had been good for the first few years; what had changed?
My head ached almost as much as my heart; when DID things start to fall apart? Angrily I wiped my tears with the back of my hand. The time for crying was over; it was time for action! Strangely, I thought the act of leaving would bring release. Instead, I felt even more trapped in my escape than I had in my assumed captivity.
Earlier today when I closed the door and left the house key under the mat, I intended not to return. Ben was out of town on business, by the time he got back to the empty house, I would be far away. I’d not left a note; he could figure it out himself.
My mom wasn’t expecting me, I probably should have called her and at least let her know that I’d left Ben and was heading to her house. I couldn’t stay at Ben’s house anymore, yet, I knew I wouldn’t be able to return to my child hood and “fit” again either. Odd, I just noticed that I’d called “our home”, “Ben’s house.” When had I started thinking of it that way? Certainly it was long before I locked the door behind me this morning.
How had Dad and Mom stayed married for so many years? Living with Daddy couldn’t have been easy; he was so strong willed! Musing, I smiled; mom had always said I was just like my Dad. When HAD things started to unravel with Ben? When we first married, we were so in love; we did everything as a couple; we even taught a Sunday school class together.
Church, now, I can’t even remember the last time Ben and I went to church together.
First, Ben had stopped going, he had so much work to do; Sunday was the only time he had to catch up. Then, in time, I too stopped going to church. I’d never considered myself to be a religious person anyway. My mom had always talked about how Christianity wasn’t a religion, it was a relationship. Mom always made a “Jesus connection” to everything.
As I’d watched her sew, she’d even told me that anchoring a button with three threads instead of two was like making Jesus part of your home. The sharp edges of life can make the fragile threads of relationship fray and fall apart. But, when you add that “Jesus thread;” the buttons hold tight. As I wiped a tear, the dangling coat button dropped off onto my lap in silent reference.
Maybe mom was right after all? Perhaps I should, finally, sew the button on my coat as per her instructions. And, maybe that’s what was wrong with Ben and me; we’d never used that Jesus thread to anchor our marriage. Maybe we were losing our buttons? I sputtered through my tears and stifled a giggle.
Pulling out my cell phone, I texted Ben, “Spending the weekend with Mom; she’s going to tell me how to keep my buttons tight.”
(word count 750, fiction)
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