Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: JAM (02/09/17)
TITLE: Tight Squeeze
By JC Hummel
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“Hi Hon, it’s Mom. It’s not too early to call, is it?”
Blurry-eyed she held up her phone to see the time, “Mom, it’s 7am.”
“Good. I need a small favor.”
Judy put her head back on her pillow folding her arm over her eyes, “Jim and I are going to his cousin’s wedding today.”
“I know, but I was wondering if you could take a couple of John and Mary’s storage boxes — just for a few weeks —until they move to their new home. Honestly, the four of us are jammed into this condo like a bunch of sardines. I love my sister and brother-in-law, I really do, but they have so much stuff!”
“I thought they were moving to their new house the first week of July.”
“They are, but you haven't been over here to see this place, there’s barely any space to walk. There are boxes everywhere, and your dad has stubbed his toe twice on one of the storage totes and then last night he hit his shin on one of their end tables in the hallway. They can't fit anything else in their storage unit."
“Well, we don’t have much space, but there’s some room in the closet under the stairs and in the small closet in the hallway near the kitchen. I won’t be here today, but you can use the spare to let yourself in and leave the boxes here.”
“You’ve just made my day. Thanks Judy. Enjoy the wedding.”
A week before Labor Day, Judy was cleaning out her hall closet when she noticed two plastic totes behind her husband’s old golf clubs. She went into the kitchen where he was having breakfast. “Honey, what’s in the two plastic totes in the closet?”
“I don’t know, I don’t remember seeing plastic totes in there.”
Then her phone rang, it was her mother. “Something dreadful has happened… she sobbed on the other end of the phone.
Her mind raced. “Are you and Dad okay?”
“Yes, we’re fine, it’s John and Mary. There was a terrible fire — they weren’t home at the time, thank goodness. Oh Judy, it’s awful, their new home burnt to the ground, everything they own has been destroyed. I prayed driving over there that we could salvage something, but there’s nothing left. They literally have only the clothes on the backs. They have insurance, but Grandma’s 100-year-old quilt is gone and so is all of Mary’s jewelry …” She sniffled. “They’re going to stay with me and Dad, again. I feel so bad now that I complained about all their things jamming up my house. I was so selfish. Now they have nothing left of their lives. Just memories. Nothing, not even a picture frame.”
“Oh Mom, this is so awful. I feel so bad for them. Is there anything I can do?”
“Yes, come over for dinner tonight and offer some moral support,” and she blew her nose.
“Sure, we’ll be there.” Then she looked down at the two large blue plastic totes. Her heart skipped a beat.
“Mom … remember a few weeks ago when you came over with some of Aunt Mary’s storage boxes, how many did you leave here?”
“Umm, four. I put two in the hall closet and two in the closet under the stairs.”
I thought you only brought over two and put them under the stairs. I only brought two over to Aunt Mary’s the night of the housewarming.”
“I’ve just found the two totes you put in the hallway closet.”
“Oh my goodness!” her mother yelled into the phone. “Open them. See what is inside.”
She pulled the two heavy boxes out into the hallway and took the lid off one box. The first thing she saw was a large wedding album and then took the lid of the second. “Mom, your prayers have been answered. Both totes have photos albums,” and then Judy burst into tears of joy. ‘How come Aunt Mary didn't miss these.”
“She hadn’t had time to unpack everything so she probably thought they were in the spare room with the rest of unopened boxes.”
“Mom, looking at the wonderful possessions in these totes, I think it was good thing your house was so jammed-packed.
“I think so too, Honey.” and they both smiled.
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