Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GET COLD FEET (10/12/17)
- TITLE: Misunderstood
By Mike Hill
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Dad wasn’t, but I’m used to it. Being misunderstood or canceled on is a part of my life. Sadly, I've grown used to being left out or being the last chosen. I don't hang with the A-listers. I've learned to live with being forgotten, being ignored, or just being blamed for everything. Instead of sitting at home and moping about not being called, I read a lot. It's OK; I've learned to keep my expectations low, just so none of these things would matter. In response, I decided to always be the happy one - the one who did not complain and whine but seemed to enjoy life. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of it until the other night.
Just before a church fellowship dinner at noon, our Sunday School teacher informed me that recently one of our members was diagnosed with a congenital, and likely genetic, heart problem. I was asked to give thanks over the meal, and unfortunately, I confused the words genetic and congenital and asked everyone to say a prayer about Mark’s genital condition. I noticed a few giggles about the room but was oblivious. My wife, trying not to laugh nudged me and says “I’ll tell you later.”
Later that day, we meet our son and his family at the local Chinese Buffet for supper. My daughter in law and I were kidding around about how hard it was to eat with chopsticks, and we challenged one another to pick up tic-tacs. My grandson, while he was texting friends and only halfway listening, thought we were talking about eating chapstick as a breath freshener.
Being misunderstood or half-way listened to doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t make me feel sad about who I am as a person. I try to remember that other people’s issues should not affect how I define myself.
Later at night, my wife awakes and finds that I am not in bed. She puts on her robe and sleepily trudges downstairs. She spies me sitting at the kitchen table, a mug of coffee in front of me, and approaches. Initially, I do not notice her; I am in deep thought just staring at the cup. Feeling a tear rolling down my cheek, I wipe it off on the sleeve of my robe and take another sip of coffee. At that moment, I notice her.
“Why don't you come back to bed?” she asks. “You need your sleep.” “I understand, you must be feeling pretty low about the day’s activities, you know, your genital prayer and eating chapstick and all!”
In an unusually gravelly voice, I answer, “Naw, I’m ok.”
She proceeds to tell me it was ok to be sad. “Everybody makes mistakes and misstates things, Its an intrinsic part of life. It happens to all of us.” “Do you remember the night your Dad caught us kissing in the back seat of his Buick?” “He was pretty ticked, and made it hard on us for a while, but look how good it turned out in the end!”
Wiping away another tear, I hoarsely answer that I do remember. “Oh honey," she coos. "That’s so sweet that you remember and so romantic that the memory makes you teary-eyed!”
I sigh deeply and mumble, “No honey, the tears are because my toe still hurts!” “I couldn’t sleep and came downstairs only to stub and burn my toe on the heater – my feet were cold!”
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