Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: HOME (02/07/19)
- TITLE: My Favorite
By Jude Harris
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
“Okay Mom,” Jake said, breaking the hold.
“Don’t forget to call and write us!” I said. I looked at his whiskery chin - my boy, a man now. I kept my hand on his arm, keeping the warmth of his skin against my palm, his essence. I didn’t want to lose that.
He looked at his watch. “Ready pops?”
My husband, Bob, lifted an eyebrow and glanced at me. “We’re off!” He rustled his keys and sucked in a big breath.
“Oh! Jake, I packed cheese sandwiches and gingersnaps.”
“Thanks, Mom.” He lifted his duffle bag on his shoulder. I held my breath as I watched him walk out the door and leave home.
“Wait!” I ran to the study and grabbed a small Bible I’d wrapped in brown paper. “Keep it close,” I told him. I gave him another kiss, another hug.
I ran up the driveway and watched the car until it turned the last corner and disappeared. I stared at the empty road and then, back inside, at the empty room. I filled it with tears.
I walked down to his room and stood in the doorway. I looked at the posters papered on his walls, and his surfboard propped up in the corner. They looked lonely. “Well, ole room, he’s left you too!”
Bob came home a couple hours later. “You okay?” He rubbed my shoulder and looked at my puffy eyes.
“He’ll never BE here anymore. He’ll visit, but it won’t be the same!” I sobbed.
“Home is where the heart is,” my husband said comforting me.
I snorted through my tears. “The heart Bob? I miss him here - with - us.”
“We stopped at the florist on the way,” Bob said. He pulled a potted plant out from behind his back.
“Hyacinths!” I held them close and breathed in their fresh scent. “You guys remembered!”
When Jake was five, he and his friend, Lee, had mowed down my hyacinth bed with their big-wheels. In the thrill of speed, Jake ran over the little border of my flower bed with Lee plowing in right behind him. When I reached the shrieks and laughter, I found arms and legs sprawled out amidst two overturned 'race cars' - culprits of a flattened bed of hyacinths.
I threw up my hands. “What did you guys do??” I yelled. While they scrambled up and away from the crime scene, I stormed away, off to a side porch. “They’re ruined! No more until next spring!” I fumed, my head buried in my hands.
Two pairs of feet showed up right in front of me. I looked up to see four big eyes staring at me.
“Sorry, Mama,” Jake said. He patted my shoulder.
“Yes, yes. Sorry, boys. Here, sit.” I made room for on the porch steps.
"Those were my favorites. Jake, if Lee came over and smashed your favorite toy, your Lego fort, would you be happy?"
“No!” He punched Lee’s arm like he’d done that.
“Well, you could put that back together again, but I can’t fix these. Those were my favorites, all smashed.” They looked at me. “But,” I continued, “I - know - you - didn’t - mean - to. It’s okay! I’m glad it’s the flowers that got hurt and not you two!” I tussled their hair and shooed them off to play.
Jake hesitated. “Mama, were you having a tantrum?”
I laughed. “Yup! But only for a minute! Go on and play!”
That afternoon Jake walked in the back door holding a potted hyacinth, beaming proudly. “Daddy and I got you this!”
“My favorite!” I exclaimed, hugging him.
I may have lost my hyacinths that spring, but my loss became a blessing. Every spring, Jake and his dad 'surprised' me with a potted hyacinth plant. I always exclaimed, 'My favorite!' Then I'd hug Jake and tell him he'd always be my favorite too.
Bob pointed to the little card stuck in between the flowers. “Oh! Read the card,” he said.
I opened it slowly, savoring the moment. In Jake’s handwriting, I read: “You’ll always be my favorite.”
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