Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Year(s) (01/20/11)
- TITLE: This Time
By Marita Thelander
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My teeth grit at the sound of the strapping tape as it peeled off the roll. I shoved the packed box over to the corner with the others. My aching back felt immediate relief when I stood straight and rested, hands on hips. I was quite pleased with myself, but the second I turned around and faced the disarray that remained, my shoulders slumped in defeat.
This time last year my world crumbled…I shook my head to rattle the painful memories out of my brain.
Birds singing outside drew me to the back deck. The lawn, scattered with toys, needed mowed one more time. Impulsively, I scooped up trucks and balls and lay them on the deck.
I have two hours before Tonya brings the kids back. I dragged the lawn mower out and checked the tank. No gas.
Back in the house, I scrounged through the mess in search of my keys and spied the empty boxes scattered around. It took less than five seconds to convince myself to run to the gas station…and the espresso stand. This day is going to require caffeine. My keys jingled when I picked them up. And chocolate.
Forty-five minutes later I slipped into the house sucking on my twenty-four ounce iced caramelicious fix and clutched a bag of truffles. Plopped on the couch and feeling the caffeine awaken my numb brain I opened my laptop and began rapidly surfing the internet for moving trucks. Oh I have facebook messages.
With latte sucked dry, half a bag of truffles vanished, and caught up on everyone’s day, it was time to work again. Oh man. I left the gas in the trunk. Now my car is going to asphyxiate me.
I rushed out to the garage to retrieve the fuel for the lawnmower and headed outside to fill the tank. The warmth of the spring sunshine revived me and I decided if I’m going to be outside, I could start on my tan.
Back in the house, I pulled the box marked summer clothes size 10 from my closet shelf fully aware that the one marked with an eight ain’t happenin’ yet. I tried to not look at the half empty closet, void of men’s clothing.
This time last year, I discovered…Stop it!
I grabbed the first pair of shorts off the top and slipped them on. Too tight? No way! Relief washed over me when I saw they were in the wrong box. After trying on four pair, I finally found something lawn mowing appropriate and hoped and prayed no one would see me.
Outside I breathed deep. This is exactly what I need: physical exercise and warm sunshine…a great stress release. I yanked about a bazillion times on the yank cord thingy…nothing. Determined, I pumped the primer some more and tried again.
I collapsed on the porch in frustration and tears slipped down my face unchecked. I glanced at my empty ring-finger. This time last year I wasn’t the one who mowed.
The front door opened. I swiped at my tears and snot with the back of my gas-reeked hand.
“Hi Mommy.” Five year old Jenna plopped herself on my lap facing me while two year old Sammy promptly grabbed a truck and made motor noises. “We went to the zoo. What did you do?”
“Yeah, what did you do?” Tonya leaned on the door frame with her arms crossed.
I shrugged my shoulders and turned to face my friend. Tonya’s accusing attitude shifted the moment she saw my red, puffy eyes.
“Oh, Lexi,” Tonya crouched next to me. “Jenna, can you go get Mommy a glass of water?”
“I can’t focus,” I admitted out loud for the first time. “When I’m alone I...”
Tonya stood, fished for her phone, and punched out a text message before she pulled me up. “Let’s attack the pile in the living room while the kids are content.”
Within minutes, Tonya’s phone was going insane with incoming messages.
“What’s going on?”
“In about half-hour you’ll be drowned in a flood of love. Before you go to sleep tonight your house will be packed and ready to go.”
Overwhelmed, I sat down. “It was this time last year I found out…” I started but Tonya stopped me.
“Lexi, you have to look forward. He’s gone. He’s a jerk and you’re moving on.” Tonya wrapped her arms around me and whispered. “You’ll be amazed at what God has done for you…this time next year.”
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