Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILL (10/29/15)
- TITLE: The Last Season
By Marlene Bonney
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God breathed life in my nostrils over eighty years ago, a tiny, perfect replica of His blueprint sketch. I was a thousand possibilities, based on a myriad of factors, many of which are still beyond my limited human comprehension. My time here is drawing to a close now—at least three-quarters gone—and I wonder what I have to show for it. . .
I wrap my oversized sweater tighter across my thinning frame, a mere skeleton of my former girth when I had struggled with thickening fat across my middle, the bane of my Autumn years. What I could do with some of those shed pounds now to protect my chilling bones!
I meander slowly through the child-less bedrooms trying to grasp fragments of past joys and sorrows imprinted there. Just a wisp of gathering dust floats through my mind, though, and I give up for the moment. In a lot of ways, I seem to be going back to the beginning again—the Springtime, when others controlled me as a child. My children want to monitor my movements and health and even where I might go when this old house is sold. . .
I have my mother’s hands now, thin as parchment, age-spot covered veiny spider legs leading up to knobby-knuckled appendages only slightly resembling my fingers from long ago. I rub them together slowly, back and forth like two pieces of fine sandpaper, thankful for any warmth to take off the chill that seems to permeate my body these days.
“Oh, my—the spot is still there where Stan and Ken had that father and son bonding experience, killing that ornery bat that had somehow squeezed through an attic window."
It had awakened us all with its flapping wings. How frightened our two daughters were, stuffing sweaters and blankets under their closed bedroom doors while the male members of the household, armed with a tennis racket and a broom, got rid of our unwelcome guest!
“I don’t remember it being so cold up here for the children,” shuffling my slipper-clad feet around to get restricted blood flow going.
Then I recall the children have shut off these upstairs registers to save money on heat bills. My eyes flutter over to our youngest daughter’s former bedroom, shaded squares and rectangles remaining on her walls where posters and bulletin boards had once hung and allow slide shows of the children’s lives to play.
I know the children would be unhappy about me being up here alone in this chilly air, afraid I’m going to repeat the pneumonia episode of last winter. I sigh and allow helpless tears to run their course down my wrinkled face. Finally, I force my thoughts into the present, the care home possibility looming over me like a dark, smothering shroud waiting to envelope me before I am ready.
How can time have gone so fast; the Spring of my growing up years with Mama and Papa and Sissy and Stuart, now all in heaven ahead of me. The Summer years of maturing into the roles of a wife and a mother were then woven into the tapestry of my life. Autumn crept up and caught me unawares, too busy helping out the children during their school days, graduations, weddings and young families. God granting us the true wisdom that begins and ends with Him, we struggled to give them roots and wings, trying to ignore our pain of separation from their daily lives.
Any icy puff seeps through the window pane cracks, striking my core like frigid arrows. I stumble over to the quilt-covered bed and lie down, clutching folds of the material like a drowning sailor as my shivering increases. I gasp as the numbing cold travels down my left arm and shoulder, pain searing through my body.
I realize that Winter has come and I want to meet my Maker. I allow the cold to embrace me now, the pain melding into it like wood into an ignited flame while my mother’s hands grow limp and blue on the frosty cloth beneath them.
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