Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: REMEMBER (10/19/17)
TITLE: Kefir and Coffee
By Shirley McClay
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Seriously. No one is around to see. Sound is muffled. Tears are washed away. My face is clean afterwards. I have time to pull myself back together before exiting the bathroom.
My husband caught me this morning. He came in to get something and heard me sniffling.
He opened my hand, wrote a single word on my palm, and closed his hand over mine. “Don’t forget,” he whispered as he kissed my forehead and sent me off to work.
At break time I got up from my computer and went to get some coffee. I knew what would happen and I whispered to myself through my fear… don’t forget.
I filled favorite mug and added hazelnut creamer. Then she came in. Andrea. She retrieved her kefir shake from the fridge and gave my creamy drink a dour stare.
“Slurping down fat and drugs again, Kate. Someday you’ll realize how you’re damaging your body. People like you should be extra careful what you put into your system.” She gave me a disgusted look and walked over to the mirror on the wall. She fluffed and smoothed her perfect hair, straightened her clothes over her perfect body, smiled at her perfect face, and walked out.
I sat at the little table with my beleaguered beverage.
All the nasty comebacks flooded my mind. I was torn between wishing they came more quickly and being relieved they never do.
Then came the shame. She was right. I was fat and unattractive. It was all my fault. I was an embarrassment to be around. I was…
“Don’t forget.” My husband’s words swirled into the noise in my head like cream when you pour it into coffee.
I opened my hand and strained to see the smeared and faded word through damp eyes.
Remember Who you belong to.
Remember Who you are.
Remember Who loves you.
I brushed back the tears, smiled at my Daddy, and stood to go back to my desk.
The door swung open and Andrea strutted back in. Round two.
She opened the fridge and put her shake in its daily spot.
I smiled at her and spoke before she could. “I have to say I admire you. I’ve tried to drink kefir and gagged on it. You have an amazing zeal for health and fitness!”
I walked out, still smiling at her expression. Shock and confusion. An even better reaction than my comebacks would have achieved, and I felt better about myself afterwards.
Lunchtime found me in the lounge with Andrea again. She was different though. No nasty comments when I refilled my mug and added my creamer. In fact, she sat at the table with me to sip at her kefir.
“Kefir isn’t so bad when you add real vanilla. In fact, I’m a little jealous. I used to love coffee with creamer. Especially vanilla flavor.” Andrea was actually smiling hesitantly at me as she spoke.
Remember Who loves her. The words resonated in my brain as I stared across the table at her.
I took a bite of my turkey sandwich and reached deep in my spirit to hear what His Spirit was saying. She munched a bite of weird looking salad.
“May I try a sip of your kefir stuff?” Ugh. Where’d THAT come from? I seriously did not want a taste. She got up and poured a little into a cup while describing how she makes it and what flavors she likes best.
I managed to smile and swallowed the stuff down. I didn’t gag.
“Well, it’s better than the stuff I tasted before. But I think I’ll stick to my poisonous coffee.” I smiled at her and took a big swig to kill the putrid taste of her shake.
She leaned across the table and grinned conspiratorially. “You know what I can’t stand? Cilantro! It makes me remember getting my mouth washed out with soap as a kid!”
I lifted the top of my sandwich and watched as she grimaced at the green flecks in the mayo. “Then I won’t offer you a bite!”
She giggled and I saw… for just a moment… the woman God loved instead of the woman I despised. Something changed in me. I wasn’t sure where this would go, but I knew it couldn’t go back to where it was before this moment.
I would remember.
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