Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER (02/28/19)
TITLE: Swapping Rubies for Massages
By Betty Castleberry
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“Go, Deena,’ he said. “You deserve this.”
Deserve was a stretch. My goal was to be like that virtuous woman in Proverbs who was worth more than rubies, but I knew I fell short. Still, I had to admit I wanted to go.
When I arrived at Serenity Spa, I could hardly keep from staring.
The bed in my luxurious room was piled high with fluffy, white covers. The private balcony overlooked a beautiful lagoon style pool surrounded by coconut palms.
There was no way I deserved to be in such a gorgeous place, even if Dan said I did. There were no arguing kids. No chocolate smeared on the sofa. Just paradise. I pinched myself, wondering when I’d wake up from the dream.
Speaking of waking up, I had a massage scheduled for the next morning, so I thought I would take advantage of the beautiful bed and get some sleep. Before I turned in, I decided to Skype with my family.
Timmy’s freckled face appeared next to Dan’s on my laptop screen. “Hi, Mom!” he said. For a second, I had a twinge of homesickness.
“Hey, Timbo,” I called back to him. “Everything okay there?”
“I threw up after supper.”
I panicked briefly, but Dan reassured me. “He’s fine. Just ate too many hot dogs.”
“Yup. Hey, listen, hon, hate to cut this short, but we’ve got homework to see about here.”
Timmy spoke again. “Yeah, Lisa got a note from the teacher.”
Lisa was my first born.
Dan shot him a warning look. “We’re okay here.”
I gave him the benefit of the doubt and sunk into the lush bed, missing him beside me, hogging the covers.
My massage the next morning was pure ecstasy. The therapist’s hands were magic, and the atmosphere was amazing. Soft harp music played, and a subtle floral aroma floated in the air. But for some reason, I wouldn’t have minded the loud music the kids played or the smell of Timmy’s dirty socks.
Next on the day’s schedule was a pedicure while I was served herbal tea.
My afternoon was free to do anything I pleased. Strangely enough, I spent it thinking about my family at home instead of how wonderfully I was being pampered.
My dinner that night was a strawberry salad via room service. I hoped my family was eating healthy.
When I finished my dinner, I couldn’t wait to Skype with them again.
This time, all three of them greeted me. “Mom,” Lisa said pouting, “When are you coming home?”
Although I had a wonderful day planned the next day, seeing her made me wish I was already home. “I’ll be there in a couple of days.”
“Good, because Timmy let Edgar eat off the good china.”
Edgar was our dog, who was of questionable heritage. He liked to chew up my shoes.
Dan frowned at her. “Lisa, I told you we could put the plate in the dishwasher.”
“Don’t worry, Deena. Everything’s great here.” I could hear the TV in the background and Edgar barking.
A pang of longing hit me. Was I crazy for missing the chaos I griped about? Who needs that many shoes anyway? And who needs peace and quiet? “You sure? I could come home early.”
“I’m sure. Enjoy your break.”
I chewed my bottom lip. “Okay, if you’re positive.”
My husband blew me a kiss and I snuggled down into the covers, but I had trouble falling asleep. I hoped he remembered the kids needed lunch money the next day.
Dan called early the next morning. Half asleep, I asked, “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, but Timmy asked me where he came from last night.”
“Oh,” I said, sorry I had missed an important talk.
“I told him everything exactly as we’d planned, telling him God had put us together to create a family. I thought I did great, but when I finished, he looked me right in the eye and you know what he said?”
I put my hand on my forehead. “What?”
“He said, ‘Dad? Lisa said I came from Cincinnati.’”
At that, I burst out laughing and knew I had to return to my familiar mayhem. “I’m canceling my body wrap today. The spa’s nice, but I miss everybody.”
Besides, I needed to get back and work on becoming that woman from Proverbs.
Proverbs 27:8 As a bird that wanders from her nest, so is a person who wanders from his home.
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