Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DIARY (05/16/19)
TITLE: Things Misremembered
By Brenda Kern
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Her mom, a widow, had been in failing health for some months now, and the time had come to move her into Marcy’s home. This was the obvious choice, as Marcy was an only child and the cost of a nursing home made it out of reach.
So Marcy had begun ‘The Project,’ step by step. Her handy man husband had created a living area just for Marcy’s mom, and Marcy’s family had settled her into her rooms just last week.
Then Marcy had begun to tackle the task of emptying her mom’s house, categorizing things as sell, donate, give away, or throw away.
And now, here she was on a Saturday morning, staring at the clutter of a lifetime. Several lifetimes, really: here in the attic Marcy found things belonging to her grandparents, her parents, and she even discovered, to her surprise, many of her own possessions. She thought she’d moved all of her things into her own home after her wedding, but no, there were still several boxes marked “Marcelline” in her dad’s firm block letters. She hated her real name, but loved seeing it in his writing, and could imagine her dad printing it, then looking up at her with an impish grin. “There, my Marcy girl, no one can miss that!” She smiled at the memory, but swept it away. No time for reminiscing today.
She opened a new box, and sighed aloud. There, right on the top, was her diary from her high school senior year. She checked her watch and told herself it was time for a break anyway, so she’d indulge herself for a half hour.
When she’d washed off her face and arms, she used the only furniture remaining in the house, a folding chair and a card table, to enjoy her lunch and a ‘blast from the past’ reading session.
She laughed and cried through some ups and downs shared by her younger self, and decided she’d peruse one more entry before she got back to work. This one was written after her team had won the state girls’ basketball championship game, and she could still remember the thrill of that evening. She set the book down and thought about how that thrill had stretched out into years and now decades. She’d just recently found a fellow team member on-line at a social networking site, and they had exchanged fond memories and a few photos of the team posing with the large trophy.
Anyway, back to the diary. Marcy’s smile faltered a bit when she read this line: Janelle did what I told her to, and, boy, did it work! Thank you, Janelle! Janelle? Who is Janelle… and the truth came flooding back. Janelle was her cousin with Down syndrome, who attended the same school as their cross-state rivals for the trophy. She’d had a bad cold the week before the championship game, and Marcy knew this because of a family reunion. Marcy had had an idea of how they could defeat the other team, the overwhelming favorites…
Oh, no. No, no, no. I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe I forgot that.
Then Marcy spoke aloud, in her mom’s nearly empty house, a statement that shocked her, even as she said it. “We cheated, and that’s how we won. I told Janelle to go into the girls’ locker room at her school and wipe her face and hands on as many towels as she could, and to spit in her hands and touch all the basketballs. She did, and they were all sick by the time we played them Friday night. We cheated!”
In the silence of her childhood home, she obeyed a ‘still, small voice’ in her spirit and corrected herself. “No, I alone cheated, and used sweet Janelle to do it.”
Hours later, after having had a heart-to-heart talk with her mother, then a long counseling session with her pastor, Marcy sat down to make an entry in her current diary.
Dear Diary, I had to make an extremely difficult decision today. Let me tell you all about it…
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