Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: OPEN UP A CAN OF WORMS (08/22/19)
TITLE: Why Listen To Reason?
By Judith Gayle Smith
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One bright and beautiful afternoon, I encountered a quiet woman in a humble brown coat. She, seemingly shy, murmured something. She almost sounded like our Slovakian grandmother. I asked if she was perhaps Slovakian, and she shrugged off the question and folded into herself.
When the beading class ended, I heard her ask for more wondrous beads, but she was soundly told that class would continue the following week, and the beads were only for beaders during class. Pitying her, I gave her some of my personal beads I had brought to class. The instructor pulled me aside and warned me not to get too familiar with this woman. I, the defender of all underdogs, immediately took Marie under my smothering wings.
At the next beading class, Marie rushed to me, excitedly sharing that God told her to ask us if we had a spare bedroom. Living "overlong" in a women's shelter, she had just one week left to stay until she would be literally tossed out, homeless.
We lived in a six-bedroom, four-bath home. I wanted a place big enough to help those less blessed than us.
My husband immediately negated taking in boarders, but she needed a home and I needed help taking care of my bedbound husband and my live-in sister who is a true blessing. I argued that Marie has dreams of becoming a licensed caregiver and/or chef. She wants to hone her craft with us in exchange for room and board for only two months until she found permanent housing.
She lived with us for four trying years - she obviously had found permanent housing.
I, blissfully blind to all prior warnings, watched as she quickly covered kitchen and porch windows. Marie was extraordinarily wary of visitors. I, not being overly bright, didn't ask why. I later found that her Visa had expired. I had no idea what that meant, but she related that she wasn't willing to go back to Mexico to live with her sister in Mexico.
She required special lotions, products, and gloves for her painfully dry hands. Top brand cleaning supplies were major purchases. Washing clothes in very small loads, using too much soap and hot water, She shrugged off my instructions. She appeared to have no respect or regard for my opinions. She inked our kitchen cabinets. She stored used napkins and plastic bottles in drawers and cabinets. She broke three microwaves. Broke a nasty hole on our stovetop.
She bossed us all unmercifully, saying she is "super mega-busy" when we needed her. Our electric, water, and garbage bills had skyrocketed.
My nerves were shot. My husband wanted to relieve her of her duties - and her room and board. My sympathies were jangled - toss her out in the cold of winter? She had friends aplenty, but all refused to take her into their homes.
We told Marie "we are not rich Americanos." I explained our tortured budget, showing what our bills were, and why we couldn't spend beyond it. I trembled with her "mega-lists" of foodstuffs and supplies.
Who opened this can of worms? Me. I saw mutual needs being met. I had just brought my husband home from weeks of rehab following major lung surgery. I envisioned him dying. I needed help. I lost faith in God and "solved the situation" all by my lonesome, despite the many warnings thrust at me from others.
My husband and I fought constantly over Marie.
I continued to defend Marie.
I saw her as a gift from God.
She was no such thing.
While my beloved was in ICU, barely surviving a leg amputation above his knee, coupled with his worn-out heart and lack of breath...
While I was in rehab after burning my "sit down" in water hot enough to give me second-degree burns...
While I entrusted my beloved sister's care to this "wannabe" caregiver...
Marie robbed us blind, starting with our mother's silver...
A can of worms is no gift from God.
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