Short Stories

Dirty Windows & Grace

I saw the dirt. It disgusted me. How could she stand there in her house and let her window look so awful? I couldn’t imagine letting mine collect all that grime.

I couldn’t help but stare as the woman struggled to care for her house. She vacuumed and dusted. She wiped down the counters and made meals. She took out the trash and she smiled at all those who came into her small home. What hypocrisy! Her window stood neglected while all else was tended.

I stared as she fell on her knees in grief. I watched her scream and rail against the walls, but then grow quietly peaceful as she looked toward heaven. I saw her dance when the good news came and I watched her cry when hard news brought its loss again.

I vigilantly watched her life, but I could not ignore that dirty window. I saw everything through the smudges, the dirt, the trash, and the very things I would never neglect to care for. Even so, her genuine heart welcomed person after person and she served them with such love, but that window tainted everything for me. Continue reading “Dirty Windows & Grace”

Short Stories

Stripped Expectations

I am built of expectations. They squeeze me in and push reality out. They suffocate my heart and give life to an empty, empty world. I give in freely. I raise the white flag and gladly hold myself captive within their walls. Expectations that I tried not to have. Expectations that we are all warned about and yet somehow they still own a margin of our hearts until bursting forth in destruction.

A great gust of wind surrounds me, expectations shatter around me. Time is frozen, or is it that my heart learning to beat again? Tears and remorse are one in the same as expectations are flushed from my being, and reality—dear sweet reality—rushes in! Continue reading “Stripped Expectations”

lifestyle · Short Stories

Red & Green Ones

based on a true story

actually, it’s a true story

 In a young married couple’s life, the making of traditions is a big deal. It is done with excitement and trepidation. It is a time of new adventures and experiences.

But enough of the sappy stuff. Let’s get right now down to it.

For this particular Husband and Wife., it was to be the first Christmas spent quietly in their own home. They had planned and prepared for a different Christmas, hoping to make their own memories and traditions, while also knowing they would naturally miss all the family living far away.

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So, Husband and Wife began Christmas Eve day with much gusto. Christmas movies played throughout the entire day, the Christmas tree star was made, cookies were baked and given to the neighbors, frozen pizza & barbecue chips made a grand appearance as the long-awaited Eve arrived.The determined couple was doing pretty well. They had a Christmas-y day, filled with quiet Christmas-y things, as they made Christmas-y homemade memories.

At 9:30 pm, Loving Husband turned to Nostalgic Wife and asked if she would like to look at Christmas lights. He wanted to make this Christmas Eve a good one and the evening was still somewhat young even though the day was well-spent!

Nostalgic Wife agreed and looked forward to driving around the small little town for the Christmas lights. She just loved lights! Loving Husband prepared for the grand Christmas adventure.

Enter Persnickety Truck.

The heat wouldn’t work, so the windows didn’t defrost, so Nostalgic Wife prepared herself for an evening of admiring one Christmas lighted house—their own. And she was quite OK with that. But Loving Husband would not be deterred. Christmas lights, we will see! NO MATTER WHAT!

Persnickety Truck says, “OK, I’ll work.”

 Enter Happy Dog.

“Why not?”, they think. “We will only be out for a little while and he can come with us!”

So, now Husband and Wife are on their way.

Being fairly new to the town, this particular Husband and Wife didn’t know where the good Christmas lights were and since it was later in the evening they didn’t feel liking driving the distance to a big city. So, Loving Husband stopped on the side of the road to check the Faithful Internet for good Christmas Lights.

Enter Police Car 1

Nervous Husband and Not-Breathing Wife cross their fingers, drive extremely cautiously, and hope their suspicious park on the side of the road doesn’t give Police Car 1 reason enough to pull them over. The Police Car follows for a time and then (much to the relief of Husband and Wife) Police Car decides that this particular situation is not suspicious.

Relieved Husband and Now-Breathing Wife get back to making Christmas-y memories on this first Christmas Eve as just the two of them. They go down main street, admire the beautiful festive lights, and then proceed to drive through the neighborhood.

Persnickety Truck is doing well. Happy Dog is happy. And Husband and Wife are pleased.

 Enter Police Car 2

(Is this the same police car from before or is this a new one? I guess we will never know).

Alert Husband notices he’s being tailed again. He wisely keeps this to himself while Clueless Wife is still enjoying the Christmas lights around her. “How nice to be making Christmas-y memories together on this Christmas Eve!,” she innocently thinks to herself.

Nervous Husband keeps his cool, and watches as Police Car 2 continues to tail him. A nerve-racking game of Follow the Leader is played for quite some time before Nervous-but-Calm Husband says to Still Clueless Wife, “Dear, don’t be surprised if we are pulled over before we get home tonight.”

WHAATT?!

(How did she miss that Police Car 2 had been tailing them for the past few blocks? I guess we will never know).

Isn’t it amazing how Clueless Wife can turn into to Freakazoid in a matter of half-seconds?! Her heart stops, and Happy Dog sticks that tongue out like nothing in the world could possibly go wrong.

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Enter Sirens

 Enter red & blue lights. 

 Enter pulling to the side of the road on Christmas Eve. 

 Enter Police Man 

 There’s the shining flash-light. There’s the Wife still not breathing. There’s the Dog with that stupid tongue still hanging out. Theres the Husband still keeping calm.

“So, what are you guys doing tonight?”

“Just out looking at lights.”

“Can I see your license, please?”

Calm Husband provides all the necessary information and explanations for the suspicious Persnickety Truck on Christmas Eve.

Policeman leaves to confirm everything, and Almost-Breathing Wife turns to Calm Husband and says—“those were not the lights I wanted to see!”

Everything is confirmed. Nice Policeman is not suspicious of this young couple, and he even takes time to tell them where to find the really good Christmas lights. The information is naturally blocked out of their minds, because all they can think about is getting home with no more police cars in their rear view mirrors!

Loving Husband and Nostalgic Wife learned something very important that night—

When looking at lights around Christmastime, you want the red and green ones, not the red and blue ones.

Short Stories

The Girl with the Hollow Eyes

I see her walking alone. Her head drooped low. Her back is laden down with a hundred burdens. We are walking the same way, but our footsteps are spread apart. I feel the sunshine on my face–a time of joy for me. But her hair is wet with sorrow–a time of pain for her.

My footsteps slow. I know that our proximity is no mistake. I approach her slowly, the trail of tears making heavy indentation on the ground. I could remember a time I felt the same.

My mind is transported to the darkness that was—after many years–overcome by light. I gather the stinging, yet hopeful memories to my heart and stand beside her with a gift of companionship. I am ready to offer.

She looks at me with hollow eyes, and yet the depth of tragedy is deep. But I have hope and I know hope is in her. It just needs a way out. I reach for her hand and she doesn’t reject me. It is cold with stiff pain. I can remember the feeling. Continue reading “The Girl with the Hollow Eyes”