Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)
TITLE: It Would Have Been Enough
By Gerald Shuler
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“Grandma?” She touched the grave stone as she read the inscription.
“Grandma, why does Mama’s marker say ‘It would have been enough’?”
The old woman tensed briefly but then put a frail, loving arm around the child’s shoulder. “I guess it’s time, Gail. You’ve gotten old enough to know about your Mama.” She bit her lower lip softly, but then added "And your Daddy."
Carolyn took her mother’s tattered coat and placed it in the closet next to her own new mink stole. “Thanks for coming, Mama. I just changed Gail’s diaper and she's already been fed. Hopefully he won’t be keeping us out too late tonight.” She smiled weakly. "If it does get late just curl up in one of the spare bedrooms."
“Don’t fret yourself over it, Carolyn. We’ll be fine ‘til you get back.”
“I wish I didn’t have to go at all.” Carolyn’s eyes darted quickly toward the bedroom door, still closed as her husband continued getting ready. She lowered her voice to a whisper. “He always drinks too much at these company things…” Her lower lip quivered slightly. “and you know what that means.”
“Then why go?”
“You know Jack. If he says go, I go.” She looked at the baby resting quietly in her bassinet. “Besides, Mama, it’s the price I have to pay to give Gail a future.”
“Hog wash. I know I don’t have much compared to all this…” Her arm did a panoramic sweep of the lavish surroundings. “…this stuff.” She looked directly into her daughter’s eyes with all the tenderness she could muster. “Carolyn, getting yourself beat up every time your husband takes the notion isn’t love.” She shook her head in disgust. “That isn’t love at all. For the life of me, I don’t understand what keeps you here.”
“You know why I stay, Mama.” Carolyn reached for her mink stole and absent-mindedly adjusted her diamond studded necklace. “You believe the love of Jesus is enough to keep you going. For me it just wouldn’t be enough. I don’t need love. I need Jack. I need the lifestyle he can give me.”
The elder lady had heard her daughter talk like this before. Still, it crushed her to hear it again.
Carolyn saw the hurt in her mother’s eyes. If only there was a way to have what her mother had without losing everything else. Being able to feel love again would be nice but she knew better than to hope. Someday, though. Maybe someday.
“ Mama, if there was any other way I’d leave him in an instant.”
Jack’s bedroom door slammed loudly and both women gasped.
“You’d leave me in an instant, huh?” The frigid coldness in his voice pierced both their hearts with emotionless daggers. “Get your coat on. We’re late.” Jack forced his way past mother and daughter, heading directly for the front door.
Carolyn fell in step and followed behind him. She turned and looked at her mother. Tears refused to fall but only because fear had built a dam to hold them back. When Jack was out the door and out of sight she looked back at her mother and silently mouthed the words “I’ll leave him tonight. Get Gail out of here.”
And then she was gone.
“That was the last time I saw your mother alive.” The old woman hugged her granddaughter again. “Their car was found at the bottom of a ravine late that night and the police said your father was so drunk he probably didn’t see the curve in the road. I want you to know, though, blood tests showed that your mother hadn’t had a drop to drink.”
There was a long silence before Gail finally spoke. “Grandma?”
“Do you think Mama finally trusted Jesus enough to understand?”
“Understand what, Dear?”
“It would have been enough.”
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