Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)
TITLE: Insouciant in Pink
By Veronica Winley
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Whatever the reason, she still enjoyed people’s shock when they learned she had been married for over 40 years. Laughingly she would say, “I’m from a very backward country. I got married when I was six.” Let those folk with wrinkles grow old gracefully- she intended to look 40 until she reached, Lord willing, 100. Maybe by then they would have perfected cryogenics.
With this goal in mind, she started everyday with the same routine. First she began with ten vigorous pushups. This entailed getting her husband to roll over, place his hands on her back and provide the pushes necessary to get her out of the bed. After that, a hot shower (and two Aleve) ensured she was ready for the day. Sitting on the edge of her bed with her closet door open, she would then scan her wardrobe to see what fit her mood and the day’s agenda.
Her biggest decision, however, was what shoes to wear. The boots with the two inch heels looked wonderful with a pair of slacks, while sling backs with a nice straight skirt were very chic. However wearing sensible flats to the daycare where she volunteered meant that while doing the hokey pokey with the little people, she could “put her right foot in, take her right foot out,” without falling on her face.
This routine had been perfected over time, so that it was almost exactly 60 minutes from pushups to walking out the door, with every hair in place. What happened, therefore, on that fateful morning would always remain a mystery.
Wearing a favorite outfit – sharply creased khakis, tailored shirt and leather mules - she got in her car and headed out. About to pass a grocery store, she remembered she had promised to bring the birthday cake for one of the preschool teachers.
Inside the store, she headed for the bakery, where she chose an obscene confection called Chocolate Overload, and then decided to get a birthday card too. Feeling the confidence that comes from believing you look good, she sashayed over to the stationery section. After ten more minutes of roaming the aisles, she ended up at the checkout. As she left clutching her plastic bags, she nodded graciously to a gentleman who gave her a big smile and curiously chuckled, as he allowed her to go through the automatic doors first.
Reaching her car, she got in, started it and then idly glanced down to shift into reverse. At this point she froze in disbelief, with her hand on the stick and her eyes glued to the pink mule slipper on her right foot. In confusion her gaze shifted to her brown, leather- clad left foot and then back… to a pink fluffy slipper.
Groaning, she closed her eyes and rested her forehead on the steering wheel, as she tried to remember the faces of all the people she had encountered in the store who would now have to be “eliminated.” After sitting this way for about three minutes, she began to chuckle. The chuckle became laughter which eventually turned into a roar of hilarity. She had to shift back into park in order to wipe away the tears of glee.
Finally pulling out of the parking space, she said softly “Father, thank you for this humbling – and revealing - experience.” She realized that the passing of time could, with much work, be kept from showing on the “outer man.” However the more important “inner man” was not only being renewed every day but was maturing as well.
Just imagine.She had actually walked out of the house, into a harshly lit, very public place,wearing one pink slipper and one brown shoe…and she really did not care! Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, she would have re-lived the humiliation for a week and shopped at another grocery store for a month. Now, shrugging her shoulders, she said reasonably, “At least they were the same style,” then started to hum with the radio as she headed back home.
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