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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Escape (01/02/06)

TITLE: Mary's moment of peace
By Karen Ward


A loud thud preceded a childís screaming. Maryís eyes shot open as she jumped out of bed and started towards the sound. She flung the door open only to knock the hapless toddler over.

Great. He falls out of bed and then I knock him senseless with the door.

She hugged him tight, apologizing and comforting.

Couldnít I get just one nightís sleep Lord? Give me a break.

Tucking Jayden back into bed, she whispered ĎI love youí and closed the door. Returning to her own bed, Mary noticed her thighs were chafing. She recalled the packet of chocolate biscuits she had eaten for supper.

Iíll be good tomorrow.

She flopped into bed, and quickly slept.

Forty minutes later, Chloe woke to nurse.

I must get to bed earlier. I donít like going to bed when Martinís away. Make me do it Lord. I havenít had a whole nightís sleep in months. Since Martin left Iíve only had two hours in a row once. This is ridiculous.

At five am, Jayden went into Tomís room and woke him. Screaming about this injustice, Tom woke Chloe. Mary resorted to putting on a video, handing out cereal bars and nursing the baby. By nine, everyone had gone past cranky, and back to naps.

Finally a momentís peace.

Her daily escape to the solitude of the shower was calling, yet she walked automatically to the pantry, opened the doors and looked in.

I didnít have breakfast. What do I feel like?

With only a momentís glance at the cereals, she moved the flour to see what treats she had in her hidden stash.

M&Ms? Chocolate? Chips? Iíll take one of each upstairs. I donít have to eat them all.

In her heart, she knew she would.

The melt in your mouth taste of the sweet M&Ms gave her a high. Her exhausted, emotional state was momentarily forgotten in the chocolate sensation. Before the first mouthful was gone, she reached for another handful, throwing them all into her mouth at once and ignoring everything else around her until the packet was gone.

Oh that was good.

She glanced at the chips and chocolate left on her bedside table.

She opened the chips and shoved a handful in her mouth before stripping and hurrying past the mirror. She often said a warm shower was her greatest comfort.

Lord, hi. Please help me through today. Iím not sure how Iím going to make it to the weekend alone. Martinís away next week too. If only we had family here. I donít know how to go on like this, but I donít know how to stop either. These few minutes in the shower are all that I ever get to myself. The only time I get with you.

Those M&Ms were good. What else was there? Did I bring up the chocolate almonds?

I hope Jayden has a long sleep today. Wait. What day is it? Do we have a clinic appointment? Must check that when I get out. Maybe we could go to McDonalds for dinner today. Then I wonít have to wash up. And I can stop at the supermarket for some more treats.

I need treats to keep me going right now.

What was I trying to remember?

Stepping onto the bathmat, she spied the open chip packet, and reached for another handful. When they were gone, she flopped on the bed and noticed her Bible.

That was meant to be my quiet time and I didnít even finish one thought. Sorry God - again.

She began to reach for her Bible, saw the block of chocolate and opened it instead. When it was gone, she balled up the wrapper and tossed it towards the bin. Chloe began to cry.


Her anger was quickly followed by resignation as she decided it was best to get Chloe up before she woke the others.

Well, thatís it for today. No more escape for me.

Mary only realized in her most honest moments that her biggest escape was not the shower at all. Denial was rampant in her life, just the way the devil liked itÖ

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This article has been read 993 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Watson Owen01/09/06
A slice of all too real life! The matter of fact, candid style works well here.
Jan Ackerson 01/11/06
Mary's internal dialog was very realistically written. A very good piece of writing!
Leslie Lamb01/11/06
Man, how shamefully I relate to Mary! This was well written; it could have been a little slice of my life, for sure!
Suzanne R01/13/06
Ooh, even without small children, I identify way too strongly with this! Well done!

Just today, I stood sadly at the kitchen cupboard, realizing that all my Christmas treats are gone and the only thing left to snack on was fruit. I felt sorry for myself, then thought how pathetic the whole scene was!

Your piece brings to light a common problem for many women, and perhaps could even be submitted somewhere like a health magazine, or baby magazine or something, to help women realize the ridiculous trap into which we fall?

Good job. And yeah, the last line was a little abrupt, but it was a solid conclusion - it is sometimes hard to wrap up well.
Julianne Jones01/13/06
So realistic and the dialogue was great. The early references to Martin being away I took to mean that he'd left her (and considering her attitude, who could blame him! LOL). The last line was unnecessary - perhaps you could have finished it with her picking up another treat before going to feed the baby or some such thing. Very well done. Blessings, Jules.
Sally Hanan01/13/06
Isn't it strange that the things we rely on to escape are actually a bridge to true captivity?
Good realistic writing.
Beth Muehlhausen01/15/06
This story no doubt will touch a convicting nerve with many readers who also struggle with certain eating habits. I know....I'm one of them. :-)

Well done - very realistic - you hit the nail on the head.
B Brenton01/18/06
Suprised this one didn't make it in, K.
It was great. I think we can all relate.
It's a good last line as well. You kinda left it hanging.
You could do a sequel? :) Maybe?