9/17/2010

the bones are smiling in my body

My husband officially begins his new job on Monday, which means our lives drastically change on Monday. He has to report for work at 5:00am five days a week, which means we will both drag ourselves out of the confines of our warm bed at 4:00am. It's not that he needs me to wake up with him, but this marriage is a partnership. And sometimes this marriage takes extra work and giving up a few extra hours of sleep. I'm not looking forward to the early morning wake up calls, especially since I know at least one of our dogs will just roll over and stretch out over the entire bed. But at the same time, I am excited for the early morning time. I'm excited because I'll have an extra two hours at home in the morning. Two hours to write or to do yoga or to read or to clean or to cuddle with my dogs. I'm excited because I'll be forced to make coffee or tea for myself and my husband. I'm excited because on the weekends when our dogs wake up at 7am it will feel like we got to sleep in. I'm excited because everything is changing with this new chapter in our lives, and for once, I am at peace with all of the changes. Maybe it's because I am finally ready for change. Or maybe it's because, for the first time, it feels like I have slowed down enough to actually allow changes to happen. I'm not exactly sure. What I do know is that I am embracing the changes. And I am refusing to give up. And I am trying new things. And I am loving this new season of our lives. I entered a short story challenge earlier this week. And I won, as in I placed first. All through college I was told that I wasn't really meant for short stories, that my writing was more the style of novels. And I do think that's true. But I allowed those words to keep me in the box of writing only novels. Until this opportunity presented itself and I decided that I might as well give it a try. I'm not going to get overly emotional. I will save that for my husband. But I am going to say this: winning this challenge reminded me of how much I love writing, of the fact that this is what I love, of the fact that this is what I am meant to do. And so, I will at 4:00am and at night. Family of Three I took my first pregnancy test when we lived in that old house on Rory Drive. I teetered on the edge of the bathtub; the test rested on the vanity. The wood floors in the hallway moaned as John paced up and down, up and down. 10 steps one way, a moan, and 10 steps back. Step seven. “Is it done?” He asked. The clock ticked past the fifteen. It’d been five minutes. “No,” I said. Three more steps. The floors moaned, and he turned around. I picked myself off the bathtub. Two steps to the vanity with my eyes closed. And there it was. A solid line and a faint line. I squinted my eyes and brought the stick up to my nose. Two lines. Two lines. Two lines. “How about now?” He stopped after five steps. “Now, yes,” I said. The bathroom door opened. His hands stuffed in his pockets, and he stopped just inside the bathroom. A jingle of tags, claws hitting the floor, and three seconds later, I was in his arms with the test falling to the floor. Rascal sniffed at the test and glanced at me with warm brown eyes. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh,” John said. He held me tightly, kissed my cheek, and then squeezed me again. My eyes stayed on Rascal. He dipped his head to the floor and picked up the test. He started to back out of the bathroom. “John, Rascal has the test,” I said. John dropped me to the floor. “Rascal,” he warned. Our dog was in the hallway. Five steps, a crash, and then a jingle of tags. John chased after him. I glanced in the mirror. I still looked the same. “Damn dog,” John yelled. The bathtub beckoned me, and I returned to my perch. I didn’t know then how much I would miss my family of three. I didn’t know then that it would be five years, four children, and two dogs until my ankles returned to their normal size. I didn’t know then that it would be another two years until the house on Rory Drive no long stood, and I didn’t know then that at age thirty-five I would be left alone in a 3,300 sq. ft. house on Laurel Lane. If I had known, I would have listened to my heart. If I had known, I would have whistled for Rascal and run out of the house. He would have followed me to the car, and we would have left. I would have had a new family of three. Instead, I teetered on the bathtub. John returned with a slightly bent and chewed pregnancy test. He scooped me up in his arms and kissed me while Rascal licked my legs. I would miss my family of three. Thank you Jasmine. Words can't express my gratitude or surprise. (title from "giggling again for no reason" by alanis morissette)

7 comments:

  1. You definitely do not want to limit yourself by genre. You can learn something about yourself with every genre. Truly. It takes a special talent to be able to move from one to the other and I think you have it. Keep writing and remember that practice is what makes perfect. Practice anything enough and no one can stop you. ;) xo

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  2. I love the way you write! Keep it up!

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  3. i absolutely LOVED your short story on eatmovewrite.com. you're very talented and i seriously wanna know what happens next! have you considered writing a follow up?

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  4. thank you all! i really appreciate it.

    and i might write a follow up or.. eventually turn it into novel.

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  5. Congratulations! I enjoyed it; very ominous tone. :)

    (Lori, from the loricious.steelbuddha.net blog)
    (couldn't figure out how not to sign it with my other blogs...)

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  6. Turn it into a novel for sure! Great job, Leslie :)

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  7. I read your story on the eatmovewrite website, and it is sooooo beautiful and chilling! Wonderful! Congratulations on winning!

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