The Perfect Resolution Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3
This has been fun to write each day, but also so different from the style of writing I'm used to. Usually I write with the door closed, as Mr. King so accurately puts it. I don't show anyone my work till I have gotten at least the first draft down and know how the story is going to play out. With this short story I am posting as I write, allowing for little edit time (or as I like to call it - bang my head on the keyboard and change it time). Although I know how it's going to end, it's always interesting to me to see how the characters arrive there. I hope you are finding it interesting as well :) Please feel free to leave me a comment (good/bad). I'd love to hear what you think.
Kristin : )
Jenny stood, marker in hand and a renewed sense of hope for reaching her goals. She found it strange to feel so upbeat, especially after the way the day had gone so far. Her kids were banished to their rooms and busy cleaning and her husband had left to the hardware store to get a new garbage disposal. The house was quiet, which helped Jenny maintain this brief illusion of control.
She looked over the list, once again wishing she had used paper and not her bedroom wall, but what's done is done. She would make the best of it. Clearly she started with too high of expectations. Achieving perfection was still possible, she just had to whittle her ideas of perfection down a bit. She went to work crossing out and replacing affirmations with ones she could look at and not want to scream. When she was done she stood back and smiled. Now this is a list I can do.
To be PERFECT I must do the following EVERYDAY:
- DO NOT PROCRASTINATE Don't put off what you can do today.
- drink 640z of waterliquid
- exercise for 30- -60 minutes
- 5 servings of fruits & veggies a day
- read & write for 4 hours each (TY Stephen King)
- Sleep for 8-10 hours whenever you can
- Power nap in the afternoon
- Cook healthy meals at home (NO TAKEOUT!) Eat healthier
- Eat dinner as a family (AT THE KITCHEN TABLE!)
- No alcohol, No coffeeNo sugar (THINK HEALTHY!)
- Keep up w/house cleaning Make family help more!
- Stay on top of laundry
- get/give at least 6 hugs (TY Becky Sain)
- Take time for you! (YOU DESERVE IT!)
- Finally, when perfection is achieved... repaint bedroom wall!
The laundry is one load away from being done. Already almost halfway there on the hugs with my kids and dinner is thawing on the counter. All there was left was getting some reading and writing in and finding time for herself. Jenny thought about her article for the local paper that was due by Friday. She had planned on working on it tomorrow, when everyone was back at school and work. Why not now? The house was quiet and the revised first line from her list was encouraging.
Jenny headed for the den and her sacred corner delegated as her office. On the way past she called out to make sure the kids were still working on their rooms and had not drifted into video game and text comas.
As she wrote, she listened to gentle sounds of progress in her home. She could hear the different styles of music wafting from the kid's rooms and the tell tale movements of cleaning and organizing. Her husband returned and was busy removing the old disposal. The clanking of wrenches against pipes seemed to dance with the tapping of keys.
Jenny stopped typing, sat back, and looked at the computer screen in amazement. She had finished the entire first draft of her article. She still had to give it a day to rest before polishing it, but the first draft was done. She let out a long relieved breath. She sat and looked it over again, letting the feeling of accomplishment fill her, then moved the cursor over the save button.
The lights dimmed in three quick successions and then went out completely. The screen went blank. Jenny hit the power button with panicked hope. It did nothing, the screen remained black, her article gone. She opened her mouth to scream, but her husband's yell echoed through the house.
"What happened? Are you OK?" She asked as she rushed to where his legs and lower torso stuck out from under the sink.
He pulled himself out, wire cutters in his hand and a crazy expression in his eyes.
"Did you shock yourself again?" Her worry melting as the hair on his arms visible began to lie back down against his skin. He only nodded. "Why don't you ever shut off the power when you're working near electricity?"
"Power's off now." He smiled sheepishly.
"So is my computer. I lost the article I was working on."
"Oh, sorry. I'll go fix the breaker."
"No, I'll do it. I'm going to throw in the last load of laundry anyway."
Jenny reset all the breakers but the kitchen and switched over the laundry. As she put in the last piece of clothing off the floor into the washer she sighed. It felt like a hollow victory after loosing her article. Being perfect at laundry alone was not what she had in mind. Something caught her eye. Jenny looked up to see a sleeve sticking out of the laundry chute. It must have gotten stuck. She unlatched the door and was assaulted by a mountain of clothes. Shocked by the attack she stood there, underwear hanging from her shoulder, a rogue sock flopping into her face, the rest piled up around her as high as her knees.
The opposite end of the chute creaked open and another collection of dirty clothes fell. Peering down, framed by the bathroom light behind her and looking as surprised as Jenny, was Vanessa.
"Mom? What are you doing there?"
"What do you think I'm doing?"
"Are you looking for something in the dirty clothes?"
"Yes, my sanity." Jenny mumbled.
"Dad's calling you. Sounds like something exploded in the kitchen, besides him." Vanessa smiled.
Back in the kitchen Jenny stopped in the doorway and watched her husband stand over a pile of metal pipes, plastic rings, and an open instruction book. He turned with a look of frustration on the verge of rage.
"Want some help?" She couldn't help but feel bad. He was a mess, his head and shoulders soaked and his knuckles bruised and bleeding.
"Please." He handed her the thick booklet. "I'm going back under. Read out how this thing goes together."
Jenny hopped up on the counter and started reading, jumping down to hand him the next part and the tools he would need. It took a few hours but they had the new disposal up and running. They both stood back and listened to it hum.
Jenny looked at the time. Already six o'clock, too late to start cooking the pork roast she had planned for dinner. She poked it and shook her head, it was still frozen anyway.
"What's wrong? We did it." Her husband asked, still smiling from his accomplishment.
"I failed." Jenny said quietly, a tear escaped and ran down her cheek.
"No you didn't. Look at what we did." He pointed to the sink.
"I failed at everything. I even crossed off most of my list and still failed. The house, the laundry, the pork."
"Yes, our healthy dinner is still a frozen block on the counter. I'm just one big failure after another." More tears fell.
"No you're not."
"Have you seen that list on the wall?" She took him by the arm and led him into the bedroom and pointed angrily. "Look. I can't do anything of this right. I've failed."
"Ok, I've had enough of this list." Her husband announced. He left the room on hard footsteps. Jenny sat on the bed and buried her face in her hands, unable to look at the wall. Unwilling to face her failures.
Jenny could hear her husband banging things around and then it sounded like water was running in the bathroom. It lasted for a while. Jenny just sat there.
Jenny heard her husband's determined footsteps getting closer. She didn't look up. She felt bad enough about the way the day had gone and didn't want to cap it off with a fight.
"Come here." He said too stern. Jenny did not move. "Jenny, look at me." He said softer.
She looked up and then sat straighter. He was standing there with her pink plush robe and a huge glass of wine. Confused, she just stared. He held out the wine. Her eyes went from his to the list.
"Forget that stupid list. Here." He said again and put the wine into her hand. She took the stem into her fingers and looked up at him through we lashes. "Come on." He pulled her gently by the arm.
He walked her to the bathroom. The tub was full of bubbly water. There was a small stool set up next to it with the book she was reading and a few of her favorite magazines. Jenny smiled.
"This is for you. Get in and relax." He ordered with a smile. He kissed her on the cheek, hung her robe on the towel hook, and left the room.
An hour later, a rested relaxed Jenny emerged from the bathroom. She felt so much better and ready to face her dreaded wall again. I won't give up. It was a only a bad start. She took a deep breath and turned toward the wall when she entered the room. It took her a moment to register what she was seeing, or not seeing. It was gone. The list, her resolutions, they were all gone. The wall was back to the crisp white blankness. What? A noise startled her and Jenny spun around to see her husband, son, and daughter standing in the doorway.
"What happened?" She said, pointing at the wall.
"I painted it." Her husband said as he came to stand next to her. He waved the kids over. That's when Jenny noticed they were both holding something. Timmy came closer with a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers clutched in his hand and Vanessa held out a card.
Jenny opened her mouth, but no words came. All she could do was smile as tears filled her eyes. She wiped them away and tore the envelope open. The card was sweet, but what really got her was what was inside.
Inside was a picture of all them on a water raft, soaking wet and smiling. Jenny remembered the day at the park that past summer. She dragged them all there because she was writing a review for a family vacation magazine. They all protested, saying they were too old for an amusement park. It turned out to be so much fun. Her husband put his arm around her and flipped the picture to reveal writing on the back. It simply said:
You have always been perfect to us!
Jenny wrapped her arms around all three and squeezed them tightly, wanting to remember this perfect moment forever.
I hope you enjoyed The Perfect Resolution. Jenny learned that perfection comes in many forms. It's not always about doing everything just right, it's about doing the best you can and never giving up. At least that's what I thought she learned. What did you think? I'd love you hear.
Kristin : )