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Archive for February, 2009

Fiction Friday – Beautiful

This is my first attempt at Fiction Friday, regularly hosted here at Patterings, but hosted here at Surrendered Scribe this week.  I just wrote it up, brand new fiction coming at you.  I’ve decided to take this wanting-to-be-a-writer-thing more seriously and just…write.  Let me know what you think!  If you hate it, tell me.  🙂  I like constructive criticism.

Beautiful

“Child, will you ever learn?”  Mama sighed, as once again I walked through the door after school a mess.  My brand new white shoes were stained brown, my white tights spattered with mud, and my face and hair bore witness to the bramble bush I had fought with.

“Mama, I just wanted to see if that birdie was still there.  She was, sittin’ on her nest and preenin’ like she was gonna be in the movies.  How many eggs do you think she’s got in there, Mama?”

“Eva, how would I know?  All I know is that my little chickie doesn’t have the sense God gave a grasshopper!  Get those tights and shoes off before you go tracking mud through the house.  And wash your face and brush out your hair.  Aunt Jeannie will be here in half an hour and you look an absolute fright!”  With that, Mama hustled me off to the bathroom, where I proceeded to torture myself in the name of impressing my always-beautiful and put-together auntie.  I didn’t dislike Aunt Jeannie, not really.  I was in awe of her shining black hair, her smooth babydoll skin, and her beautiful clothes.  Unfortunately, her attitude did not match her physical beauty.  I knew, even at twelve years old, that Aunt Jeannie didn’t approve of the scratches on my knees or the tangles in my mouse brown hair.  She didn’t seem to care that I’d saved a raccoon baby last week from certain death and that I’d earned a place on the school’s newspaper. 

It really bothered me that Mama was so worried about what Aunt Jeannie had to say.  As I tugged the brush through my curls, fishing out the twigs, leaves, and burrs along the way, I thought about why Mama cared so much.  Aunt Jeannie was Mama’s older sister, by three years.  After Grandmother died when Mama was my own age, Aunt Jeannie took over for their mother, making sure that Granddaddy had all the food he needed, Mama went to school, and Uncle Jimmy – their younger brother – was tucked into bed at night.  I imagine it was hard for Aunt Jeannie, and when Mama turned eighteen, Aunt Jeannie took off for college to become a nurse.  Mama missed her sister, almost as much as she missed her own mama, she’d told me before.  ‘Maybe that was why,’ I thought.  ‘She wants to show Aunt Jeannie that she learned from her how to be a good Mama.’

I decided right then and there to help Mama out. I brushed and brushed and smoothed my hair out as best as my pre-pubescent hands could.  Then I scrubbed my muddy, scratched up face.  The scratches – I didn’t know what to do about them at first – but then I remember that make-up Mama kept for special occasions when Daddy was home from driving truck.  I scrambled through the linen closet until I came up with the little bag.  Sure enough, there was the stuff – foundation it said on the bottle.  I dabbed a little here and there on my face and rubbed it in as I had seen Mama do.  A little pencil fell out of the bag – black eyeliner.  Thinking to make my eyes shine as Aunt Jeannie’s did, I penciled the liner under my eyes.  Then I brought out the lipstick and spread it across my lips, liking the effect of the pink against my tanned skin.

At that moment, I heard a knock at the front door, and knew Aunt Jeannie had arrived.  Now nervous, I quickly threw the make-up back into Mama’s little bag and peeked out the door.  Aunt Jeannie was as stunning as usual, her beautiful face glowing and her perfect nails glittering as she reached around Mama’s frame for a hug.  I frowned; I hadn’t noticed before how thin Mama was compared to Aunt Jeannie.  Mama’s black hair didn’t shine like her sister’s, her face was lined with creases where Aunt Jeannie’s was smooth.  As Mama turned and took Aunt Jeannie’s hand to lead her into the sitting room, I noticed Mama’s was tanned and dry; Aunt Jeannie’s was creamy and soft-looking.  I stepped out of the bathroom and gently shut the door.

As I stepped into the sitting room with lemonade for Mama and Aunt Jeannie, both women turned to watch me.  Mama’s eyes widened, Aunt Jeannie’s eyes narrowed.  “Eva?”  Mama asked, sounding startled and amused at the same time.  “What did you do to yourself?”

“Now, Marianne, don’t embarrass the child.  She looks just lovely.”  Aunt Jeannie’s blue eyes sparkled even more than usual and a smile played about her lips.  “Found your Mama’s make-up bag, did you Eva?”  A small chuckle escaped her lips, but it wasn’t a cruel chuckle.  I knew Aunt Jeannie approved. 

Mama smiled at Aunt Jeannie, and said, “Jeannie, do you remember when I got into your make-up?  Papa didn’t even know you had it.  Until I came walking out of the bathroom with eyeshadow down to my nose and blush spread around like a circus clown!”

“Oh, Marianne!  You looked so awful!  And Papa was blisterin’ mad,” Aunt Jeannie chuckled again and motioned to me to come toward her.  With a tissue she magically pulled from her pocket, she began to blot at my lips.  “I think,” she said, “that it is time we taught this little one to put her make-up on properly, just as I did with you all those years ago.” 

I looked questioningly at Mama, as I had never heard this particular story before, but Mama shook her head and said that the story would be good for another day.  Right now, it was time for my first beauty lesson.  Mama and Aunt Jeannie both took me by the hand and pulled me into the small bathroom.  As they taught me to apply mascara with a wand and sweep color across my small cheekbones, they laughed and reminisced about their teen years and growing up.  Finally, Aunt Jeannie looked down at me, no longer laughing or smiling, and she said, “You thank the Good Lord, Eva, that you’ve got your Mama now.  You’ll never know how hard it is to grow up without one.”

As we filed out of the bathroom, the mood now sober, I gave thought to that.  I had Mama, who taught me to see the world as God made it, to work hard, and to do right.  I also had Aunt Jeannie, who, I realized now, taught me to be beautiful.  It wasn’t that Aunt Jeannie didn’t approve of my animals or writing; she just wanted to make sure I knew how to take care of my outer Eva as well as my inner Eva.

I looked up at these two beautiful women, whose physical selves were so different from each other, yet inside, they both loved me.  And I thanked God that I had them – to teach me, to guide me, and to make me beautiful.

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Yes, I know it has been awhile.  I’m sure some of you thought I fell off the face of the earth.  I haven’t, although at times, I’ve wished I could.  Just for a few days of escape.  Today’s What About? Wednesday will be a simple catch up on the past couple of months.

1.  We’re still jobless here.  The situation, job-wise, is looking bleaker and bleaker.  Our state has few new job postings each day and even fewer to do with anything technical.  This leaves us with the disturbing prospect of resorting to truck driving again, which Mr. Nutt does not want to do, but will if we have no other recourse.  I’m seeing a real miracle in the making and trusting God that He will bring it about.

2.  F3 started a blog of her own, at Me and My Daughter.  She is only ten years old, yet she has such a heart for the relationship between a mother and her daughter.  She is writing the blog to encourage mothers and daughters to grow closer to one another and to God.  I’ve put up a feed in the side bar.

3.  F-2 (that would be, negative 2), my step-daughter, has started a website as well.  Sick of Liberals, as is probably obvious by the name, is a conservative blog, but she welcomes all comments.  As she says, we all want the world to be run well and it is a shame that there is so much divisiveness in today’s politics.  She desires to get a real dialogue open.

4.  Mom is going in for another heart cath. at the end of February, with the full expectation of getting another stent placed.  Her doctor informed her that this will be an on-going situation for the rest of her life.  She may need another within six months or it might be five years.  He also believes that the seizure activity was her heart being thrown into an arhythmia because of the blockage and causing her to pass out.  So, the good news is, she gets warning signs when she has a blockage and now we know what all that seizing and passing out is about.

5.  I finished two potholders
and a baby quilt which I will be giving away to a girls’ group home through the women’s group at church.

6.  My computer’s hard drive died in January and I was without my baby for several weeks.  I still had access to the ‘net through other computers in the house, but I really missed my own.  She’s back now, and I’m still working on getting her reloaded and ready to work.  Hughesnet satellite internet service, not being all it’s cracked up to be, isn’t helping the situation.  I can only download large (and by large, I mean over 200 MB per 24 hour period) amounts of information between the hours of 2am and 7am.  I’m trying to rebuild my scrapbooking kits right now, and staying up all night to do so.  I still have a couple of software programs that I need to get back ahold of, including the software to build the church’s website.

Well, that is it for this What about? Wednesday.  You got a lot in the bargain!

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