I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Story of A Girl (Part I)

It was an ordinary Saturday in October. The Ohio air carried the chill of fall, but not snow. It would be weeks yet for that. For now, leaves danced happily outside my window, swirling and sweeping along the streets and sidewalks. Perfect weather for me. Cool enough for a sweater, but not needing a winter jacket.

The sun was coming in through the tall windows of our living room, warming portions of the carpet. Though our apartment was what some would consider painfully small, the six foot, hundred year old windows made the room feel much larger. I was sitting on the couch trying to reach my toes into a warm spot without actually having to move my body.

The knock at the screen door was quiet at first, almost timid. Then louder when no one answered. My Father went to the door, fresh from his after-work shower. The visitor turned out to be a salesman. A vacuum salesman. Apparently he had not noticed the 'No Soliciting' sign on our door. Or he had heard from others that my Dad was a pushover.

My Father stood talking with him for a long while. From my spot on the couch I could clearly hear the salesman's too-happy voice. Vacuums couldn't really be that exciting. Then, as I knew he would, my Father invited the man inside. Of course this vacuum was touted as the best thing to hit the market in years. We would all use this vacuum, he said, and pass it on to our great-great grandchildren.

The man got halfway through his schpeel, when the coughing started. The hacking, dry cough from my parents' room. My Mother had been sick on and off for weeks now, and spent a lot of time in bed. Today was not a good day for her. And I couldn't believe in this small space, with my Mother sick, that my Father had now invited in an outsider. A vacuum salesman at that. How I longed to melt into a puddle on a warm spot in the carpet. How I wished I could be somewhere else, anywhere else than in the awkward silence that followed.

The salesman, hearing the coughing, and my Mother calling for my Father, seemed uncomfortable. He hurried through his pitch without much expectation, packed his things, and was ready to leave. My father, however, had decided to buy one. So out came the paperwork, the pen, the warranty, the options.

I stood outside my parent's door. It was a bi-fold closet door with slats in it that slid open and closed on a track attached to the top of the door frame. Not very private. I couldn't hear my Mother coughing in that moment, but I knew if she called for my Father again she would start. How I wished I could disappear and come back when she was better!

I leaned in too close, listening, and bumped the door open. I cringed inwardly, as I hated to interrupt her rest. But there was no way to pretend otherwise. So I went in.

3 Comments:

  • Megan (FriedOkra)

    I loved, "How I longed to melt into a puddle on a warm spot in the carpet. How I wished I could be somewhere else, anywhere else than in the awkward silence that followed." I think we have all been there as children... hapless witnesses of moments we don't have the capacity to deal with any other way than to disappear. Beautiful description.

  • Missy

    once again thanks....leaving for UP tomorrow so no computer for a week and you had to leave me with a cliff hanger! God Bless!

  • wendy

    Such a quintessential childhood memory. One that both defines and disturbs us, especially as we remember it now through the lens of adult married life. How amazing that a man can be both so sweet and clueless at the same time!
    Isn't it amazing to look back and see our parents as imperfect, while at the same time trying to raise our kids-- wonder what memories they will have of us. Keep writing-- I love it and you!!!

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