My life is all about countdowns right now. Things I’m counting down to:
1. The Dirty Dash next month. Time to get muddy!
2. My two-week vacation to Maryland-New York-Massachusetts right after the Dirty Dash. I’ve never been farther east than South Dakota. I need to get out more.
3. My best friend’s wedding. I’ve known her for 20 years and I’m only 29 years old. I’m so proud.
4. My 50th story on the IW blog! I’m surprised I’m not an alcoholic by now! (Kidding. Sort of.)
So yes, I have lots to look forward to in the next couple of months. But for right now, I’ve got a story for you all, and I hope that some of you were looking forward to it. Read on and see what the challenge was at the end!
There were blemishes on the floor she’d never seen. Stains, cracks, and nicks, bumps and rot. All along, they’d been as undetectable to Kat as her own slow decay. Kat cringed as she knelt and examined the flawed cherry slats. This was her life, a collection of overlooked imperfections.
The doorbell tinkled, followed by muffled voices. “Kat, it’s Laura and Tom. Are you home?”
Kat lifted herself up and willed a smile. At the door were two familiar faces, soft and drooping in their old age. They both held out bowls, filled with fresh-picked berries. “Hi Kat,” Laura said dotingly. Tom and Laura came by every day to check on Kat—a request of her mother’s. There were days Kat liked seeing them and days she didn’t. Today was a day she didn’t.
“These look delicious,” she muttered, licking her lips while she took the bowls from her visitors. “I’d ask you to stay, but I was just about to run a bath.”
“Dear, have you talked to your mother lately?” Laura asked as Kat walked away from the open door.
“Yes,” Kat lied. She sat at the bar in the kitchen and dipped her hands into the berries. Some of them burst open, filling the room with their cool, energetic scent. It was as calming as a hit of marijuana.
Tom and Laura watched Kat wordlessly from the doorway. Finally, Laura stepped inside and whispered Kat’s name. Kat allowed her eyelids to fall, immersing herself in her private moment. She didn’t need to be monitored by these people. Just go away, Kat thought.
“Kat, your mom…” Laura began as she crept closer to the desperate woman. Kat’s mental escape ceased and she pleaded with Laura with her eyes. “Kat, she’s in the hospital.”
Now they were everywhere. Stains, cracks, and nicks. All over the walls, the counters, and the doors. Kat pushed her fingers further under the amassed berries. She was digging for relief. “Why?” she whispered.
“I don’t know,” Laura told Kat. “But she wants you to come and see her.”
The last time Kat saw her was at her father’s funeral. It was months ago—Kat was still dating and almost done with her sociology degree. She’d hoped to work with children somehow. It was May. She’d asked her mother once more to tell her the truth about her father’s death. Her reply had been, “I just can’t.”
Tom’s voice broke into her memory and said, “Kat, please come to the hospital.” He lightly rubbed her shoulders, soliciting her promise.
It was a hard thing to do, but all Kat could say was, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t.”
The challenge was: The first sentence does not contain the letter A. Each sentence that follows is absent of the next consecutive vowel in the familiar “A,E,I,O,U” string. More simply put:
Sentence #1 = no A
Sentence #2 = no E
Sentence #3 = no I
Sentence #4 = no O
Sentence #5 = no U
Sentence #6 = no A
and so on……. :)