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“I'm so tired of it all,” Carla complained as we dug through boxes looking for costumes for the Easter Presentation.
“You're already tired of looking? We've only just begun and there are six boxes,” I joked, hoping to side-track her.
“Gracie, you know what I mean and it's not a joking matter. I'm thinking about divorcing Darren. I just don't think I can spend the rest of my life with him!”
My hands stopped above the box and angel wings fluttered onto my lap. Those would work for one of the pre-schoolers. Where's Pamela, Lord? She would know how to handle this. The room was so silent the clock sounded loud to me. If I sit here long enough she'll laugh and tell me she's kidding. But she didn't.
“Did you hear what I said?” she demanded, back ramrod straight and fists resting on her thighs.
Help me out here, Lord, because this is way out of my league. I waited for Divine intervention, but none came.
“Why do you think that?” I hesitantly asked.
“He doesn't listen to me and he doesn't care what I think. How's that for starters?”
Whoa. For starters? I made my hands dip back into the box and lift out the next thing. What's the king's sash doing in here with angel wings? Focus, Gracie.
“But why not trying to work through things?”
Carla looked at me as if I were off my rocker. “Work through things? Now you're not listening either. I told you, the man won't listen and he doesn't care! He's not gonna 'work through' things. C'mon, Gracie, get your head in the real world.”
Control, Gracie. Get control. I gritted my teeth, trying to listen to common sense, but my rash side was getting in the way. Real world? Girl, let me tell you about the real world! I counted to ten, then to twenty, but it didn't work.
“The real world? I'll tell ya' about the real world, Carla. In the real world we're required to grow up and get our eyes off ourselves. In the real world we have to buckle down and do a lot of things we don't want to.” Carla's eyes widened, but I was on a roll. “In the real world we have to work our hineys off to make dreams come true because there is no fairy godmother who will wave her magic wand and give us everything we want. In the real world life is not all flowers and romance, it's blood, sweat and tears and running on commitment when the love's run out, and then coaxing the love back to life. The real world is not like we imagined back when we were playing dolls.” I lowered my hands into my lap and looked at my stunned friend. Oh, now that was real inspired, Gracie. See, Lord, I told ya' that I wasn't the one for this job. Now what?
Carla slowly closed her mouth, her back losing its stiffness. Once again I heard the blasted clock and, without thinking twice, reached over and pulled its plug, putting an end to its incessant ticking.
Carla quirked an eyebrow at me. “Are you gonna pull my plug, too?”
I threw a shepherd's headdress at her.
“I think you've been saving that speech just for me.” She blew the bangs out of her eyes and fiddled with the fringes on the headdress. “But, I think you got it right. Life isn't anything like I imagined it would be, back when we played dolls.”
“Back then you wanted to get married, have babies and raise a family. Are you willing to give all that up just to get Darren to listen to you or to see if he cares?” I asked her.
Carla sat there smoothing the fabric while my lungs burned from holding my breath. “I would be giving it up, wouldn't I?” She looked at me with tormented eyes. “It's just not like we dreamed it would be.”
“No, it's not.” I sighed. “But sometimes it's better.”
A small smile tugged at her lips. “Yeah. Sometimes. Maybe I shouldn't do anything rash then. Ya' think?”
The starch evaporated from my spine and I sagged in relief. “You'd be hurting more than just Darren if you did.”
“Like myself?” she asked wryly.
I grinned as I waved the cord at her. “Yeah, but if you try it, I'll just unplug ya'. Deal?”
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