Mona

Day 30 Thirty Books

June 30, 1936. Margaret Mitchell’s book, Gone with the Wind, was published. 

Your last Challenge!

Have you dreamed of writing a novel? Set a timer for thirty minutes and free write! Write whatever comes to mind, then take just a few moments to do some simple editing such as correcting grammar and spelling.

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Mona woke slowly, enjoying the breeze flirting with the sheer curtains at the west-facing window.  It was just barely light outside, but the birds were singing as if their little throats simply couldn’t contain their joy.  She loved the sweet smell of the lavender planted just outside the bedroom window.  It had been there for more years than she cared to remember. Lovely lavender.

Stretching slowly, as she had learned to do when her joints began to ache with arthritis, she reached her right arm across to Ned’s side of the bed and touched. . . .

Nothing.

“Oh, dear God, when will I stop that!”  She struggled with the lump in her throat, blinking back hot tears.  “I will NOT cry this morning,” she promised herself. “Will. Not. Cry.”

She rolled to her left side, dropping her legs over the edge of the bed and searching for her slippers.  Sitting up now, she stared down at the floor and thought about the coming day. She couldn’t sit there very long, though, because she was needing the bathroom.  These days, she obeyed that call right away.

As she rinsed her cleansing cream off her face, she did something she hadn’t done in some time. She stopped to examine her skin. Yes, all the wrinkles and creases, and the droopy turkey wattles under her chin were still there, at least to her critical eye. She creamed it all faithfully, and people told her she didn’t look her age.

She looked into her own eyes, wondering what other people saw when they looked at her. Did they see her aching loneliness?  Did they see the fear she often felt? Did they see how desperately she wished she could have had just one more morning with Ned?  Or did they see a woman who was confident, in control, dealing with life as it came?

It was hard to know.  She masked her true feelings quite well, a skill she’d learned so long ago as she grew up in a home where Dad was gone most of the time and Mom was just too worn out to want to listen to a young girl’s growing pains.  Meeting Ned had changed her life from loneliness to loveliness. She missed him with a deep wanting that no one knew, and she was unable to share it with anyone else.

Well.  Time to get ready for the day. Mona padded off to the kitchen, enjoying the aroma of the coffee she’d prepared the night before.  The timed coffee maker had been one of Ned’s last gifts.  He never liked coffee himself, but he knew she loved her morning brew. Using the machine was her daily tribute to Ned’s thoughtfulness.

She got a mini-bagel out of the freezer.  Half the carbs of a regular-sized bagel, she enjoyed one a couple of times each week with cream cheese and a little spoon of jelly.  Cherry jelly today. She looked forward to that pop of flavor.

She doctored her coffee with raw sugar and a dollop of half and half,  took her bagel out of the toaster and loaded it up, then carried everything to her chair in the living room. Her habit for more years than she could count, she set her breakfast down on the tray beside her chair, put a CD in the Bose to accompany her morning, and sat down to the strains of Vivaldi. Putting her feet up on the hassock, she leaned back and closed her eyes just for a few moments. And suddenly she could have sworn that Ned was right there, looking at her, smiling the way he did when her feet were bare and he was considering giving them a tickle.

Startled, she opened her eyes and. . . . well, of course, there was no one.  No one at all. She broke her vow not to cry, but she didn’t let it last very long.  Just a few seconds.  Wiping her eyes with the tissue in her pocket, she reached for the Bible that was always near her chair. She took great comfort just from the feel of the old Book, its worn leather cover, even the smell of the pages as she flipped over to the the place she’d stopped the day before.

Philippians had been her favorite book since she’d been in her 30’s and worked so hard to memorize the four chapters.  She was reading there now, and she smoothed the pages as she traveled back in time over 30 years ago.

There would have been four young people in their various rooms.  Ned would have been outdoors already on such a beautiful spring morning, checking the roses for Japanese beetles and making sure the  raspberries weren’t being all picked off by the birds.  The kids wouldn’t be up yet.  She treasured this early morning time when the house was quiet, before the bustle of getting up, showered, off to school turned her morning into  constant motion. If she closed her eyes again and listened carefully, she could hear them moving around in their rooms as they woke up, hit the shower, used the blow-dryer, and came out to do whatever their assigned duty was for that week.  One would set about making lunches; one would take care of the dog; one would check laundry and do whatever needed doing; and one would police the living area, kitchen, and bathrooms.

They’d been good kids.  Their cooperation made it possible for her to work full time, teaching history and English and some other things  as well.

Again, she snapped out of her reverie with tears trickling down her cheeks. Boy. She had to stop this.

She let her eyes drift over the pages until they rested on the passage she’d read yesterday.  Taking another sip of the coffee in her mug, she settled down to read  the next chapter.

June 30 Challenge

P.S.  I want to thank you, Kathleen Duncan, for the time and thought you put into this challenge for the month of June.  I can hardly believe we’re at the end of it!  I enjoyed it, enjoyed reading what others have done, enjoyed stretching myself a little more than usual. 

Today’s challenge  made me come face to face with  something I need to continue working on.  What I’ve written here is a complete revision of what I’d already started, and  I think it’s a little better than it was.  I’d love to take Mona through the next few months of her life, so thanks for getting me moving.  

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