Wednesday, April 14, 2010

enough already...

She felt harried, rushed; overworked. So much pressure, so hard to be a single mom. Still so much grief still bottled up inside since the untimely death of her soul mate three years prior.

Her responsibilities were overwhelming. Her two youngest children barely remembered their father. Alex was 4 and Sophie had just turned 2 when he died. They didn’t have enough time with him. Why does God always take the best so soon? she often asked herself. He was such a good man. She was so happy to have found him after all those years alone. She thought they would have had more time. There’s never enough time. She realized that right now as she rushed to hide the Easter presents from the kids.

“Madeline, could you keep them out back for a minute?” She called to her eldest daughter from her previous marriage.

Madeline and Claire have been God sent in helping out with the little ones. There is no way she would have been able to get through Lou’s cancer without them.

“No problem, Mom! Hey, can I use your car later?” Maddie called back. “I’ve got plans to meet up with some friends.”

“Sure, hun. But don’t be out too late…it’s Easter tomorrow.” She’s such a young lady now, she thought. It's hard to believe that she's in college. It's so nice to have her home through the holiday; to have the whole family together.

That’s why she needed the babies in the back yard. She wanted to sneak the Easter presents from her car in through the front. The ongoing to-do list ran through her head: Unpack the groceries, hide the presents, make the baskets, make dinner, clean the house, arrange the flowers, try to work out. Yeah, like that was going to happen. She was so tired at this point she could hardly think straight let alone get on the treadmill. Maybe tomorrow. There’s always tomorrow. Sometimes, she thought sadly. That's what they always said..."we'll deal with that tomorrow". It was the way they made it through those agonizing months as the cancer slowly took away Lou's vibrance.

But first things first….get the Easter stuff hidden. She wanted Alex and Sophie to hold onto their innocence and beliefs in the Easter Bunny a little bit longer.

Alex looks just like Lou. So does Sophie. It’s hard not to look at them and see that magnificent man. He always cooked Easter dinner. He always made the day special for us all. Actually, he made every day seem special. He was so good with the kids. The children adored him. Everyone adored Lou. He was just that kind of man. God, she missed him.

She hung her head for a moment to regain her composure. Alex gets inconsolable when he sees his mom break down. Okay. It’s okay…pull yourself together, she said beneath her breath.

The evening is finally almost over. The kids are bathed and put to bed. She thinks she might do the same. Madeline comes asking for the keys to the car, but they aren’t where they normally are. Where are they?

“Just use the spare set Maddie, I’m too tired to look for them right now.”

“No problem, Mom.”

“Be back before midnight!” she calls out.

Mooooommmmmmmmmm. A little later? Please?” Maddie quickly asks.

“12:30. Latest. OK Madeline?”

“Alright. Geez, Mom.” she answers. “I love you.”

“I love you too. With all my heart.”

Easter morning. The kids are awake and digging through their baskets. Foil wrappers strewn on the floor, bunnies on the coffee tables missing their ears.

“C'mon kids…let’s go. We don’t want to be late for Mass.”

It was a long night. Her heart was heavy and she's overtired, but it’s so great to see everyone in their new Easter clothes. The girls are gorgeous, with their long hair and easy smiles. She is so lucky to have them. Where did the years go? They all clamor out the side door to the driveway where Maddie left the car last night. Her daughter had been late getting in. 1:00am the clock had read. She had woken up when she heard the car doors lock with it’s annoying, yet reassuring Beep!Beep!

“Maddie? Where’s the car? She asks her daughter struggling with the deadbolt on the house door.

“Right there Mom…right….” Maddie turns around to find the driveway empty. The car is gone.

“Right where, Maddie?”

“Mom! I parked it RIGHT THERE….Right there!!!” she points to the spot in the driveway where she had parked the Jeep last night.

The morning isn’t spent at Saint Malachi like planned. It’s spent in the living room accompanied by uniformed police officers taking reports. They’ve managed to put together that her keys must have been stolen. Her key chain is attached to a small card wallet that had her driver’s license, Giant Eagle card and debit card. It was a gift that she had liked for its convenience. It’s not very convenient now.

Seems whoever has taken her keys has charged $1200 in gift cards at Giant Eagle, returned later and stolen the car. Filled up with gas and drove to Detroit. They found the car wrapped around a light pole right outside of the Motor City. No passengers. Nothing in the car. Everything is gone, except for some empty RedBull cans.

“Ma’am, we need you to come with us to the grocery to look at the security videos. To see if you know who used your credit cards.” The police officer looks forlorn. He knows this family. He knew Lou and had attended his funeral. He knows the amount of stress they have already endured. Why can’t this family catch a break, he wonders. They sure do deserve it.

They watch the stores videos. She brings the girls to see if they know who these boys are. The theives are young. The dark haired boy looks to be about 19, the other not even that.

“No. I don’t know them.” she replies. “I’ve never seen them before.”

Both of the girls nod in agreement. They don’t know them either.

How did they get her keys? She had them when she returned home. Did she leave them on the front porch? Did they pick them up from there? Her mind is a jumble as she tries to retrace her steps and figure this puzzle out. The purchases at the grocery were at 10:32pm. Madeline had the car at that time. She didn’t get back until 1:00am and the car was found in Detroit at 6:30am. So these boys came back and stole the car after Madeline returned home?

Shivers went up her spine and raised the hair on her neck. The thought that someone was watching the house, her house, planning on stealing her car unsettled her. It dawns on her that they still have the keys to her house.

She was now not just scared, but angry. How could the people at Giant Eagle have approved a $1200 sale! Don’t they ask for identification? She just bought this car. And what about her bank card? All of her money gone. Oh God…help me, is all she can think.

Haven’t I been through enough already?
I’m just so tired. So tired.

NOTE: This short story is based on factual events of a neighbor. It's a sad story, but I hope you liked it.


  1. That was heartbreaking-I can't imagine ever having to go through anything like that. Beautifully written though.

  2. Oooh...more, please!

    (Not that I want to take any sort of pleasure from your friend's misfortunes you understand, but I was *just* getting into the tale, and you left me hanging...!)

  3. That's when you adopt a siege mentality, checking everything twice and three times, setting things up in such a way that that people can't screw you, can't hurt you. That mentality stays a long long time after the pressure has eased.

  4. Oh, nonononono--- that's just devastating! I can't believe she went through such an awful ordeal... You told the story so well, but it was just painful to think about HER pain!

  5. Oh how sad. But beautifully done. I couldn't stop reading.

  6. I'm so sorry to learn that this is not fiction, as I was hoping. Reminds me of the Hallowe'en story you wrote about last fall and the emboldened misbehavior of a small slice of humanity. And in this case, the misbehavior is truly a criminal act. Shame on those young men.

  7. As I started to read, I had to stop for a moment. Were you writing about me, I wondered? Did you somehow become a fly on the windscreen of my life as my husband of too few years left me and my two children, due to the hands of that very same disease? No, as the story unfolded I was able to breath again. Sometimes life heaps challenges and more challenges upon us. I hope your neighbour is weathering her storms as best she can. A well written story.

  8. Very well written, but so very unfortunate to have to go through all that. I will pray that things get sorted out quickly for your neighbor.

  9. Well Done Nancy,

    Sad how often these things actually happen, I too was sad to find out it was based on truth but doesn't true life tell the best tales.

  10. oh what a nightmare....the thought that they still have the keys to the house is tomacch turning...

  11. It was interesting to find a short story when I opened your blog. I love your writing voice,the one with which you tell about your life with Boo. This voice is equally lovely but different. Don't know how much other writing you actually do but if this is any indication I hope you will post more.

    BTW -- yeah, live vicariously through me, the Home Depot job probably isn't worth the time away from something far more interesting and enriching. And they don't even give a discount!

  12. oh no! what a horrible thing to happen :( that's such a nightmare.

  13. Hi Nancy, it felt really good to read one of your posts after a while. It was heartbreaking the way you brought out the unending flow of pain in this woman's's true some people never seem to catch a break...well written

  14. We had our car stolen-twice. It's a horrible feeling of violation. I feel so sorry for these people. As if they haven't endured enough. My prayers and best wishes...

  15. It was a wonderfully written story. I too, am sad to read that it is true. Being the victem of a crime is such a violation, I hope they find strength and comfort in each other.

  16. Omigosh. How awful. But great story telling...excellent post!

  17. That is absolutely heartbreaking to know it actually happened to someone. You write very well, Nancy.

  18. So sad that this is a true story. Bad times, that's for sure.

  19. How terrible! But so good! I loved how you eased us into the context at the beginning without writing up a whole introductory paragraph... dynamic, clear, consise. Great!

  20. What a terrible event! Poor lady! You write with such style and beauty!

  21. I felt guilty for enjoying the captivating story on this undeserving family. Such beautiful writing of the sorry state of our world.

  22. I was so drawn in to this story! Well told!

  23. wonderfully done. i like the layers you use to weave the story line with details about the characters.

    i've found a new place to visit. :)

  24. I felt so sorry for this poor woman's misfortunes! And to learn that they were all true! How sad! Good writing! I really got involved in the story!

  25. Thanks everyone for your positive feedback on my first (yeah, can you believe that?) attempt at second person dialogue! For some reason the other day when kibitzing with my neighbor and her telling me the latest in bad fortune that has befallen them, it couldn't be told but through her voice. Ya' know?

    Anyway...the drama continues to unfold for them. The insurance company is covering the car, but as it's only 7 months old she actually OWES more than the totaled amount they quoted. Hopefully they will change the numbers a bit. Giant Eagle has questioned the cashier and put her on probabtion. She is suspect that SHE may know these guys but as of yet, has not confessed. Amazingly enough, the family continues to be upbeat. They are an inspiration. And not only for stories...


    Thanks again!

  26. Beautiful photo, much beautiful words.^^

  27. You know that saying, "things could be a lot worse"? It never really helps me feel better, but I hope things get a lot better for this family! This made my heart hurt. You did a great job of crawling inside this woman and giving us a peek.

  28. It is so very sad!! Hope you will let us all know what has happened to these people!!


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