Daily Writing Challenge Day 3: Time’s Up

This is Day 3 of my commitment to write and post some piece of short fiction every day. I’m definitely in need of prompts, so help a girl out if you can.

Time’s Up

“I’m not ready yet. There’s too much I still want to do,” she sobs.

“I’m sorry. I gave you 75 years. Your time is up.”

***

Megan sits at the counter, pinning tiny little golden wings onto a beaded angel. She has been meaning to get it done since Todd was born, to join the collection of personalized ornaments on the family Christmas tree. Todd is in the third grade.

“Mom, come play with us,” he yells. His sister Becky is taking the Monopoly board out of the box, setting it up on the dining room table.

“Just a minute,” she starts, then stops mid-sentence. No more “just a minutes”. It’s time to live my life right now.

Setting her tiny blue angel aside, Megan grabs her cocoa and heads to the table. This is one snow day that will not be lost, forgotten in the mundane, cast aside in favor of things she has to do instead of things she wants to do.

“I want the race car,” Todd shouts and Megan smiles at his enthusiasm. Becky just rolls her eyes and hands her brother the token he requested.

“Which one do you want, Mom? Do you still like the shoe best?”

Megan is surprised that her daughter remembers her preference for the shoe. It seems like forever since they played this game together. “Yes, sweetie, that would be great.”

Laughing and playing with her children, Megan feels time is standing still until, several hours later, Becky asks, “Won’t Dad be home soon? Should we start dinner? I can help.”

This from the girl I usually have to bribe to set the table? Megan ponders the change, wondering if one afternoon playing with her children can be responsible for this big attitude adjustment. “You can grab the phone. We’re having pizza tonight.”

Megan giggles at the incredulous expression on her daughter’s face.

“It’s not Friday.” Becky’s simple statement is clearly supposed to mean more than it says.

“New rule in this house, as of right now. Pizza is not just for birthdays, Fridays or when your dad and I are going out. I like pizza and if we eat pizza tonight, we have more time to beat Dad at Scrabble before bedtime,” she explains, surprising herself with the vehemence in her declaration. “I like pizza.”

***

Sam is pulling in the driveway when he sees the delivery driver standing at the front door.

That’s odd, he thinks. Is Megan sick? We never have pizza on Monday.

“Honey, I’m home,” he says, shaking the snow off his coat and stomping his feet to clean the salty slush off his boots.

Becky and Todd are smiling, chasing each other around the dinner table as they set out napkins and paper plates. Megan looks perfectly healthy setting out boxes of pizza. Sam is confused.

“Did I wander onto the set of the Twilight Zone?” he asks playfully. “My daughter isn’t attached to the telephone, my wife doesn’t look exhausted and my son isn’t whining about eating his peas.”

“We decided to make the most of today,” Megan says, as though that explains everything.

Sam looks at the briefcase full of work he brought home for the evening and turns around, taking the case and the work with it back to the car. Once he is back in the house, he smiles to his family. “I didn’t want to be left out. My work can wait.”

A second later, he is surprised again as Megan serves him pepperoni pizza with extra cheese and not a single vegetable.

“Am I dying?” he asks, searching her face for some explanation of why his carb-counting, cholesterol-fearing wife has served his favorite transfat-laden, artery-clogging meal. He laughs at his own joke and misses the dark shadow that fades quickly from Megan’s crystal blue eyes.

Megan turns her head and vows to herself to have more days like this one.

***

Becky takes her mother’s hand as Megan closes them one last time.

“Thanks for the snow days, Mom. They were the best.”

--

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Lucinda Gunnin is a commercial property manager and author in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She’s a news junky, sushi addict, and geek extraordinaire.

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Lucinda Gunnin

Lucinda Gunnin

Lucinda Gunnin is a commercial property manager and author in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She’s a news junky, sushi addict, and geek extraordinaire.