On renovations.

Published July 23, 2012 by mandileighbean

I plan on writing many, many blog entries and penning several successful novels.  But whatever I write, I want one theme to come through loud and clear.  Literary merit in my work may be debated, but I hope that the harshest of my critics will agree that throughout my writings, I emphasized the importance of love, of being loved and what a tremendous gift love is.  Last night, I was fortunate enough to visit at length with friends from high school in a small reunion of sorts.  In those brief hours mixed with conversation and wine, I felt so loved, so supported, so accepted and so appreciated.  It was a feeling I’d love to get back a hundred times over, and a feeling I’d love to offer to those who matter most to me a hundred times over.

Love is the most important thing; always.

PROMPT: A young couple embark upon their very first home-improvement project together.

PIECE: Toby was winded from lifting and slamming the sledgehammer against the wall and let the tool rest beside him with the mallet on the carpet. He used the handle as a cane and stepped back slightly to survey his handiwork. Jessica had convinced him it’d be best to knock down the wall between the master bedroom and the smaller, adjacent spare bedroom. While it eliminated the so-called “guest room,” it made the master bedroom larger and apparently, a ginormous bedroom was all Jessica had ever wanted … ever. Things had gotten hairy when Toby expressed concern about knocking down walls in such an old, worn house. The house had belonged to Jessica’s parents; it had been their “shore house” decades earlier, and had sat uninhabited and uncared for over a large span of time. They had given the house to the young couple, provided the couple would fix it up and make it livable, a task that proved harder than originally perceived.  Indeed, the couple had argued ferociously that morning, with Jessica screaming that every repair Toby had ever made to the house was sloppy and incorrect and that he only cared about shutting her up and never really cared about her wants, her needs, her desires, her dreams.  Toby had rolled his eyes instead of verbally professing the inaccuracies of the atrocities leveled against him, and that had only enraged Jessica further.

Toby was standing with his cotton respirator mask lying about his neck in disuse and the sledgehammer momentarily forgotten propped in the nearby corner.  His safety glasses were still over his eyes and in retrospect, he was thankful for that because Jessica had really let the spit fly.  She was red in the face, sweaty, screaming and wild.  While he mistakenly showed some annoyance, Toby did understand that renovations were stressful and knew it was best to let Jessica unleash her frustrations.  He’d handle the barrage of thoughtless insults and empty threats and later, when the atmosphere had considerably cooled, he would bring her a glass of blush wine in the bath and all would be forgiven.  He went over this plan in his head before hearing Jessica’s thin-soled sneakers trotting up the stairs.  He turned just as she entered through the doorway.  Jessica was still frowning, but she had lost some of the more manic aspects that had so recently composed her countenance.  “Who was on the phone?” Toby asked.

“It was just my mother; she wanted to know how things were going.”  She was not looking at Toby, kicking idly at the carpet (which, by the way, would have to be torn up and completely replaced because it was repulsive – both ugly and stained).

“Did you get a chance to vent?” Toby asked with a knowing smile.  The change in his tone caused Jessica to finally survey him.

“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Jessica said reluctantly, like she didn’t want to admit Toby was right about anything ever.

“Here,” Toby said as he handed Jessica the sledgehammer.  “Take a few swings and let out some frustrations.”

Jessica took the sledgehammer but looked at Toby as if she didn’t quite understand.  Smiling encouragingly, Toby nodded.  Shrugging, Jessica lifted the sledgehammer and brought it crashing against the side of Toby’s head.  He hit the floor, silent and still.

She decided she did feel less frustrated.

P.S. – The idea for this prompt was inspired by my mother and twin sister (they developed the story – they have never taken a sledgehammer to anyone. Well, as far as I know, anyway).

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