Balancing time challenges the writer’s ability to meet the most pressing demands. The alluring call of the writing muse draws us from mundane tasks, as the song of the Sirens drew sailors to crash their ships upon rocky shores.
Today, I’m on a writing “roll” but it’s almost noon. My husband will be home, and I haven’t even started preparing lunch .Of course it’s not the perfect time to start daydreaming, but I slip into my peculiar little imagination anyway. Instead of prying my mind out of this current story, wouldn’t it be nice if I could just put this writing into a bowl? After all, I’ve been working on it all morning. Hmmm.
Rrring. My husband is calling. “Got food? Have to be back by one o’clock.”
‘Ahhh sure. “I have some fresh flash fiction. Just finished it this morning.”
“Sure, but I’m really hungry, got anything to go with it?”
“How ‘bout a bowl of tart little limericks?”
“Sounds good, I’ll be right home.”
In my mind, I just cheated my husband out of a proper meal. Guilt washes over me; he works hard, and deserves better than flash fiction. Perhaps a short story would suffice.
As I reel back to the reality of balancing writing time with other responsibilities, a mental flashback from over twenty years ago hits me. My baby boy had just turned one. I was standing in the kitchen cooking dinner, and watching him play when the phone rang. My doctor was calling with bad news. “You might live a year – or not. It’s something you’re going to have to accept.” I was shocked at the news, but also his blunt delivery of it. No cushion of kindness, no waste of time preparing me for the blow, he simply swung and hit me in the gut. I focused on my tiny child as the doctor’s words continued to pound me. Tears rushed down my face as I saw my time ending. It was within that moment that I formed my priorities for my remaining days; I would spend as much time with my loved ones as I could muster. Obviously, I lived past that year. Strangely enough, my body healed itself or as I prefer to think, God healed me because it was not yet my time to die.
Through the years, I tried to be there for others and succeeded. There were also numerous times when I flat out failed, but I learned something. For me, it takes more than a vow to succeed; it takes constant reaffirmations to make the right choices. I’m grateful upon remembering how I put the writing aside to hold a pet in my lap that is now painfully absent. I’m at peace for having listened to my mother repeat the same sentence twenty times during a half hour phone call, because life and loved ones fly away in the breeze when we least expect.
Today, as I look back on that fateful conversation with my doctor, I stretch to embrace an attitude of gratitude toward the tactless physician. Little did I know, when I made a vow to spend time with my loved ones, I made a promise to be present - in my own life.
Now, it’s time to put the writing aside to make lunch for my husband. Perhaps he would like hot chili and corn chips with a bowl of tart little limericks on the side.
~ Life in Five Minutes ~
They rushed into the house at noon and swept into the dining room.
Quick breathless chatter set the mood as they enjoyed their luncheon food.
“More water, dear? Yes, that is good how was your day, what did you do?”
I smiled and heard their stories through then time was up and off they flew.
“Good bye, take care and I love you,” I cleaned the kitchen then looked through,
The doorway to the dining room to sideways chairs and napkins strewn,
By water glasses still from noon where loved ones met and all too soon,
Were rushing off with things to do and suddenly I think I knew,
That life and lunch were over soon, just like our time within this room.