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Everything Go Perfect
Anna left work at 5 o’clock. She had meant to leave at 3:30. Why is it that nothing ever goes the way I need it to? She thought as she let her shoulder length blonde hair fall from the constraints of the pony tail holder. As she walked toward her car, her mind fumed with frustration. I had plans she thought. Today was her husband’s 34th birthday. She was going to clean the house, make homemade enchiladas and chocolate cake and have everything ready for her husband when he got home. Between her job as a nurse, her husband’s job as an emergency room doctor, which took up late nights and weekends, and three children all under the age of 5, Anna felt she had little time to do anything but work and take care of the kids. By the time her husband got home, sometimes as late as nine at night, she was often barely able to mutter more than a “hello” and “goodnight.” He understood of course. She was a full time mom working a full time job. And just this once she wanted to repay her husband for his understanding by having a clean house for him to come home to, a hot meal and warm welcome from his wife.
“ Logan! Would you please stop bugging Lily! And hand Lucille her sippy cup would you?” Anna said.
Logan was 5, and starting kindergarten that next year. Lily and Lucille were twins, both in their terrible threes. Anna often felt between her kids, her job, her home, and husband’s constant absence, that she was barely hanging by a string.
“ Mamaaaaaaa! I wan’ juice! I wan’ juice!!” Lucille screamed
“ Logan hand her the juice! Please!”
Logan handed the juice to his mom and began reading his comic book with the ignorance to a mother’s frustration that only a child can have. Like I’m not even speaking Anna thought as she sighed and handed her daughter the juice. When she walked into her house, her sprits dropped even more. The house was messier than she remembered and it being when she left. The kids still needed dinner but because she hadn’t had time to go to the grocery store after work, there wasn’t much to eat besides sandwiches, cookies, and some random cans of food she wasn’t sure why she had even bought. She looked at the clock. The red glare of the kitchen clock seemed to taunt her. FIVE FORTY FIVE AND COUNTING it yelled. Realizing the kids still needed dinner she quickly whipped up some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches then searched the fridge and cupboards, as if she was hoping that they would be magically full of all the food she needed when she opened it the second time. But just as it had been five minutes ago, there were no tortillas, no cheese, no cake mix and no eggs. Suddenly she heard a wailing. Of course Anna thought with frustration.
“ Mamaaa!” Lucille cried as she ran over to her mom, tears streaming and hand held out.
“What is it, honey?”Anna said with a sigh.
“I-I swammed my finga in the door on my toys’ box.,” she blubbered.
“Want me to kiss it better?’ Anna asked and Lucille nodded. “Alright now go to the table and finish your sandwich, ok?”
Lucille nodded happily, the previous moment’s distress magically forgotten and bounced over to the table, while Anna leaned against the counter head in hands with seconds ticking by.
Okay, Anna thought, trying to stay positive dinner is a bust but maybe I can manage to get most of the house clean.
When she walked from the loud of the kitchen to the quiet of living room, her heart sank. She had been so busy the last few days she had had no time to clean up the house at all. The kids’ toys littered the floor, clothes were strewn over the couch and on the floor, dishes sat on the coffee table and all the shelves were covered in dust. As she stood in the wreckage of a neglected home, one shelf caught her eye. But it wasn’t the shelf that caught her eye, but the dusty picture that sat atop it. It was their wedding day picture, from seven years ago and a more simple time in her life. Her hair was longer then and she was in better shape too she realized with only a hint of nostalgia.But Luke looked just the same; the same dark,buzz cut hair and deep hazel eyes. She remembered she had just got her nursing degree and Luke had been in his last year of his internship St. Mary’s Medical Hospital. They had had all the time in the world and the whole future ahead. As she looked into the gleaming, happy and optimistic eyes of her 24 year old self, she wished for a moment that she could start all over. Suddenly headlights washed over her face and the car horn honked. It was Luke.
“Daddy’s home!” Logan screeched from the kitchen and then the inevitable pitter patter of children’s feet sounded down the hall and out the door as they ran to greet her father. She walked slowly towards the open door and leaned against the door frame, arms crossed waiting for her family’s return. Luke walked up to the door, laughing with a girl held on each hip as Logan ran by with his father’s briefcase.
“Hi honey.” Luke said, as he kissed her forehead.
As he put the girls down Anna said, “Happy birthday, Hon”
“You remembered?’ he said, eyebrows raised.
“Of course! Why wouldn’t I?’
But he didn’t hear her against the chatter of the children and the TV Logan had just turned on. Luke walked toward the bedroom to change and Anna began to walk grudgingly toward the kitchen until she heard Luke call her name.
She walked into the room and began speaking before he even turned to look at her.
“I am so sorry. I had a whole thing planned for your birthday. Enchiladas, cake. I was going to clean the house and take a shower and do my hair and look all pretty and awake when you walked in the door to hot home cooked meal for once. But I just… the day was just.” She felt tears welling up as she spoke but swallowed them back down. He doesn’t need that she thought. Suddenly,Anna realized Luke was looking at her, with pain in his eyes as he realized why she had stopped talking. He walked toward her and tenderly put his hands on either side of her face.
“Look at me. Don’t you apologize. I’m the one who should apologize. It’s because of me that you’re so overwhelmed all the time. I’m sorry I’m not more help around the house or with the kids. I hate that you’re so overworked.”
Anna looked into his big blue eyes and lied, “It’s okay…”
“No, it’s not. I know it’s not. And that’s why I am quitting my job at the emergency room. I thought tonight would be a good night to tell you. I am taking a job at a small family clinic. Do you know what that means?” he said with a smile. “It means that I can actually be here. No more late emergency room hours or Sunday afternoons at the hospital. I’ll be there 8-5 Monday through Friday. I will be here, the way I always should have been.”
Anna smiled and hugged him harder than ever. It wasn’t her birthday but this was the best gift she had ever received.
“So how do you feel about peanut butter and jelly for dinner?” Anna said
“Sounds absolutely perfect.” Luke said as he wrapped his arm around her waist and kissed her cheek.
And for once, Anna felt that everything was going to be ok.