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In The Past

Regrets?  Mabel had a few, more than a few to be  honest.  She'd made some bad choices back when she was young.  She ended up marrying, not the handsome guy who tried so hard to win her attention, but the fast-talking, hard-drinking bad boy who promised her excitement.  She got that, for sure, if you could call dodging the blows when he was angry exciting, or trying to make ends meet when he was out of work.  When she got pregnant for the second time he left her.  Mabel figured it was probably for the best.
 
With two little mouths to feed and rent to pay, Mabel ended up working two jobs and farmed her kids out to friends and relatives when the babysitter didn't show. By the time she finally got off-shift they were usually fast asleep. How she longed to be the kind of mom who was there to read them bedtime stories and take them on outings to the park. As it was she was doing good just to get their clothes washed and a few groceries in the house.
 
As soon as they were old enough, Mabel's children became latch-key kids, letting themselves in the back door after school, eating the sandwiches she'd left them for supper, and hanging out with other kids in their rough and tumble neighborhood until dark and sometimes later.  Most often they would fall asleep in front of the television waiting for her to come home. 
 
One thing led to another.  Mabel's son fell in with the wrong crowd and had some minor run-ins with the law.  Then he learned there was money to be made in stolen goods, and it wasn't long before he was reporting weekly to the juvenile authorities. Mabel yelled and screamed, and cried, but he wasn't listening. He told her what did she know about right from wrong, and always having nothing.  She knew, Oh Lord, she knew,  but he was at that age where parents don't know anything.
 
Mabel's daughter made up for being lonely, and being made fun of by her classmates for her shabby clothes and unpolished ways, by hooking up with the first guy who paid her a little attention.  Mabel nearly went hysterical when she discovered that relationship, but it was too late by then, and a baby was on the way.
 
Now here it was fifteen years later.  Mabel's daughter had dropped out of school when she got pregnant, but eventually she got her GED and then started taking courses at the local college. Mabel heard that she had graduated with honors, but her daughter hadn't told her; she never stopped by to see her and didn't want to talk. Mabel figured that her daughter blamed her for not doing a better job at bringing her up.
 
Today was really going to be something.  Mabel was so nervous that she sat out on her porch and rocked away the morning trying to soothe her jangled nerves.  Mabel's son was being released from prison.  He'd been writing to her regular.  He told her that he'd found Jesus and was cleaning up his ways.  Mabel's daughter was going to pick him up today when they released him, and then they were headed her way with Mabel's grandson in tow. She hadn't seen him since he was a baby.
 
The family reunion she'd been dreaming of and praying for all this time was about to happen.  Would they forgive her?  Did they know how much she loved them?   Mabel wished that she'd done so many things different when they were growing up, but at the time she'd done the best she could. No more time for regrets now, she could see the car kicking up dust as it headed down her road.  It was in the past, and she hoped they understood.   
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
 
This was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are rocker and regret

22 comments:

  1. Well done. You have such a talent for these short vignettes into life.

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    1. Thank you kindly Joe, I don't know about talent, but for me it is definitely fun! Sometimes the stories seem to come to me so easily, and they are the ones that I end up liking best!

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    1. Thank you so much I think there are parts of this story in so many of us, trying hard, even if we didn't always do it exactly right, or as good as we wanted.

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  3. Well done - great character development in such a short piece. I want to know what each of them thinks/feels as they share that first visit!

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    1. Thank you! That's a really intriguing thought, as we have three separate perceptions of the reality all coming together for reunion. I sometimes feel that way when my two sisters and I discuss a story from the past, we sometimes remember things so differently that I think we lived in different families! :-)

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  4. What a great piece of writing. Your way with words just draws the reader in and does not let them off the hook! I've missed this!

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    1. Thank you Brenda! Sometimes the words come together, sometimes not so well, but I love the challenge of trying to portray a bit of human life without rambling on as long as I used to! ;-)

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  5. An excellent piece (True ?) that touches the heart.

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    1. Thank you Altonian! Although this story isn't about anyone I personally know, I have no doubt that it or something similar has occurred many times over. Hard roles, hard experiences, and yet so very much a part of humanity that is familiar to us all.

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    1. The interesting thing is, that the regrets I feel most deeply about raising my children, they barely remember. I think perhaps we are sometimes far harder on ourselves. What matters most is that a child knows they are loved.

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  7. boy Josie, you hit it all here... if you told me a snapshot as short as this could reveal so much I wouldn't have believed it...nicely done... so true of so many family relationships. I often wonder about the real levels of regret so many people live with when it comes to choices made that affected their families.

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    1. Regret is a heavy cross to bear, unless we learn to put it in perspective and realize that in most situations we did the best we could with what we had at the time. In this story all three characters are dealing with regret for choices made. Will they be able to help each other heal?

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  8. You tore out my heart with this one.

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    1. My heart went out to Mabel in this story too, Mimi. How many of us have ended up spending our adult years paying for the choices we made in our youth? I believe that Mabel did the best she could and wanted to do so much more. It is my hope and prayer that her children, since they are older now, are able to show compassion and forgiveness and take responsibility for actions that were their own. It is far too easy to blame our upbringing for everything else we do that goes wrong.

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  9. What a wonderful story. The first lines could have been me falling for the bad boy.... regrets?
    I might be inspired to try my hand at some fiction one of these weeks!

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    1. Thank you Martha! It took me fifty years to learn that "bad boys" (three of them to be exact) might be fun to play with, but are clearly not the marrying kind. Now I'm married to the most wonderful guy ever, who is the total opposite of all that came before, and you can imagine how much I appreciate him! :-)

      I hadn't done any fiction writing until about a year ago when a friend convinced me to try, and I've found it to be more fun than I ever could have imagined. I don't see myself as a polished writer, more of a storyteller, but I am perfectly happy with that role! I encourage to you give it a short one week at Two Shoes Tuesday, we are very encouraging bunch of bloggers here!

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  10. This story clearly has so many duplicates in real life. We all know the cause but are usually quite helpless at finding a solution. Should a "nanny" State care for them? Should we turn the other way and say "Well they brought it on themselves?" There are no easy answers but reminders like your touching story that anyone just like us could fall by the wayside too even when trying our best.

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    1. That's so very true, Old Egg, this isn't a story unfamiliar, we all know of someone who had to struggle to get by, and struggled to raise her/his children too. I think there might be a little bit of Mabel's story in all of us, trying hard, doing the best we knew how at the time, and sometimes falling short. You are right that there are no easy answers, other than to reach out to encourage and assist each other, so that no one feels they are facing hard times all alone.

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  11. Great story, you had me hooked until the ended trying to figure out the plot! I liked how you tied it all into the theme of regret. Great story! : )

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    1. Thanks Joseph! There was a bunch of regrets tied up in this one, I think we all live with a few, but hopefully we can forgive ourselves and each other!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)