Sunday Scribblings-The End

There's just no end to it, Denise thought, as she grabbed the last bag of groceries from the trunk of her car. Tossing the bag inside the back door, she hurried back to the car to retrieve her cup of iced coffee, a small reward for completing another day of errands. Gripping the sweaty cup in one hand, and snatching as many of the thin plastic handled grocery bags as she could with the other, she tromped through the kitchen. A quick glance at the clock elicited an involuntary groan. "Shit," Denise muttered. "Ten minutes until it's time to pick up the twins." Tears sprang to her eyes, as she began clawing through the bags, searching for milk, yogurt, meat, ice cream - all the perishable items she'd need to stow in the refrigerator before she hit the road once again. Today was Tuesday, so that meant soccer practice for Darren and gymnastics for Doug, with just enough time in between to hit the drive through at Walgreen's and pick up her husband David's prescription. God, she thought, it never ends. When had her life gotten so completely out of control? Certainly caring for five year old twins, a large home, a part time job, and a husband demanded huge amounts of time. Yet there never seemed to be a moment she could call her own, a time to sit quietly with a book and cup of tea, or walk in the park, or listen to music. Never mind time to pursue her photography. Wistfully, Denise recalled the pleasure of taking a "photo safari," grabbing her camera and heading off in the car, stopping to photograph interesting old houses, or blooming gardens. Would there ever be time to do those things again? she wondered, jamming the packages of cheese and lunch meat into the deli drawer of her refrigerator. Right now, there was barely time for a quick run to the bathroom before she had to be on the road to school. Dashing toward the bathroom door, Denise's heart sank as she heard the front doorbell ring, followed by a determined rapping. Mrs. Cartwright, her elderly next door neighbor, was standing on the porch, an envelope in her hand. Denise sighed. The woman had obviously been watching for Denise to drive in, the timing was just too perfect. Denise knew from past experience that she would stand there, knocking incessantly until Denise answered her summons. Raking her fingers through tousled blond curls, Denise threw open the door. "Hi, Mrs. Cartwright," she said, smiling through gritted teeth. "I'm just on my way to pick up the twins..." "Oh, I won't keep you, dear," the older woman said gently. "The mailman left this letter in my box, and it belongs to you." Denise noticed the quaver in her hand as she held out the envelope, and, taking it, she looked into the watery blue eyes. "Are you feeling alright, Mrs. Cartwright?" she asked, concerned replacing the annoyance she had felt moments before. "Yes, I guess so," she answered. "I was just thinking about when I was a young mother like you, so busy with my boys, running here and there, cooking, cleaning, chasing them down. You know, I raised all five of them right here in this neighborhood." "Five boys!" Denise exclaimed, her mind reeling at the thought of three more like Darren and Doug. "Five!" Mrs. Cartwright affirmed. "I certainly never had a minute to myself in those years." She smiled sadly. "And look at me now, rattling around that big house all alone, with so much time on my hands. Who would have believed it would all come to an end?" Shaking her head, she looked up at Denise and smiled. "Well, I'll be getting out of your way, dear. I know how busy you are." Denise found herself fighting tears for the second time that afternoon. "Mrs. Cartwright," she said, "if you're not too busy, would you mind riding along to the twins school with me? I've got some more errands to do, and I'd love to hear more about how you managed five boys!" With a huge smile, her neighbor readily agreed. "I'd love to come with you!" she said. "I can't think of a better way to end my day!"