Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Friend (11/02/17)
- TITLE: A Three-Ply Cord
By Amy Gaudette
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The rugged hemp rope flies through my fingertips. Subtle earth-tone shades of clay, potter's blue, and goldenrod weave themselves effortlessly, one after the other, each knowing its place. A three-ply braid forms. I continue on in this pattern until there is a suitable length for a rug to cushion the feet in someone's home.
My heart swells with thankfulness that I'm able to work from home. With Zach out of work, this business is a godsend.
Zach has been so quiet lately. I can't reach him. My mind meanders back to when he first lost his job. He was so confident, not a doubt in his mind, that someone, somewhere, would need his skill as a trader. But days turned into weeks, and now months.
The closing of a car door pulls me back. He's never home this time of day. He's always out looking. I can see through the living room window it isn't good. His head is lowered, his once tall, squared shoulders droop. My heart breaks and bleeds. God, please help him.
That night, I lie in bed, the sheets cold to the touch. He turns away from me after an emotionless kiss. I see his back outlined in the moonlight. Loneliness is once again my companion. There's nothing I can say – my words simply fall to the floor.
Tonight, afraid, but compelled by the need for intimacy, I reach my hands out and caress his shoulders. Startled, I find he is silently sobbing. I embrace him, and now the silence breaks and a devastated voice that is not my husband's pierces the night.
“Meg . . . oh, Meg, I don't know what I've done. Don't touch me.”
I hold him all the more tightly. “Talk to me, Zach.”
Haltingly, he begins.
“I . . . shouldn't have gone to Danny's party. I told you it was a chance for me to kiss up to some of those brokers and show them what I can do. I had a few drinks . . . I swear, I had no more than two. I think someone slipped something into my beer. I don't remember anything else, till around three in the morning. Chad brought me home. All week, I've been getting texts from some woman who keeps talking about the wonderful time . . . she had with me.”
Zach's voice breaks again. “Meg, forgive me. I don't even know who she is, and worse, I don't even know what happened.” His cries are like that of a wounded, cornered animal.
I am speechless. For a moment, I pull back, getting a grip on what he's said. I utter a prayer of desperation. And there in the night, a flash of color before my eyes. Subtle earth-tone colors of clay, potter's blue, and goldenrod weaving themselves, and a three-ply braid forms. Beautiful. Rugged. Resilient. I hear the words a three-ply cord is not easily broken.
I weep, but not for me. I weep for him. “I love you, Zach. You have been my soul companion for seven years. You have loved me when I was unlovable, you've encouraged me to follow my dreams. I'm not going anywhere.”
Zach's tears slow. He turns to me and gently caresses my face. We wrap our arms around each other. I experience a oneness with Zach I have never felt before. We fall asleep, together. Zach, I, and the mercy of God. A three-ply cord, not easily broken.
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