THROUGH THE DOOR: Daily Post – Weekly Writing Challenge

This post is in response to the Daily Post: Weekly Writing Challenge – Through the Door.  Click here to read more about it, and if you are interested, submit your creative writing to share with everyone!  🙂 

Here is my first public attempt contribution to a Weekly Writing Challenge.  I hope you enjoy it.


Brrrrrrrr-ring!!!!  FINALLY!  I thought the 3:00 bell would never ring.  This has been one of the longest days in my twenty-some years of teaching Middle School English.  Each minute of my afternoon classes seemed like an eternity, and the questions from students were ENDLESS!  By the end of 5th period, the twinges of pain in my head signaled a possible migraine headache.  Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be that carefree student again instead of the stressed-out teacher concerned about the upcoming state mandated MAP testing!  I could hardly wait to get home, grab a snack, and put my aching feet up for a few minutes before starting to grade all those 7th grade essays.  If I got really lucky, I could sweet talk my husband in to cooking his specialty for supper tonight — ham and eggs.  That way I could start grading right away.

After a rather lengthy after-school teachers’ meeting, I crammed the one hundred or so essays into my tote bag along with grading pens and my grade book.  It was unusually warm for the second week of March.  The warm sunlight danced and glared off chrome bumpers and glass windshields in the teachers’ parking lot blinding me momentarily with excruciating pain.  My head was throbbing!  As I got into my car, I rested my head on the steering wheel and massaged the back of my neck and temples.  My mind wandered to the beautiful drive through the Missouri countryside to one of my favorite beaches at the Lake of the Ozarks.  “Hang in there, Stephanie.” I said out loud to myself. “Just a few more weeks until summer vacation!”

Rush hour traffic was about as bad as my day had been.  The cars seemed to move slower than the minutes did in my afternoon classes.  What was normally a 20 minute drive home turned into 45 grueling minutes of testing what little patience I had left.  To make matters worse, the sky turned from a cloudless, crystal cobalt blue to a gruesome, gray color filled with clouds as ominous as my mood.  Flashes of lightning and the deep rumblings of a spring storm on the horizon suddenly drowned out my thoughts of peaceful, lazy summer days. Only five more miles until I arrived home.

I finally turned down the street I had lived on all my life.  My husband and I lived in the same house in which I grew up.  My parents wanted a smaller home after they became “empty-nesters,” so when the youngest of my two siblings finally moved out, they sold us their house at a bargain basement price.  We couldn’t pass up such a great deal!  As I approached my driveway, I noticed a car parked in my usual spot.  I didn’t think too much about it.  Pulling in behind it, I noticed it was a car exactly like the one my dad drove many years ago when I was in high school.  It had the same bumper stickers on the rear bumper and the same funny little faded St. Louis Cardinals stuffed cardinal in the back window.  “That’s odd,” I thought to myself.  “Dad hasn’t driven a car like that particular model for years now.”

I fumbled around trying to gather all my things quickly because it was beginning to rain.  I hurried to the front door with my house key in my hand when I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks.  I was filled with an odd sense of anticipation mixed with apprehension and anxiety.  As I reached the door and inserted my key in the lock, a strange light flashed across the sky and I felt an electrical shock curse through my body while the vibrations from an extraordinarily loud, booming noise bombarded my eardrums.  The hairs on the back of my neck and all over my body seemed to stand straight up as I felt a tingling sensation pulse through every vein and capillary.  I was stunned for a moment or two, and as I surveyed my surroundings rubbing my eyes and temples, I concluded that a bolt of lightning must have struck very close to the house.  I finished turning my key in the lock and let myself through the front door.  That’s when I got the shock of my life!

Stepping across the threshold of my front door, I saw two teenagers sprawled across the living room floor watching an old console television set with books and homework papers scattered everywhere.  I smelled the familiar smell of ham and beans simmering on the stove and corn bread baking in the oven.  Before I could say anything, my younger, 15 year-old, brother glanced over his shoulder for a second and sarcastically spewed in a sing-song-y tone, “Mom, Stephanie is home.”  Turning back to me, he said with a devilish smirk on his face, “Boy! Are you in trouble for being so late!”

“Young lady, where have you been?  Supper is ready, your dad is home from work, and I’ve been worried sick wondering where you could be and what you were doing.  You know you are supposed to call if you are not coming straight home right after school gets out,” my mother said as she entered the living room from the kitchen drying her hands on a dish towel.

I was so stunned I couldn’t say a word.   I looked around the room as I stammered trying figure out how to respond to my mother.  The house looked exactly the same as when I was growing up:  same Danish modern brown furniture with yellow, green and burnt orange accents; fern green shag carpeting; heavy drapes; burnt orange Lazy Boy recliner; console television; bookcases; and, the old high-fi stereo.  I stood there dumbfounded and my 13 year-old sister shrieked, “Say something, Stephanie, before you get grounded for life!”

After the initial shock wore off, I looked down.  In my arms I saw the familiar denim blue three-ring notebook I always used during my high school days, with my World History, Algebra II, and English Literature books on top.  I had on my favorite high school outfit: a white and black large plaid designed mini-skirt and matching blazer with a lime green blouse and my clunky-heeled, laced-up black “granny” shoes.  As I slowly looked up to respond to my mom, I saw my reflection in the decorative wall mirror.  Staring back at me from the other side of the mirror was the 17 year old Stephanie that only lived in the dark recesses of my mind and memory.  I giggled because the first thought I had in that instant was that now I really DID “weigh the same as I did when I was in high school!”  Then the room began spinning and everything went black.

When I awoke, I was in my old bedroom laying on my twin bed.  Mom was placing a cool wash cloth on my forehead and daddy was sitting on the bed beside me.  He gently bent down and kissed me on the cheek.  “Well, little lady, you gave us quite a scare when you fainted.  How do you feel now?”

“I’m not sure.  My head hurts and I can’t remember much about today.  What is today’s date?”  I responded.

“You must have hit your head when you fainted.  It’s Monday, March 14th,” mother answered.

Before I even thought about it, I adamantly blurted out, “But what year is it?”

Mom and dad both looked at each other with a strange, worried look on their faces.  Dad hesitated then answered, “It’s 1971, honey.  Are you sure you feel OK?”

“Sure, dad.  I think I just need go to sleep now and try to get rid of this pounding headache.”

Dad smiled, kissed my cheek again, and gently brushed the hair out of my eyes as he whispered in my ear, “OK, honey.  You sleep now.  We’ll check on you later.”

With my mind in a whirl, I closed my eyes and tried to think through what just happened.  Had I really time-warped back to my senior year of high school?  Where is my husband and two small sons?  How did this happen?  As the endless list of questions popped in and out of my mind, my eyelids grew heavy and I finally fell fast asleep.

The next morning I woke earlier than everyone else.  I quietly tip-toed through the house.  Every single thing was exactly like it was when I was growing up.  Since I was the first one up, I made some coffee like I always do every morning and decided to take a look at my school books and what the assignments were for yesterday.  I was able to quickly complete the homework — much faster than I ever remembered doing in the past.  Mom was the next person to enter the kitchen where I sat drinking my coffee.

“When did you start drinking coffee, Steph?” mom asked me incredulously as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

“Oh, I don’t know.  I guess it was the last time I spent the night with Bree,” I lied.  I couldn’t remember exactly when I started drinking coffee.  As mixed up as everything was right now, I did know one thing for sure. I didn’t start drinking coffee until after I met my husband.

“Well, it’s getting late and you better get ready for school.  You don’t want to get another tardy because you’ll get after school detention.”

With that said, I got up from the table, put my coffee cup in the dishwasher, and got ready for school — but today I was getting ready as a high school STUDENT again, not a teacher!  The day went just like any day I remembered having when I was in high school.  How strange everything seemed, but it was also very familiar.  What choice did I have but to just live life each day?  Even if it was a sort of re-run?

The days seemed to drag on so slowly as they can only do when one is a teenager. However, before I knew it, days turned to weeks and weeks into months.  It was now the first week of June and the school year would be over soon.  My friends and I would be graduating from high school in a few short days…again.  It seemed strange how I so easily adapted back into my life as a high school student.  And it was actually quite fun!

Sitting in 7th period English Literature class, I once again successfully tuned-out boring old Mr. Waugh and the film he was showing the class about some long dead English author.  Mr. Waugh was just killing class time until he finished grading our final essays for the semester.  He had to average our grades and  turn them in to the office in time for the graduation ceremony this Friday night.

The room was dark and my thoughts were a million miles away.  I was contemplating all the life decisions I was going to have the opportunity to make for the second time.  How many people got a second chance at life?  Would I follow the same path?  Would I still meet the husband I loved so dearly and have the two precious sons I missed so terribly?  Would I become a successful English teacher and freelance writer?  Or would I choose another path?  Perhaps a career in computer programing?  Or finance?  Or become an actress?  I truly loved acting in all of Mr. Keller’s high school plays, and he was eager to introduce me to several of hi close friends who are Hollywood producers.  What should I do?  What would I decide to do this second time around?  I still had a little time before making that decision.

Suddenly I felt strange twinges of pain in my head.  I began rubbing my forehead and temples and massaging the back of my neck.  My eyesight had a funny little blurred spot in the bottom right corner of my peripheral vision that I had never had before.  The pain increased with such intensity and speed that all I could do was put my head down on my desk in the hopes that it would subside soon.  All I wanted was a cool, dark, quiet place and to go to sleep.  Was this a migraine headache like the ones my mom frequently gets?

KA-BOOOOOOOM!  The loud noise startled me and in one jerking motion I sat up straight.  After my initial reaction, confusion settled in as I tried to make sense of my surroundings.  Where was Mr. Waugh’s English classroom? Gradually I started recognizing little things: my tote bag stuffed with 7th grade students’ essays in the passenger seat, my purse, my key chain and keys in the ignition, and the teacher’s parking lot.  What happened?  Was it all a dream?  But it seemed so real……..

The familiar sound of “The Lone Ranger” ringtone coming from my cell phone jolted my mind back to this present reality.  The caller ID said Handsome Husband.  Still somewhat in a fog, I tentatively answered, “Hello?”

“Stephanie, is that you?  Are you alright?  I was beginning to worry about you?” inquired the familiar, sweet but frantic voice of my husband.

“Yes, honey, I’m fine.  It’s just been a very long, exhausting day.  I’m leaving school right now.  See you in a little bit.”  I disconnected the call and started my car.

The drive home seemed to go by quickly.  However, the closer I got to home, the darker the sky became.  Ominous, gray clouds filled the once pristine blue sky.  Flashes of lightning and deep, thunderous rumblings off in the distance signaled the beginning of a spring storm.  I fumbled around trying to gather all my things quickly because it was beginning to rain.  I hurried to the front door with my house key in my hand when I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks filled with an odd sense of anticipation mixed with apprehension and anxiety………


Daily Post: Weekly Writing Challenge – Through the Door.  Click here to read more about it and to submit your own story.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Rider
    May 09, 2013 @ 19:11:47

    Good post! I am married to a teacher- I can relate… 🙂


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