The List

She walked down the driveway towards her mailbox. The sun was peaking from behind the clouds. There was a slight breeze that moved the leaves on the oak tree.  A couple of blocks over someone was mowing their lawn. A few of the neighborhood kids were laughing and talking as they threw a football to each other. It was the end of a normal day but the beginning something unexpected. 

As she contemplated her day her lips curved into a slight lopsided grin. She always had the same smile when she accomplished her tasks for the day. She felt good about herself. She felt accomplished. Today she managed to cross off every single item on her list. She admitted to herself that she was slightly neurotic about her daily list. She planned her days carefully starting the night before. She read over and over again, “Successful people are organized. Successful people make lists.” Her list was on her phone. She found an app that made it easy to see the lists from previous days. From those lists, meetings on her calendar and todos provided by her manages, she composed her nightly list. Sometimes it took over an hour to determine the seven items then to rank them in order of importance. Neurotic but efficient. According to the books she read she was successful. Her system worked. 

She arrived to the mailbox at the same time as her neighbor. She broke away from her mental celebration to say hello. As she pulled out the mail and began to flip through she noticed a purple envelope. It was addressed to her but was void of a return address. She mentally went through her calendar. Was somebody getting married? Was this an invitation to a party? She tried, in vain, to to recall what event was coming up that would explain why someone would send her something in a lovely purple envelope. Her name and address were hand written in calligraphy. Something formal. She got excited at the thought of buying a new dress. 

As soon as she walked in the house she performed her regular routine of hanging up her keys placing her handbag on a hook and sliding off her pumps exchanging them for comfortable socks. As she sunk into her sofa cushions she held the purple envelope on her hands. She opened the envelope still thinking about the possibility of a new ensemble. What she read confused her instead of providing excitement. 

Dear Sofia;

Beginning at 9 pm on this day, you will have 48 hours to compose a list of twelve things you want to accomplish. As each item is completed you are expected to check that items off of your list. Enclosed you will find a check for $100,000. When those 48 hours expire, your life will end. 

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The Unseen

She didn’t believe in things that go bump in the night. But sometimes, when she was home alone, she heard a noise upstairs. It sounded like somebody running from one room to another. That sound gave her chills.  She could hear the impression of the feet as they touched the floor above her. The first time it happened she blew it off. But it kept happening. She finally grew curious and brave enough to walk upstairs. Although she was unarmed and ill prepared, she knew it was time to confront her growing fear. 

Fears (Day 17)

Spiders, snakes, being old(er) and alone and living a life without purpose. Those are my top four fears. I have other things that make me fearful but I don’t want to go on and on about things like Stephen King’s books and movies. Have you ever read Tommy Knockers? Shudder, that was my last scary book. Then there is that red rum scene in the Shining that make me want to hide in my closet. 

Last year my ex took me back to court to change custody. Some days I was very afraid. The financial impact and the possibility of him winning the case caused me anxiety for many months. 

I refuse to live the rest of my life in fear. I had plenty of fears growing up. I feared too many things and people. I was concerned about what people would say to me, if the mean girls were going to threaten to beat me up, were they going to make fun of my clothes today? Those are big deals to middle school girls. 

When thoughts come to my mind or I’m having too many negative conversations with myself I repeat two of my favorite quotes. “Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt and “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.