This story is by Betsy Yohannan and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Amanda, Amanda, where are you?” Gary had been out drinking and had just arrived home. He was at the front door, fumbling with his keys, as he somehow pushed the door open. When he got to the entrance of the house, he tried to take off his shoes. He stumbled over the shoes, and tripped over the keys. At this point, he started to holler and then attempted to throw every object that he came across. He threw a few of the children’s toys around while in this drunken stupor. Amazingly enough, the children stayed asleep the whole time.
He then walked upstairs to the top level of the house and tripped over the stairs a couple of times. He then called out her name again. “Amanda Amanda, where are you?” Finally, as he got to the top, he opened the door of the bedroom to where Amanda was sound asleep. He screamed at her and dragged her off the bed and onto the floor. She somehow tried to escape the room, but he caught hold of her arm and dragged her out of the room and further down the hallway. She tried her hardest to wriggle away, but it was of no use. As drunk as he was, he was still much stronger and more able, than she was. He then pushed her down the stairs, as she shrieked and screamed- where she rolled all the way down to the lower floor.
“Mommy, Mommy wake up…I’m hungry.” Her four-year-old son, Aaron said. “Wake up, Mommy, “ as he jumped up and down on her bed. That’s when she finally woke up in dismay. She was drenched in sweat. Her heart beated profusely. Oh, thank God! It was just a dream. She hugged her child tightly as he headed out of the room. She was so relieved that it had only been a dream. Thank God, at least that part of life was under control. It saddened her though, as she thought of all the other people in similar situations. She read about the increased number of abuse cases happening during the pandemic. She said a prayer for all of those in similar situations before she got up from her bed.
The sun’s rays were glowing through the curtains when she opened them up. It was a beautiful day outside. There were hardly any people in sight. The streets looked fairly empty. There was a pleasant sound of birds singing and just a few cars passing by. However, the “new normal” of staying indoors was slowly starting to take its toll on her. The new “global pandemic” was spreading quickly and causing trouble for everyone. She had to stay indoors at all times, protecting herself and the children, even more than she had before.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock at the door. A rush of fear came about her. Who could that be at the door? Is it him? I hope that’s not Gary. He better not be bothering me again, she muttered to herself. Gary and Amanda were no longer together. Gary, Amanda’s ex-husband and father of their children, had a horrible alcohol addiction. He could go through numerous bottles of wine and whiskey in a day’s time and then turn maniacal and quite abusive. Amanda had full custody of the children, due to this. It seemed like a never-ending battle between them. He was supposed to be serving time, so did he already get out? He was in prison and couldn’t harm her or the children ever again. Yet, she was still afraid.
The knock continued louder this time, as she went to open the door, fretting that it could indeed be Gary. Her heart raced fast. Pitter-patter, pitter-patter. She sweated profusely, wiping her hands across her forehead as the sweat dropped on her chin. Her nerves got the better of her and she started to shake.
She ran to open the door, opening it slowly and with caution. Oh, thank heavens! She breathed a sigh of relief. It was just another Amazon delivery. Silly me. She picked up the package and lay it aside. What’s that? There’s something sticking out on the side of the rug. Its an envelope. It must have been underneath the Amazon package and fell on the ground. As she picked up the envelope she noticed the recipient address as her own. It looked as if there were no return address on it. She picked everything up and brought it inside.
I better make sure I wear gloves and remove the outer boxes, first. I need to disinfect everything before I open anything up. The items in the box package may be something Billy needs and if that’s the case, I must handle it carefully. I need to wash my hands thoroughly before I take everything out. The other envelope though, what could that be inside? Is it a letter? If so, from whom? She left it on the kitchen counter and ran towards the bathroom.
Billy was Amanda’s fifteen-year-old son. He had a birth defect from a young age, resulting from a lack of oxygen during his premature birth. His body, especially his lungs, was very susceptible to respiratory illnesses causing him to be immunocompromised. One obstacle he had was to overcome the use of his feet in order to walk correctly. He had to use specially designed socks for his feet to help aid with his walking.
When Amanda opened up the package, it was exactly what she thought it would be inside. She had been patiently waiting for it to arrive. She took it out of the box, disinfected everything, removed the gloves on her hands, and washed her hands thoroughly. Then she picked up the socks and ran into Billy’s room with them.
The sound of little Aaron, jumping up and down the bed and making funny noises, made her giggle. Billy was rocking his hospital bed mumbling vocalizations that slightly resembled words.
The phone rang in the other room. It was Amanda’s Mom calling to FaceTime. Her parents lived about an hour away. She was their only child. Her parents adored her. They were a very close-knit family, Her father, a pastor, was on his mission trip to Burma, at the time. Over the course of her life, he had been away a lot, due to the demands of the ministry. Although this was extremely hard on both her and her mother, having each other around always seemed to fill the gap of the absence of her father. So since her Mom was alone at home, too, it seemed to be the perfect time for both of them to catch up.
Her Mom called every morning since the lockdown began. The assurance of having someone watch the kids virtually, even if just for a little while, made all the difference in the world. Amanda answered the phone. After her Mom spoke to her and they got caught up on everything,- she quickly made breakfast and raced into the shower. Her Mom happily engaged the children on FaceTime. Amanda had almost forgotten the large envelope and went to pick it up from the counter, where she had left it before. She opened it up. Inside, there was another envelope. Oh, how wonderful! It was from her father. He had written a letter to her from Burma and attached a photo of him, her mother, and herself. This made her so happy, it brought a smile to her face. Perhaps, he too, will join us on FaceTime, later. She was finally able to take a quick break and relax.
Times surely have changed since I was a kid. She had always kept up with the latest technology and been enthralled at all the rampant changes. It made such a positive impact on both hers and her loved ones’ lives.
She was so grateful for the ability to use FaceTime and spend time with her mother, that way. Although she did feel isolated due to social distancing rules, she knew how blessed she was at the same time. The ability to stay in touch from a distance, using the latest technology by communicating through video calls, was ideal. It’s as if my mother is in the same room with me. We don’t have to worry about spreading germs to each other. You can’t ask for a better blessing than that.