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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

Seeking the Peace that Surpasses All Understanding

by lifetalk

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a piece of a longer writing project. You can view the entire project here: Seeking the Peace that Surpasses All Understanding

The following is a piece of writing submitted by lifetalk on May 15, 2009
"Elana finally decides to get help for Carla's ADD.

Striped Socks and One Step at a Time

Elana dialed the number to the rectory. The line on the other end came alive with Father's voice.

"How are you, Father?"
"I'm grand."

Grand. How simply grand. Elana wanted to feel that way. Someday I'll be able to answer with those exact words, she thought. It couldn't happen soon enough because Elana was on the verge of becoming the biggest squirrel in the nut house.

The kid was driving her crazy. Passive aggressive to the hilt. Even when she entered the school building, she walked very, very slowly. And doing homework? Or helping around the house? Or picking up a towel? What was that all about?

The ultimate conflict centered around Carla's socks. She wore mismatched socks to school every single day. One orange. One blue. One red, one striped. Honor the creativity, thought Elana. Not today. Today she gets help. Today I get help.

Elana sighed as she pictured Carla running an art gallery. Her spunky attitude and her funky attire would lure customers -- and her commissions would reflect their appreciation for her - especially for her socks. Those infuriatingly colorful socks would make them write checks in purple ink. And Carla would laugh all the way to the bank.

Elana remembered the socks this morning. They took on their own life; Carla might have had them on her feet, but the socks were doing the walking and the talking. Elana laughed at the thought and laughed harder when she made up her mind to buy Carla white socks the next time.

It was teenage angst. Elana knew it and Carla knew it. Carla was a walking storm front, and Elana needed a sophisticated Doppler system to detect the squalls that erupted out of nowhere. Early warning system, my ass. Elana needed the Pentagon. Since that wasn't going to happen, she needed the next best thing. A priest, a shrink, and Ritalin.

On the other hand, Carla was great. No drinking, no drugs, no sex, no parties. She was a good kid. And it wasn't that Elana was a control freak, but there were enough signals from the school that indicated something had to be done. The kid was taking up space but her mind was detached. Carla had an out of body experience on a daily basis and none of it included a single thought about homework.

"Can I help you, Elana?" Father's voice jarred Elana back to the moment.

"I hope to God you can." And then it all spilled out. It didn't leak out the way juice spilled out of a kiddie cup, it erupted. Just the way the soda exploded out of a can that has been shaken and then opened.

Elana heard the emotion behind her words and Father heard it, too. He knew that Elana had tried everything - art therapy, homeopathic remedies, diet. It was time for a big gun. You couldn't cure an outbreak of gout with a tofu compress, and Elana knew that all the green tea in China wouldn't calm Carla down. Call in the troops and write the scrip for Ritalin. While the doctor was at it, Elana thought, write a scrip for everyone in the house - including the dog.

What did she need? Elana needed a million dollars, the house needed to be painted, the carpeting replaced, and she had to find a car since hers had been carted off by the repo man. Just get the kid on Ritalin. Then maybe she could learn some strategies to get herself organized. Funny, after years of fighting the idea of using medication to manage the ADD, Elana couldn't wait to get the little blue pills.

"So, here's the name of a doctor who can help you. He's a good Catholic. He's had a great deal of experience dealing with teens who need help with ADD. Take down this number."

Elana scribbled the number on a napkin. Thank God for small favors. She owed Him. Big time.

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