This was written for The Red Dress Club, a virtual writer's society. This is a work of fiction. Concrit is always welcomed and appreciated!
Write a short piece – 600 words max – that begins with the words, “This was absolutely the last time” and ends with “She was wrong.”
Word limit: 600 My count: 414
“This is absolutely the last time I'm putting this crap away,” she mutters to herself as she circles the living room, laundry basket perched on her hip, tossing board books and plush toys in as she walks.
Stopping to stretch her cramping body, she lets the basket drop to the coffee table and rubs the small of her back. Surveying the living room, littered with primary colored plastic and various toys with choking hazard pieces, she considers cancelling Christmas and birthdays, just to reduce the clutter.
Too. Many. Toys.
So many ignored emails, to both her parents and his, asking for gifts of time together instead of material goods. Failing that, the suggestions of shoes and movie tickets were also shrugged off. The endless flow of toys, only coming in, never going out. Even broken pieces and packaging claimed by the children as sacred.
“I'm done. I'm cleaning out some of this crap. Now.” Kneeling next to the toy box, she starts pulling toys and sorting them into boxes she labeled with a Sharpie. “Toss, donate, sell, keep…” repeating it like a mantra as she slowly sorts the tangled mass. Dolls with no hair, cars with three wheels, twist ties and burned out flashlights. The piles grow and the burden of the clutter lifts slightly with each bit that lands on its respective pile.
The toy box emptied of its contents, the four piles taking up most of the living room, she stands to survey her work. The “Keep” pile isn't the smallest, but it's not the biggest either. “Perfect.” Going in to the kitchen to get trash bags, she hums happily to herself, content with the progress she's made. “They won't even miss that stuff. They won't even notice.”
“I deserve a treat,” she says aloud to the empty room, and sets the coffee pot to brewing. “Clean up that stuff, have a cup of coffee, get the kiddos up from their quiet time… perfect!”
Stepping through the kitchen door and back into the living room, she finds Charlotte, her oldest, sitting amidst the boxes, her tear-stained face looking sadly at her mom. “Mommy, are you throwing my toys away?” Pointing to the box that was destined for the trash, she sounds it out. “Tuh-ahh-sss-sss. This says ‘toss', Mommy! Why are you throwing our toys away?”
“I'm not, sweetie. I'm just…. organizing.” The weight settled back in on her shoulders.
They won't even miss that stuff. They won't even notice.
She was wrong.