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Take Control of You

Story ID:4875
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Caldwell Idaho USA
Year:2009
Person:Me
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Take Control of You

Mum tucked me in. “Mum, is it really going to snow?”

She pulled the blankets up to my chin and kissed my cheek. “That’s what the
weatherman said.”

“Will they cancel school?”

“It depends. If we get twelve inches like he said, they probably will.”

“Great! I don’t want to go to school. I want to play in the snow.”

“Now, Michael! Don’t go getting your hopes up. You could be disappointed.”

“But the weatherman said …”

“Michael, storms are unpredictable.” She patted my hand. “Go to sleep and we’ll
see what the morning brings.” She closed the door. The room grew dark. Outside, the
wind howled. Sleet and ice clattered against the window. I heard mum walk to the
kitchen. It was safe. I rolled out of bed, crept to the window, and pulled the blinds back. Snow swirled beneath the streetlight and spun in circles over the pavement like the sands
in a desert. My heart rate increased – no school tomorrow!

“Michael, are you in bed?” Mum called out.

“Yes, Mum!” I ran back to my bed and pulled the covers up to my chin. How did
she know?

“You better be!”

“I am, Mum! You can come and see.”

“Go to sleep!”

“Yes, Mum!”

I curled beneath the blankets. The wind howled. I was warm and safe in my
cocoon. Mum and Dad chatted and watched a TV. I listened to the wind and wished for
a day off to play in the snow.

*********************

“Michael!” Mum shook my shoulder. “Michael, it’s time to get up – time for
school.”

“School?” I rolled over and stared up at her. “Mum?”

“I’m sorry, Michael. The snow missed us. It turned to rain. The schools are open.”

“No snow?”

“Michael, you’ll be late.”

“But the snow …”

“There’s no snow, Michael. Get up and brush your teeth.”

I groaned and rolled out of bed. At the sink, I held my toothbrush and looked
at myself in the mirror. My reflection mimicked the sickness and disappointment I felt.

The school loomed – a prison for kids without a snow day. On each side of the
street, the remaining snow melted and created tiny rivers of muddy water. I watched them
come together into bigger streams. Brown dirt eddied where the water paused in hollows
before it flowed into the ocean. Images of ships floundering in the currents flashed
through my mind. The school bell rang and jolted me to reality. My dream of a day off
melted like the snow in the heavy rain.

The school day lasted forever. The teacher’s words went unheard. I sat at my desk
and wallowed in self-pity. I kept thinking. “How could this happen? The weatherman
said it would snow. Everything is ruined.”

“Psst!”

I turned to my right. My friend Justin stared at me. I glanced at my teacher. Her
back was to us. “What?” I whispered.

“Want to play after school?”

I shook my head. “There’s no snow.”

“So? The brook behind the school is full of water, and it’s running fast. We could
play with our boats. We’ll fill them with our plastic men and see if they can make it
through the rough waters. We can drop rocks at them and pretend we’re pirates firing
cannonballs at them.”

“Who’s talking back there?” Justin and I jumped and looked forward. “Are you
boys talking?” Our teacher glared at us.

“No, Mrs. Henneberry!” we said in unison.

She turned back to the blackboard. “See you after school.” I whispered to Justin.

The bell rang. Justin and I rushed out the door and had the time of our lives.
Pirates raided boats in the rough waters of the stream. Our ships sank in the murky water.
Two boys laughed and played until their mother’s called them for supper.

The sorrow I felt that morning was gone. Snuggled under my blankets that night, I
smiled and thought, “What a great day!”

The lost snow day is many years behind me, but its lesson is fresh. The day
began with disappointment. A wish, a dream was gone.

Over the years, I’ve looked at my reflection in the mirror in the morning and felt
that same hurt. There were lottery tickets that didn’t win the money I desperately needed.
“Why didn’t I win?” I’d whine. I’d wished and hoped for it. Why didn’t it happen? There
were times when I didn’t want to get out of bed, because there was nothing to get up for.
The job I’d had ended the day before. Why did it have to happen to me? My first wife
passed away. I looked in the mirror the next day and felt that same “no snow day”
emptiness. “Why did this have to happen? All the dreams we had for the future are gone.”

In each case, the circumstances were out of my hands. It did no good to wallow
in self-pity. I had to get out of bed, face the day, and make the best of my situation. If I
hadn’t, I would never have found a new job. If I hadn’t forced my way through the grief
of losing my wife, I would never have found new love. If school would have been
canceled, I would have missed on a great time with my friend.

When your day doesn’t start the way you hoped it would, you need to take control
of the one thing I have control over – you.