Tell a story (based on truth or fiction) where someone is playing with fire–literally or metaphorically–and probably shouldn’t be.
She turned on the box.
The mindless box.
A first-thing fight with her husband was followed by a day of whining complaints and endless dissatisfaction thrown at her from every angle enhanced by miserable children who wouldn't nap and only clung, even while throwing themselves back a minute later in frustration that even Mama wasn't the comfort they sought.
Then there was her own inner monologue that chanted in a refrain, "Failure, fat, undisciplined, can't do anything right, failure, failure, failure, failure. . . "
When this let up, it was replaced by the litany of issues with her husband. "He can't ever pick up his own stuff. All he wants is sex. He doesn't make me feel wanted. He's so consumed with his stupid basketball. Just one compliment, that's all I want, is that too much to ask? It'd be nice if he'd help with the bedtime routine. It's not like I haven't worked all day either! He's so nit-picky. Why did I marry him?"
"Just a few minutes", were the thoughts, as legs went up with a sigh of relief and the channels flickered by. "Morning calls early and I really need to get to bed."
And the flames ignited with a small spark.
Three hours later, now midnight and a mind full of lies of true beauty and basis of worth accompanied by the allure of romance and illicit love, she crawled into bed. Her husband rolled over with a mumble of, "I'm sorry I was such a jerk this morning" but she turned over in silent response while the litany took up it's pace again. "Of course he's sorry. He wants sex. Why does he apologize only when he wants sex? If he was truly sorry he could have brought home flowers, or helped with the kids, or cleaned up from supper. But no. He won't do that! He never does that."
With that, her mind tail spun into the reality show of real romance, where a man wined and dined ten other women and kissed them and told them how beautiful they were and music played and all the women fell for the man who was perfect and dreamed of life happily ever after with him.
Never mind they were one of ten. He was just. so. perfect. of a catch.
Her fantasy lulled her to sleep.
And the flames had life breathed into them as they gathered heat.
The "just a few minutes" each night grew into hours and mornings were always late and rushed as a result. The refrain of her "you're a failure" monologue hovered over her every moment, doing it's dance with the refrain of wrongs her husband had committed against her.
When she thought she was at the brink of sanity from the depression and despair the thoughts gave her, she turned towards the mindless box and sat in front of it to lose her reality to televised romances and shallow beauty. When the mindless box wasn't spewing it's lies to her heart, the books on her bedside stand took over. What would have once shocked and disgusted now engrossed and fascinated.
With each delve into a deeper layer of what once, would have never been given even the slightest foothold in her life, the dissatisfaction with her life as wife and mama grew.
Her children were ungrateful, clinging inconveniences, her husband a gross, slovenly man who demanded but never gave. Sure, he'd been trying harder at interacting with the kids and doing dishes and had even brought home flowers but she was sure it was only because he wanted what he was no longer getting in the bedroom. It couldn't be true romance. He didn't have a romantic bone in his body.
Now, the guy in the book she was reading. . . he defined romance. And that movie last night. . . oh, that was to die for when it comes to happy endings.
And the flames burned hotter.
Yesterday became today and today became tomorrow until they all blended together, leading to the night she was out with some girlfriends.
He sent a drink to her table.
The bartender told her that with a wink, as he shoved a napkin with a name, number, and a "And you can always find me on Facebook too!" at her with the drink.
A shred of integrity gave her pause and she threw the fragile paper of temptation out, on her way out the door that night. But the name stuck. Like a burr in her mind she saw his face smiling through the crowd and the words, "And you can always find me on Facebook too!" underneath the name that had been scrawled indelibly on her mind.
"Just a thanks. I never thanked him. It's polite to thank people", was the thought as she looked him up late one night, laptop in hand as the mindless box played out her dreams in front of her and reminded her of all she didn't have.
And the flames began to scorch her soul.
A Facebook message turned into one, then three and somehow, she wasn't quite sure how, they were meeting up for coffee.
He became her refuge and her shoulder. "Like the big brother I always wanted" was the lie she whispered to herself and believed in--until the night a hug turned into a kiss and a kiss fed the poison of lies within her heart.
Shame magnified the failure refrain and the deception took root that she was too far gone now and her life was so horrible anyways why try to fight it, after all, she deserved some true happiness and romance didn't she? The deception enticed at first but became her truth eventually until she was convinced this was right and happily ever after was finally hers.
And the flames consumed everything she had and everything she was.