Meldrum Writers Club

Contempt

(keywords: druid, frustration, Mount Everest, lampshade, mother)

My fists clenched tight and I forgot to breathe from frustration. If I had been a cartoon character, I’m sure my face would have been colored beet red and there was steam drawn coming from my ears. The woman drove me to frustration. Who did she think she was? From the moment I had begun to prepare getting dressed for this special occasion, she had laughed, the sound now coming from her throat a shrill exclamation of her contempt.

When I had mentioned to her the first item of my special outfit that I needed her to fetch me, she had asked if I wanted to dress up like a druid. She had asked me with a broad grin on her face. I had to remind her of the full dress code of an Israelite high priest. It was written clearly in the Torah. I had read the explicit description myself on the internet, just to make sure. Fortunately, she did obey my wishes, as she should, gathered, and helped me into my garments. It was difficult to do on my own at my age.

First, she had helped me in my white undergarment. At this stage, she had still been slightly serious, doing her best to make it fit as it was a bit big, but she made it work. I admired her capable hands, often amending clothes to make them fit me better. She had looked at my appearance and I had resembled one of the monks on Mount Everest seeking the Holy Spirit. It did not amuse me. Then, she had helped me pull my blue tunic over my head. I loved the color. It contrasted so beautifully with the crisp white of the undergarment. I didn’t like its modern, synthetic feel, but that couldn’t be helped. She had begun chuckling when I moved around, dancing to the sound the garment made. I loved the bells attached to the hem, making a soft ringing sound every time I moved. They were attached to alert the divine presence when entering the temple, but I couldn’t help it pleased me. I had wondered whether the woman’s chuckle was one of happiness or of contempt at the time. She hadn’t like me being a High Priest, that was clear from the smirk on her face while she had gathered my outfit, but she had had this adoring gleam in her eyes while she chuckled. It had made me doubt her true feelings.

Next, she had put the breastplate on me, attaching it with a chain around my neck. The various gems on the breastplate were there to remind God of Israel. It was the most precious part of the outfit as I had put it together myself with great diligence. My fingers had caressed the stones, their beautiful colors standing out from the single, blue background. The woman had had trouble keeping a straight face while she hooked up the chains as I explained the presence of the stones to her. Her contempt for my faith had been outrageous, and I’d had to tell her off for her unbecoming behavior several times. Unfortunately, my words had been fuel to her fire of contempt and she had begun laughing louder and louder. It had been difficult for her to help me put on my checkered apron. Her continuous contempt plucking the strings of my patience more and more forceful until I was afraid they were going to break.

I had decided to don my headgear myself. As I had no longer been able to stand being in the company of this unbeliever, I had gone to the bathroom, where I had sought the help of the mirror instead. I had tried and tried but couldn’t make my cloth headgear sit properly. To my great shame, I had to make do with what I was able to. When I had arrived back in the living room, the woman burst out laughing, falling onto the couch, her legs no longer able to hold her shaking body upright.

I stood there, watching this shameless display of disdain. A fury so fierce rose in me, making my vision go red, and I was no longer able to contain my temper. I had to do something to make this woman understand I was serious about my commitment. Looking around to room to find an alternative to leash my anger upon, my eyes fell on the lampshade. The surge of power in me was no longer controllable. I swiped my arm. The light piece flew through the air, crashing to the floor, the lightbulb smashing into a thousand pieces. The woman finally stopped laughing.

She began cleaning up the mess that her attitude had caused. I sat on the couch with my arms crossed, watching the woman work. She now understood it was I who was in contempt. When she was done, she came to me and apologized for her behavior. In a gesture of good will, she offered to amend my headgear. I let her.

My outfit finally ready, I hurried her to get me to my destination. When she had parked the car, I got out as fast as I could and gave her a quick peck on the cheek before hurrying off, eager to be at the special gathering.

With adoring eyes, his mother watched him enter the primary school building dressed in a white sheet, a blue rain poncho, a painted egg carton on his chest, and a towel wrapped around his head, ready for the dress-up day. As she drove back home, she wondered if there was one kid in there who could guess correctly what her son was supposed to be.

 

Copyrighted by (c) by Jacky Dahlhaus

Header photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

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