18: Barely Listening

18: Barely Listening

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

Barely Listening

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

~Winston Churchill

We were selling our old house and moving to the beach. The first showing of the house was uneventful. I waited at my neighbor’s house until the tour was over. The potential buyers were underwhelmed.

The next showing went a bit differently. After the tour, I watched the real estate agent and her clients drive away and returned home from my neighbor’s to change clothes.

I was upstairs, undressed, when my front door opened and the agent and her clients re-entered, talking loud enough for me to hear. As they started up the steps to the bedrooms, in sheer terror I jumped into my husband’s small closet and hid beneath the closely packed suits, shirts, and shoes.

The buyers were measuring the upstairs bathroom. Then they proceeded to our master bedroom where I cowered with fear in the closet. I held my breath, determined not to cough or sneeze and scare them to death or worse.

They sat down on the side of the bed only three feet from me and began to discuss what price they would offer us. A couple of eternities went by.

With my long history of claustrophobia, I knew this wouldn’t end well. I started hyperventilating, wondering what piece of clothing I could substitute for the usual brown paper bag to breathe in.

I contemplated sliding to the closet floor to breathe under the door but the floor was covered with John’s shoes and rolls of Christmas wrapping paper that I still hadn’t put back in the attic. “Organization” was not my strong suit.

Still, the agent and her clients talked. And talked. And talked. They wondered how quickly we could vacate the house if they purchased it. I could have told them: “Just as soon as the coroner and hearse arrive to pick me up.”

I knew I had to get out of that closet soon. I thought about jumping out, throwing my arms in the air and yelling, “Tada!”

I thought of stumbling out and pretending I had amnesia and didn’t know who or where I was.

As my whole life passed before me, the front door suddenly opened and I heard my husband yell, “Hello, anybody here? I’m John.”

The three quickly got to their feet and hurried downstairs to say hello to John and continue their discussion in the car.

There is a God.

~Mariane Dailey Holbrook

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