shibarikitten: (Silent watching ponytail)
Waiting until Mike was settled into bed for his afternoon nap, Ellie quietly made her way into the room that served as their business office and began to unpack in earnest. It was long overdue, though there really hadn't been any free time to do it. Keeping Mike on schedule for therapy and medication outweighed arranging and decorating the room, but she couldn't put this off any longer than she already had.

Mike's framed diploma was the first thing she put up on the wall, swapping it with an old, faded landscape print her aunt had bought simply as filler, nothing more. She could remember Aunt Maggie's monthly search for a painting that would accent the room just so, but that piece of art never did catch her eye and demand that she take it home and hang it here. His membership certificate from Phi Beta Kappa was next, taking up residence on the wall by the window. Some of his awards, both from college and the Navy were next, arranged underneath that certificate.

After an hour's worth of brisk work, she was almost finished constructing by what all appearances could be taken to be a shrine to Mike's intelligence and accomplishments. Ellie wanted it to be a daily reminder to him just how accomplished and brilliant he really is, and hoped he'd find it encouraging and supportive.

Her own diploma and certificate were left in the box, sealing it up with heavy packing tape and marking the contents for the attic. I don't want to see them, maybe not ever again. I should've been with Mike, not at school. Since it was almost time for Mike to wake from his nap, she set the box back in a closet, making a note to take it up to the attic the next chance she got, or to ask Mark to help her with it once he came back to work.

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Elise Masterson Anders

November 2008

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