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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Hear (07/08/10)

TITLE: Anesthesia
By Marita Thelander
~9th Place


I flopped my rebellious mess-of-a-self into the nasty orange plastic chair in the waiting area, stuffed my ear-buds in deep, and cranked up scream-o music. I donít even really like scream-o trash, but it helps numb the brain like an anesthesia shot. I think Iíll write a scream-o song and call it Anesthesia.

My last drill-sergeant/OCD foster-dad said loud music in my ears 24/7 would mess up my hearing. As if I care. Whatever. I wouldnít have to hear him barking orders laced with insults.

When I heard OCD man yelling at his wife I knew the gig was up. ďItís either her or me. One of us is not spending another night in this house.Ē He hollered so loud it reverberated in my chest.

I remember thinking; flip a coin, lady. Iím sure weíre both equally bad for your blood pressure.

I packed when she headed for the phone, caseworkerís card in hand. I sure didnít need to be blamed for ruining this marriage, too.

The automatic door slid open announcing the arrival of the new parental figures for my well-being. I pretended not to notice.

I accidently let my guard down. Only the woman showed up? Figures. Our eyes met and we sized each other up in a nano-second. Iím thinking: How long will my chances be this time? And Iím sure her thoughts were: How can I fix her? Letís start with forcing her to dress like me, Miss Priss.

After all, fixing me is what every foster parent has tried and failed. Iím unfixable.

My caseworker popped through his office door like puss from a zit when Priss showed up. I pulled one ear-bud out when he lamely introduced us before he whisked her past me to fill her in on all the dirt of my past. I stuffed it back in, but turned the music off. My survival tactic for eavesdropping works every time. He blabbered on about my awful childhood, horrendous school recordÖeven the forced abortion. I wanted to scream: ďI can hear you, Jerkwad.Ē

Well, at least she knows everything. That eliminates the, let me get to know you, conversations.


I could barely get my key in the ignition, my hands trembled so bad. Maybe my kids were right. They think Iím off my rocker and Iím certain theyíre researching assisted living apartment complexes.

Why in the world would I want to open my home to unwanted misfits? Am I that desperate for companionship?

My best friend gets me, though. The day I finally put thoughts to audible words for the first time, she wrapped her arm around my shoulders and drew me close, allowing me to use her shirt to absorb my tears. Iím not sure she appreciated the snot-bubble mess.

The silence in the house since Ben died drives me crazy. I need a purpose to get out of bed every day. Iím fifty-two, fit, and full of love that needs a recipient. I asked the Lord to send me the one He wanted to receive this pent up love. Thatís when foster care popped in my head. I know itís a God thing because I was thinking along the line of a man, yet unsure if I really wanted to re-marry.

I walked into the office and saw her, decked out in black with safety-pins decorating her clothes. I was nervous, but when our eyes met for that split-second, I knew she was the one.

Itís been six months. I must admit, sheís a tough one, but Iím persistent. She recoils when I try to touch her with simple acts of affection. If I spontaneously buy her anything, she looks at me like Iím stupid. She prefers to be alone in her room and insists she doesnít need me to do anything for her.

Sheís halted every attempt to love her. All but one: verbal affirmation of worth. Sheís been devalued by hate-filled words. Love-filled words are salve to her wounded heart.

Today a slip of paper slid out of my Bible.

I need to tell you,
But it seems too dumb.
Anesthesia makes everything numb.

A heart has senses,
Well at least maybe three.
It hears, it feels, and it can see.

More than an organ,
Thatís inside my chest,
But my whole being tucked in a nest.

Blind, dumb, and numb,
And still full of fear,
But please know, my heart now has ears.

I believe Iíve discovered her love language and the anesthesia is wearing off.

Accept Jesus as Your Savior Right Now and be Certain of Eternal Life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 07/15/10
This story is so very real. I was right there with each character. So much stuffed into 750 words. Awesome work. I love how you ended it with the poem and the woman recognizing the girl's love language. And the title is perfection!
Beth LaBuff 07/15/10
The pain and emotion of your MC are so well conveyed here and is balanced perfectly by the compassion shown by the foster mother. Heart-warming! Excellent writing!
Donna Powers 07/16/10
Love, love, LOVE this story! I can see both of them vividly. This pairing definitely seems like a God-thing! I'd love to read Chapter 2.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/16/10
Great job of showing your characters---and of making your reader care about both of them. I like the poem at the end.
Ruth Brown07/18/10
Wonderful story,full of heart. Blessings, Ruth
Kimberly Russell07/18/10
Mari: Your writing always has such a real tone to it and takes the reader right into the scene. Great job on this one!
Mona Purvis07/18/10
You presented both characters in first person and it worked to make the story even more dramatic. I was also seeing the battle going on so well in each life. Very well done.

Carol Slider 07/18/10
Wow! The emotion here is so incredibly real and poignant, I felt that I knew these two characters. They definitely need each other. Powerful, deeply felt writing... very well done.
Chely Roach07/18/10
Truly excellent. Loved the contrasting voices of the characters, and the hint of a redemptive ending. Fantastic.
Maria Egilsson07/18/10
Such real and believable characters. The contrast between the two "voices" makes this piece even more powerful. I really like how you don't have a quick and happy ending. This is tough love in action, ready to hang in there through thick and thin. You are a great writer.
Carole Robishaw 07/19/10
This really got me. I have no idea how to write about it. Really good!
Carol Penhorwood 07/19/10
This moved me beyond words!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/19/10
This touched me on so many levels. You did both voices justice. Small red ink-pus has one s (You used 2) The story was so riveting. I was drawn in and had empathy for both characters.
AnneRene' Capp07/19/10
How very original and how very heart warming!
Rita Garcia07/22/10
Love your writing gift! Congratulations! Hugs, Rita
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/22/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 15 of your level and for the Editor's Choice.
wendell a brown 07/22/10
Marita, very nice blend on your writing. I like your style. Congrats on your finish!
Yvonne Blake 07/23/10
Wow! You could feel the emotions...snot-bubbles and all. The two POV's worked great, plus a poem, to boot!
Well done!
Laury Hubrich 07/23/10
So PROUD of you! Congratulations on a well-deserved EC!!! Fantastic way to start the new quarter!