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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bon Voyage (09/05/05)

TITLE: Voyage of Hope
By Larry Elliott


This was breaking Michael’s heart in two pieces. But what else could he do? He would leave the larger portion behind with his young bride, Maria. The smaller would reluctantly follow him to America. In the United States of America he would be free to work and save the money needed to send for his wife. He would labor relentlessly night and day eating just enough crumbs to survive, saving every penny. He would have Maria with him in no more than six months time, he calculated.

At the last call to board the ship he kissed his beautiful Maria long and hard, as if to drink in enough of her very essence to last him a lifetime. Even her tears tasted of the sweetest wine to him.

“I love you.” She quivered. “And I worry you will be so lonely all by yourself.”

“But I will not be alone. God is with me, with us, always and wherever we are. You will be with me, also, here.” He placed a hand to his chest.

“Goodbye, Michael.” She said as he started to move away from her.

“No, Maria, don’t say ‘goodbye’. Say ‘Bon Voyage’.”

“Bon Voyage, my husband, Bon Voyage.” She repeated as he ascended the ramp backwards, not taking his eyes from hers.

“Bon Voyage!” she waved both hands in the air and began to trot along side the departing ship until she reached the railing at the end of the dock. “Bon Voyage.” She whispered, wiping the stinging wetness from her face. Michael was now a mere dot among hundreds of other dots. Then Maria yelled one last time as loudly as she could “Bon Voyage, my husband. I love you!”

That was sixty years ago. Three months later, with Maria by his side, they began their new life together in America. With the help and mercy of the almighty God they had shared a long, happy and prosperous life including four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Now it was Maria’s time to make a trip leaving him behind to wait. Everyone had gone home for the night except Michael. He sat beside her in the semi-darkened room reflecting over their life and considering what it would be like after she had gone. He wondered if this is how she felt all those years ago as he left her standing on the dock.

“Michael? Michael?” Maria called faintly.

“I am here.” He took her hand. “You are not alone, dear.”

“No, I am never alone. Remember when you said this to me a long time ago? God is with me always.” She paused for breath. “You are a good husband and a good father, Michael, a good man. You are a Godly man.” She paused again. “I can see a ship, Michael, a beautiful white ship. He is calling me. I have to go now.” In the light from the moon glimmering through the window she found his eyes with hers. “Kiss me, my husband.”

He kissed her gently. “I love you, Maria.”

She exhaled long and slow, closing her eyes.

“Goodbye, my dear.” He whispered in her ear, wiping the stinging wetness from his face.

Maria drew a breath and looked at him saying softly, “This is not goodbye, Michael.”

“I know, I know. Bon voyage, my sweet Maria. Bon Voyage.”

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This article has been read 636 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany09/12/05
I loved this! Very nice writing!
Al Boyce09/12/05
Well handled (wiping a touch of moisture from my own eyes). Blessings
Debbie Sickler09/12/05
I really enjoyed your story. The only thing I would suggest is changing the woding about being 60 years ago. Maybe try: "Three months later, with Maria..." and then start next paragraph with: "Now, sixty years later, it was her turn." Otherwise, very well written.
Jan Ackerson 09/12/05
Very sweet story--you can't go wrong with long-lasting love! Try to avoid over-used phrases. Michael and Maria will have a wonderful reunion!
B Brenton09/13/05
You used the topic and you wrapped it up in a neat little bundle with love and care.
Predictable - but who ever said that was a bad thing?
Karen Ward09/13/05
This is really good! I agree that the transition was a little abrupt. I really liked your first scene though, very well written. The tears were pricking my eyes at the end - great job!

God Bless, Karen
sandra snider09/14/05
a couple of things: he left the larger portion behind with his wife, he took the smaller portion...does that refer to the 2 children they had? the end was a little too obtuse/vague for me. I take it she was dying? Maybe she was hallucinating? Suffering from Alzeimer's? Just wasn't clear enough for me. But in general, the story does a great job of pulling on the heart strings!
Alexandra Wilkin09/19/05
A little romance always brightens my day and touches my heart, and this did both. Lovely. Congratualations.
Julianne Jones09/19/05
Congratulations on placing in the winner's circle. Well written and lovely. God Bless.
Deborah Porter 09/21/05
Larry, you are definitely going from strength to strength. This was quite lovely and had me reaching for the tissues. Yes, it was a bit predictable, but who cares? It was a heart warmer.

Now there's also something else you should know. You not only came 3rd in the Level 1 awards (what a week of competition that was!) but you also nearly made it into the Editors' Choice. You missed by a hair, placing 9th overall (that's across all three levels). Well done Larry, and with that, I really think it's time for you to move up to Level 2. Looking forward to reading more of your work. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)