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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Anger (01/24/05)

TITLE: Betrayal
By Sally Hanan


He is sitting nearby when the precisely aimed, poisoned arrow of truth hits her heart. The words on the screen seem to merge together into one larger word. It screams at her, yet in silence she turns her face toward his.
“ I see you haven’t told me everything.” His eyebrows rise as he tries to hide his quickening breath. He knows. She knows.

She points to the screen. She can’t get the words to come. Feeling like a hand is reaching from his stomach up into his throat he walks towards her. As he looks at the monitor he feels as if he is about to vomit, for there it shouts, BETRAYAL, and all fingers of that hand inside point directly at him.

So quietly, so calmly, she picks up her purse to leave. He stands in front of her, afraid to touch her, shame and self-hatred written on his sorrowful face. Her eyes are as cold as the outdoor snow.
“I’ll go,” he begs, the fear of letting her go making him desperate.
“No, let me pass,” and he hesitates before, in despair, he steps to one side.

As she drives, hardly even aware that she is doing so, the memories flood her mind. Once sweet and reliable, pain now shreds through every one. She builds up her defense case against the voices inside that assail her. Worthless, scum, you are nothing. She attempts to validate aloud every good thing she has been told about herself, but she is incapable of endorsing her own words. The pain and hurt begin to surface. She cannot let them get air, and so she allows and even encourages the laying of the first brick. The more she thinks about what has been done to her the higher and thicker the wall becomes, and by the time the car sits once more outside their supposed home, for where else will she go, the wall of anger around her beating heart is impenetrable.

He feels the chill as she sweeps by. Her perfume lingers in the air. His head hangs, his eyes staring at an invisible speck on the tiled floor as she begins to dominate the kitchen. Almost inaudibly he asks,
“Can I help with anything?”
“Yes, you can give the kids their bath.” So matter of fact, so controlled. She doesn’t even look at him as he walks hesitantly away, busying herself on the details of the meal ahead instead. She looks as if she has it altogether. She tells herself she has to. The only one she can trust now is herself.

Later that night she watches him through the doorway, so weak, so helpless. He turns his worn wedding ring around and around his finger. He feels so empty, so alone, so ashamed. He’d rather be dead.

She wills herself to sit down beside him, staring at him as if blankly perusing a stranger. In spite of the ice that seems to surround her he longs to hold her and feel her and love her, the wife of his youth. Everything he has desired earlier that day, that month, that year - it is meaningless, for here before him is the only one he has ever truly loved. It has taken only one minute of morning’s occasion for his blind eyes and thoughts to be opened again with truth’s revelation.

The way he looks at her, oh how long she has desired to have him feel that way again.

The buried pain shrieks. The words fly out of her mouth like pistol shots. They whip at him like a sudden vicious hailstorm. Her fists tighten.
“You promised to love me and cherish me and take care of me forever.” Her fists are pounding on his chest, his shoulders, his arms; the arms she entrusted her life to so many years ago. “You broke your promises. I hate you for that. I hate you, I hate you, oh God help me.”

And then, as suddenly as the futile tirade begins, it ends. She tries to stop but all the years of shared love overwhelm her resolve. The tears begin to fall, and for each tear God faithfully and gently removes a brick of anger from around her heart. Finally she rests, heart softened somewhat, against his beaten-on chest and he wraps his arms around her gingerly, with new hope rising from within. Unseen to either one God wraps His arms around them both, and the long and difficult healing journey begins.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Norma OGrady01/31/05
Betrayal does cause hurt and anger..Thank you for sharing
Yeshua Bless
Kristy Cox01/31/05
Wow! That was great. Love the short story aspect. I will admit the dialogue was a bit vague and I was confused at times, but the conclusion wrapped everything up nicely. It is so hard to write a good short story with a small number of words, but you succeeded. Are you sure you're a beginner?
Cheri Hardaway 02/04/05
Wow! Good work.

God bless,
Deborah Anderson02/05/05
I thought you did a good take on this. God bless you.
Debbie OConnor02/08/05
Sally, this is VERY good. I have tears in my eyes and I'm not the overly emotional reader. I'm amazed it didn't place. I believe you will be in the winners circle soon.