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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: Erosion Of A Text Message Marriage
By Melissa Lindsey


Joel watched the flickering candle sitting in the middle of the cloth covered table between he and his wife Karen. The candle was nothing out of the ordinary. A simple, white candle with a glass globe as found in most upscale New York restaurants. No, the candle was nothing special, but it served as a diversion. A way to escape looking into Karen's eyes until he had the right words. He had practiced this moment over and over again in his mind, but somehow now that they were seated less than three feet apart it was harder than he had imagined.
Sure, after eighteen years of marriage, one could understand that the passion would not be as strong as it once was, but how had it gotten to the point that it was uncomfortable just to make conversation with his own wife?
Joel's thoughts wandered back to last week's business trip. On the last evening of a five day conference, he had walked down to a small park just outside his hotel. A band was playing. Joel purchased a drink and started to move toward an unoccupied table when an attractive blonde woman motioned for him to sit with her. She was alone. For a brief moment, Joel considered declining the invitation. However, Joel remembered seeing her at the conference and thought that it might be nice to find out more about why she was attending. He moved toward her table and extended his hand, "Joel Wurth." The woman clasped his hand. "Amanda Rains" she smiled.
As Joel took his seat by Amanda, he noticed that she was not wearing a wedding ring. Why would I even look for a ring? ……protection ….. he assured himself. I need to be sure that she knows I am married early in the conversation. He glanced down at his left hand, noticing that it was bare. Karen was always reminding him to wear his wedding ring, but in the summer heat it bothered him and he took it off at night. Many days, he would forget to put it back on in the morning.
"Joel", Amanda said again. Joel flashed a big smile and gave Amanda his full attention. Amanda returned his smile. "I was just saying, I was really impressed by what you mentioned in class today….. your theory about attracting and retaining younger clients". Joel was encouraged by the compliment. "Thanks. So many of today's companies remain adamant that we must reach the younger generation through technology. Facebook, text messages, twitter…. these avenues are important, but we must not forget that nothing will ever take the place of face to face conversation. People need real interaction. Other avenues can compliment face to face communication, but people want to know that they have real flesh and blood to count on when the need arises." "I couldn't agree with you more" Amanda nodded in agreement, "and that falls into other areas than just business." I've been divorced for over a year, and looking back, I know that lack of spending quality time with my husband was the main problem. Neither of us worked at staying close. My husband was always busy and distracted. I dropped further and further down on his priority list, until I felt non-existent. I finally gave up."
The conversation with Amanda seemed to come straight from God himself. For the first time, Joel's eyes were opened to how Karen might feel about their relationship. How many times over the last few years had the extent of their daily communication been a text message or email about who was picking up the kids or what to do about dinner?
On the plane ride back home, Joel began to formulate a plan. His career had flourished because of the time that he invested in his business relationships. What could his marriage become if he also approached it with the same energy and enthusiasm?
Joel thought back to when he and Karen were dating. She had always loved going to dinner at Carmine's. As the plane taxied into the airport, Joel turned on his iPhone and searched for the restaurant phone number. It would not be easy to bring back the ease of communication that he and Karen had once shared, but through someone pointing out his own teachings to him, he realized honest, "face to face conversation" would be the first step.

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This article has been read 399 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lillian Rhoades 10/21/10
I love your story and the message. I would suggest using separate paragraphs for actual conversation so that the dialogue is not lost in the narrative.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/10
This is a great story. I'm so glad he decided to work harder at his marriage.

Just a couple of editing notes- make sure you start a new paragraph for each speaker. Doubling spacing between paragraphs can help too. I also noticed the second time you used the word compliment I think you wanted the one that is spelled complement.

This is the perfect true love story and I enjoyed it from beginning to end.
Lillian Rhoades 10/21/10
This is a P.S. for you and all Beginner Level challengers. I hope you have time to read some of the Master Level submissions. There's a lot to learn from your fellow FWs. I'm sure they won't mind.:-)
Jan Ackerson 10/23/10
This went a different dierection than I expected--that's a good thing!

Your writing shows considerable potential. A small thing not previously mentioned: ellipses are typically only three dots, and should be used very sparingly.

I like the way your approached the topic here.
Shellie Bailey10/24/10
Wonderful story with such a good message. I agree with the above comments on the spacing. Just for easier reading. Good work!
Genia Gilbert10/25/10
Good story and great ending! It would be more readable with spaces and change of paragraphs for the dialogue, but is basically very "on topic" and I enjoyed it.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
Congratulations for placing10th in your level!