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

TITLE: That Night
By Tammie Smith


The feel of electric energy fills the air as a raging thunderstorm rolls into the area. I watch as a crooked line lights up the night sky. I look out the car window and think "I hate storms". The green umbrella turns inside out. With a loud sigh, I give up and toss it back into my yellow Chevy blazer.

The lighting crackles again lighting up the sky and illuminating the building in front of me. With the drenching rain pouring down on me, I walk unsteadily towards the building.

My heart thunders in my chest almost as loud as the thunder looming over my head. The doors automatically open and I step inside.

The chill I feel as I step inside the building makes me wonder if it is from my wet clothes in the cold air of the building or is it because of the conversation I am about to have.

Slowly I walk down the hall noticing the dull pattern of the tiles on the floor. With a slight tilt of my head, I look towards the end of the hall. I see him and immediately lower my eyes. I know what he is going to say, but I want to pretend for a few minutes that nothing has changed.

The conversation we need to have means the end to my childhood, and I wonder if I am ready for this conversation.

I study him as I walk closer; I realize he looks different. He looks older than his forty-eight years, and from this distance, I see the tears shining under the harsh fluorescent lights. My father is strong and sturdy. I can always depend on him. Now he looks broken and weak. For many nights in the past month, a good night's sleep has been impossible for him, and at this moment, he looks exhausted. His face looks weary, and tears are streaking down his unusually red and swollen face.

I want go home. At home, everything is still the same. I am afraid to finish walking down this hall. I want to delay this conversation as long as possible. I stop and close my eyes. It is taking all of my courage to raise my head and look him in the eye. If I look into his eyes I will see the pain, and know the truth and it hurts knowing the truth.

My father tries to talk, but he merely sobs. He takes a deep breath while I hold mine. He does not want to say what I do not want to hear. Speaking the words will make it real.

In a quiet voice he whispers. “She died.”

In my mind, I refuse to accept those words. I know she wouldn’t leave me. I am barely twenty. Am I ready to face the world without her.

My father looks at me. “Did you hear me? Your mom has died.” I did, but I feel frozen. I stand there with a blank stare on my face. I am numb. I can not feel anything.

My thoughts are screaming, I want to say something, but the words are stuck.

Shakily I speak. “I want to see her.”

“Ok I will take you,” he said

“No, I want to go by myself. I have to see her alone.”

My mind continues to race. I remember the day six weeks ago when she was admitted to the hospital. I remember the conversation with her father when they found out they both had cancer on the same day. I remember her telling me she would be ok, she would beat this. I scream loudly, but no sound escapes my mouth, she lied.

The nurse opens the door. “I will go in by myself,” I quietly told her.

This is not her room. They have moved her to this room. Where are all the sweet smelling flowers and cards from family and friends. This room is cold.

This is not where she belongs. I wish with all my heart she was back in the warm room with the pictures, blankets and comforts from home.

I whisper, “Hi mom.”

“I will love you always, and I will take care of daddy. I have to say goodbye now.”

It was the conversation I never wanted, but I didn't want it to end.

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This article has been read 315 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lillian Rhoades 10/21/10
Very touching story. You did a great job of getting and keeping my attention. Super ending.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/10
This is a sad, sweet story. You must have had a great relationship with your mom to have been honest about feeling angry over her death. It reminded me when my own mom died suddenly at a young age. It just doesn't seem fair. Nice job of sharing your feelings.
Jan Ackerson 10/23/10
How sad!

I'd have liked to know a bit more about the narrator--there weren't any clues to his/her age, sex, etc.

Keep writing--there's a lot of promise in this piece.
Colin Swann10/24/10
I enjoyed this read and you have a style of writing that keeps your interest. Thanks!
Brenda Rice 10/24/10
Your writing drew me into the story quickly and kept me interested all the way through. Like someone already mentioned, I would like to know more about the MC. Keep writing, you are good at it.
Dee Yoder 10/24/10
Oh wow--you certainly were able to describe the emotions and feelings of a loved one saying good-bye. This is very well written, as far as the setting and feelings. You just need a bit of polish for spelling and, as Jan suggested, a little info about the mom, in order to make this really shine. As it is written now, I could still easily relate and share the emotions of your characters very well. Nice writing!
Shelley Ledfors 10/24/10
You really drew me in with this touching story. I hope you will expand on this. There's so much more to tell that you were unable to within the word limit. Keep writing! I'd like to read more of your pieces.
Genia Gilbert10/25/10
Good descriptive words, and a dramatic approach to the topic. There are some punctuation errors, but easily corrected. It drew me in and was touching. Good writing.
Mona Purvis10/26/10
Very well-told story. For some reason I saw the MC as a twenty year old daughter; it just seemed to fit. The air hung heavy in the setting just as it should.
You have talent and a depth to your writing. It's good.

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
Congratulations for placing 12th in your level!