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

TITLE: I Miss You
By Heather Palmer
10/21/10


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She stood with outstretched arms just beyond the quagmire that had become his nighttime world. He could see into her blue eyes and feel them beckoning him forward. Straining against the muck he reached for her, but with each step he took, she moved further away. She was disappearing into the night, her fading words, “I love you. I’m sorry”, a whisper in the dark.

“Please, wait. Don’t go. I’m sorry too.” He woke with a start, sweating, breathing hard. Alone in his bed, he began to pray, the only solace for his aching soul. As his pounding heart resumed a steady pace, his mind remembered, and pleaded to go back and undo what had been done. To say what should have been said. To love like he had promised to.

It had been a time of unbelievable busyness. As the children grew, so did the corporate ladder. The kids went from preschool to high school before his eyes. The hamster wheel was spinning fast and he was hanging on for dear life. He had done the right thing, hadn’t he? The clothes, computers, movies and toys. They needed those things, right? And his Beloved, she needed their home on Expensive Avenue, didn’t she? The lifestyle that imprisoned him sixty hours a week was viewed by the company as exemplary, and soon he was awarded overseas clients. Hotels and airports were quickly becoming his home. It was for his family that he traveled, wasn’t it?

While he was career building around the world, she was managing the home. The numerous hats she wore were becoming heavy. Being everything to everyone was wearing her thin. She was busy all of the time with no relief, and she was lonely. She wanted to talk to her husband, really talk, about her dreams for their future. About the kids, and how fast they’re growing. She missed him.

The day started out badly. After fitful sleep she failed to hear the alarm go off and overslept. Time only allowed for a quick shower and ponytail. She put on a pink sweat suit and mascara. Her reflection showed a few extra pounds and dark circles under her eyes. The kids were already bickering downstairs about who ate all the cereal and which one gets the front seat on the way to school.

Dark clouds filled the sky and were spitting rain. The kids were shoving to get in the passenger’s seat as she jerked the driver’s door open and threw her purse on the floor beside her. “Just get in. We’re late.” The wheels spun on the wet pavement as she accelerated out the driveway. The fuel gauge dinged its bell, empty. “Oh great!” She pulled into the gas station and filled up in record time. Pulling into the school on two wheels, she nearly opened the doors and shoved the kids out. She had promised to take her mother to a doctor’s appointment and she was going to be late.

It wasn’t her habit to answer the phone while driving, but she was distracted and hurried and desperately needing her husband. It was his number on the screen.

She picked up, “Hi Honey.”

He was on his way back from seeing a client, driving the many miles home. “Hi, How are you today?”

“Oh, we had a rough morning, but I’m okay. How are you? I can’t wait to see you tonight. I have a nice dinner planned and the kids are going to bed early. I miss you.”

“I miss you too. Umm, I have some bad news. My boss wants me to head out as soon as I get back . Our new client is having a problem and they need someone there ASAP.”

Silence.

“Umm, Honey? You still there?”

“They need someone ASAP, huh? What about me? I need someone ASAP! You tell them ‘no’ and come home. They can send someone else.”

“Sweetheart, I can’t do that. I could lose my job. I thought you were happy with our life, with my career.”

“Do you realize we talk more on the phone than face to face? Oh never mind. Fine. Let me know when you’ll be back.”

“Hey, come on, don’t do this. Don’t be mad.”

“I’ll see you when you get…”

As the cell phone fell from her hand it did not disconnect. He heard it all, the squealing brakes, crunching metal, shattering glass.

The last thing he heard from his Beloved’s mouth, a scream.


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This article has been read 266 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lillian Rhoades 10/21/10
Touching story that held my attention. Great beginning and closing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/10
Oohhh you did a great job on this one. I had a feeling when she answered the phone while driving. You did a great job pulling out the suspense. It reminded me of Kenny Rogers' song "Buy me a Rose". You did a great job and though most people may prefer a happy ending life doesn't always end happily. Great job!
Sarah Elisabeth 10/21/10
Oh, how heart wrenching! But it was a story that needed to be shared.

A tip - In a piece this short, it's usually good to stay in one person's point of view.

You had me hooked from beginning to end. Good job!
Loren T. Lowery10/22/10
You presented a scenario all to real in today's world. As well, you presented the darker side of what can happen if there is a breakdown in communication discussing and agreeing on the values/goals/expectation for their lives. Great job in causing one to stop and pause to consider these things.
Jan Ackerson 10/24/10
Very sad!

If you're going to switch POVs, consider setting the new POV aside with a few asterisks, or italicizing the new POV, so that the reader doesn't feel disoriented.

This is a good cautionary tale for us--cherish and nurture our relationships, before it's too late.
Genia Gilbert10/25/10
I did notice the switch in POVs, but all in all, it is a very interesting piece with a wonderful point. Keep writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
Congratulations for placing 8th in your level!