Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Media (in any form) (11/11/10)
TITLE: Beautiful Broken Mess
By Tammie Smith
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Jon’s heart fractures seeing her crumpled frame, "What is wrong, Juliann? “
She is beautiful even with her tangled hair and tear drenched face.
She hands Jon a crumpled picture, "My editor wants me to research this story. I feel broken, and I don't know if I want to find out the truth."
Straightening the picture, Jon focuses in on two babies wearing identical dresses.
"I don't understand," Jon, questions.
Juliann pierces Jon with her cool blue eyes. She stops to catch her breath and to control the anger building inside of her, “I have that exact dress upstairs. My grandmother hand made it for me when I was an infant. I didn’t think there was another one like it. I didn’t have a twin. The one baby even has the same birthmark shaped like a bunny on her leg like the one I have. Read the article."
Jon quickly scans the article for any reason why his fiancé would be so upset. His mind stutters at the phrase, "thought to have died at birth."
"Who is the other baby, and how did she die?"
"I don't know. She sent the picture with a letter to the editor. She wants to find the other baby in that dress, my dress.”
“Call her,” Jon gently nudges her while handing her the phone.
Jon paces in front of the bedroom door. She’s been in there too long. What is she saying? Why didn’t she let me in? I can help. I could hold her hand. I hate this. She needs me.
Unsteadily Juliann walks out of the bedroom and stumbles on her way to the couch. Jon attempts to help her, but she brushes him off. “Don’t touch me.”
Juliann sits on the couch rocking back and forth repeating, “She lied. This can’t be true.”
Ignoring Jon’s attempts to comfort her, Juliann says aloud, “I have to call my mom. Jon, I have to know the truth.”
Picking up the phone, “Hey mom, can we get together for dinner?”
That night at their favorite pizza place waiting for their large double pepperoni pizza to arrive, Juliann lays the crumpled newspaper in front of her mother’s plate.
“My editor wants me to research this picture. Mom, is this me? She has on my dress and she has my birthmark.”
Rhonda’s, Juliann’s mother, face turned pale white, and she quickly left the booth.
Shocked from her mother’s reaction, she waited a few minutes then followed her mother into the bathroom.
“Mom, what is it. Just tell me.”
“I can’t. I can’t break your heart. I love you.”
Rhonda turns to see the hurt and desperation in her only daughter’s eyes. “I have already broken your heart.”
“You have to know, I love you, and all I ever wanted was a beautiful baby girl.” Rhonda looked almost as broken as she felt. Rhonda finally said, “Let’s go back to the table. I will tell you everything.”
“We tried so hard to have a baby, but I couldn’t get pregnant. I was lost and nothing could heal the hole I felt in my heart.”
“But, you had me,” Juliann interrupted, “I don’t understand.”
“Let me tell you the whole story.”
“We found out that we were going to have a baby, and I was overjoyed.
She smiled at Juliann, but her eyes were so sad. “I had a miscarriage, and I fell into a deep sadness that nothing could find its way into my heart. Not even your father. He tried everything.”
Rhonda closed her eyes to keep the tears from falling. “We tried adopting, but that didn’t work out.”
"Your father met a young man whose wife had passed during childbirth. He was so distraught over his wife, and he knew he couldn't take care of two babies. He sold us you, and we have raised you like you were our flesh and blood."
Juliann wrote the hardest story of her career. She wrote about her life. She reunited with her sister and learned about her father. She talked about how much her parents loved her. She wrote about the man she never knew, and the family she looked forward to getting to know.
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