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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)

TITLE: Undying Scar
By Shawn McNamara


What a splendid Sunday. A morning spent amongst his family of faith, overflowing through an offering of worship, though his thoughts primarily on the return of his wife from a weekend trip. She’ll be returning home late, so there was plenty of time to grab a little something special for Valentine’s Day, although they discussed not doing anything as things were tight financially.

He stops at the local market on the way home to pick-up a few items to surprise her with. He purchased the ideal card, beautiful red tulips (her favorite) and a nice dark chocolate offering, nothing fancy. Upon arriving at home, a quick set up of the goodies in the bedroom and then the long wait begins.

It’s a beautiful day outside, so he opens the entire house up to a cleansing, natural breeze. He sits down and fiddles with the piano for a little while, just to pass the time, but quickly the creative energy dissipates. A short saunter over to the fish tank for a feeding keeps him occupied for a short time before his mind begins to wander.

He flashes back to exactly one year ago to the day. It was a Friday, not one he thanked God for until later on.

“Don’t forget to pack your bags when you get home. I’m coming straight home to pick you up and hit the road.” he states.

“Yes Dad, I know.” His son replies.

“We will pick up a little food on the way out, your choice. Have a great day. I love you.” he concludes.

Later on in the day, his phone rings at the office. Not unusual, but upon answering, a rather unexpected conversation ensued.

In a whimper, a small voice says, “I don’t want to go. She’s your girlfriend and I don’t want to be in the way.”

Caught off guard he quietly responds; “You won’t be in the way son, you’re an important part of this relationship and my life.”

“Why can’t I just stay home?” his son questions.

There’s a slight hesitation before he responds with a little more emphasis in his delivery.

“You’re not staying home alone. This trip has been planned for over two weeks now. You and I have talked about it more than once. You know we’re getting to meet her sister’s family for the first time as well. I can’t talk about this anymore. I’m at the office. I’ll call you on my way home.”

He hastily hangs up the phone. The frustration and exasperation beams off of his face. What was a sixty-nine degree environment rapidly feels more like a sauna.

Unexpectedly, his cell phone rings. The tone sings of an incoming call from his son, so he hurriedly walks out of the office and answers; “Yes!?”

A voice now far beyond a whimper stammers, “I don’t want to go! I really don’t want to go!!”

“You’re going and that’s final! I’m going to be home in an hour. You better be ready when I get there!” he heatedly responds.

It was an uncomfortable remainder of the work day. His anguish was written all over his face. He attempted to avoid speaking as much as possible knowing that his emotions were beyond noticeable in his tone.

The drive home was even more uncomfortable. Traffic was normally bad, but the torrential downpour only compounded the issue. He was far calmer at this point as he had the time to decompress and pray. He calls the house only to get the answering machine.

He attempts to call a few more times, each with no answer, each time becoming more and more frustrated. Frantically, he calls his mother, explains all that transpired and asks if she could go and check the house.

The rain falls even harder now as he’s still stuck in traffic until his cell phone rings again.

Hesitantly he answers, “He-hello?”

A concerned voice responds, “He’s not here. There’s no note. Everything looks to be in order. He’s gone”.

The words echo in his head, as the sound of what seemed like a herd of cars engines roared louder and louder, until the echo was gone.

He returns to Sunday afternoon, only a few short hours later, realizing that the race being televised was actually watching him.

“Wow! I can’t believe it’s only been a year since he ran away.” He mumbles.

Shaking his head, “with all we’ve gone through this year, it feels like he vanished so long ago”.

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This article has been read 266 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Bowden 03/17/11
You chose a story that really needs to be addressed. Many children do run away and are not found.

I had a couple of questions after finishing the story.

Is the girlfriend mentioned in the story now your wife?

Is the topic eternity addressed through waiting for what seemed to be an eternity for the MCs son to be found?
Kate Oliver Webb 03/17/11
I agree with the first commenter: this is an important topic. I'm sure if not for word constraints we would have some of those questions answered, but in spite of that, a very well-told piece. I felt those hours as well, when waiting seems like eternity.
Shawn McNamara03/17/11
It continues to be a challenging experience in my life, however one where I see God strongly at work in many different ways and lives.

The story told poured out of me as it was very close to being in 'real-time'.

The eternity may be seen differently depending on the reader. It may be the year past since my son ran from home, it may be the time spent reflecting/dreaming, or the waiting for the return of his wife, who was the girlfriend at the time he ran.

There has been closure and a journey ensues ... all in God's very capable hands.
diana kay03/18/11
great story... If you gave your characters names it would add to the "picture" of them.
Mary Toll03/19/11
What strikes me the most was how the father so desperately expressed the son's importance to him and his new relationship. Also his own frustrations juggling the three lives together and keeping peace. And the brutal reality that by one life missing, only God can make the two lives, left, a stronger union, believing for the son's return.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/21/11
Your ending caught me by surprise. I could feel the panic,fear, and conflict build as the story moved on.

There were quite a few questions that the word count didn't allow you to answer.

It seemed a tad off topic unless having a child missing for a year would feel like an eternity.

You addressed some important problems between children and parents. Your story definitely showed how important it is to let your child have a voice and to really listen. Nice job.
Cheryl von Drehle03/22/11
A very moving story: provocative and full of emotion without being manipulative. I love the dramatic first person, although it occasionally slips into 3rd. I would like to see you work with this story some more, without the constraint of word count. Excellent piece.