Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)
TITLE: Letting Go
By marcella franseen
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It had only been one week since the funeral, but her mother had made sure everything would be ready. That’s the kind of person she was. She had spent her whole life preparing Carrie for hers. Even at the end, when the cancer was claiming its final and ultimate victory, she was the strongest woman Carrie had ever known.
Carrie placed her last item in the bag and zipped it closed. Then, she took a deep breath and walked into her mother’s room. She knew exactly which dresser to go to, and which drawer to open. There on top, was the manila envelope. Carrie picked it up, ran her hands over it, and then held it to her chest. She didn’t open it…she didn’t need to. She knew what was inside. There was roughly eighteen thousand dollars-all the money her mother had scraped and saved over the years-for the day she and Carrie would leave Paradise, CA for a “fresh start.” Carrie had lived in Paradise her whole life. Her mother left her father when Carrie was only six. He was an alcoholic. Carrie didn’t remember much about those years, but she had one haunting memory of hiding in her bedroom closet, head buried in her knees…shouts, curses, and the sound of breaking glass on the other side of the door. It wasn’t long after that when her mother picked her up early from kindergarten, car packed full, and they moved into a mobile home park. It was there she spent the next 13 years. She never saw her father again. As far as she knew, he never came looking.
Carrie heaved the suitcase into the trunk of her car. She slammed the door closed, leaned against the back of the car, and looked up at the sky. “This is it, Momma,” she said out loud. “This is our fresh start. I’m leaving this town and going to follow my dreams. I’m doing it for both of us, Momma. I love you.”
As she pulled out of the mobile home park, she looked in the rearview mirror for one last glance at the trailer where she and her mother had lived, laughed, grown, and loved. She felt a weight lift off her shoulders and hope set in her heart.
There were many thoughts passing through her head as she finally drove through the city limits of Paradise, CA. But one thought spoke the loudest…“Life is going to be good, this side of Paradise.”
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