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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: True Joy (i)
By Teresa Collins


The cold November wind was brisk, the grass barely peeking through the freshly fallen snow. Bekka was rushed to the hospital due to complications with her pregnancy.

Led by the nurse she entered the neonatal intensive care unit. When Bekka saw her newborn son she was overwhelmed by the machines, monitors and tubes attached to keep him alive. “Are you all right?” asked the nurse. “Yes, I’m alright” Bekka replied, fighting back the tears, “He could fit in the palm of my hand!” she continued. “Have you named him yet?” asked the nurse. “Sammy”, Bekka replied proudly.

Sammy was delivered two months early and was fighting for his life. The first year his condition would force him to stay in the hospital. It was a roller coaster of events which would be a time of testing and growth for Bekka. Her husband, Jake, offered little or no support she felt like she was carrying the heavy load by herself.

As it neared Sammy’s first birthday his condition would begin to stabilize. “When can I take him home?” Bekka asked the doctor anxiously. Bekka visited Sammy daily paying close attention to the care that was given him. The day finally came, Sammy was going home. Bekka was a little overwhelmed as Sammy would still require a lot of care. The tube feedings, oxygen, physical therapy, breathing treatments and suctioning would be her responsibility now. She would diligently care for her son with no support from Jake. Sammy filled Bekka’s days with joy as she watched his health slowly improve.

Bekka tried to talk to Jake about his distance from her and his son but he would offer no explanation. One day, Bekka had an unusually stressful day; Sammy had developed a cold which aggravated his lung condition. Jake was demanding and irritable. Sammy cried off and on, Bekka would do all she could to comfort him. Jake yelled, “Can’t you shut that kid up?” Surprised Beck replied, “I’m doing the best I can”. “Well, it ain’t good enough!” he screamed, striking her across the face. He picked up his keys, stomped out the door letting it slam loudly behind him. Bekka was stunned. She had experienced angry behavior from Jake in the past but never thought he would hit her.

Frightened for herself and Sammy Bekka made the decision to leave Jake. Bekka and Sammy were doing fine in their own place; Sammy would continue to get stronger and stronger. A few months had passed when Bekka heard a knock on the door. She opened the door to find a police officer holding an envelope. “Bekka Jones?” he asked. “Yes.”, she replied, as he handed her an envelope. Puzzled she quickly opened it, reading silently. She was summoned to court. Jake wants a divorce and Sammy! “What?” she yelled.

Bekka was confident on court day but visibly shaking from the cold serious atmosphere. The proceedings began with Jake. Bekka couldn’t believe what she was hearing him say. He acted as if he was involved with Sammy and an expert in his care. Barely audible, Bekka would answer the questions asked. The judge would have his decision in a couple days. Bekka continued to feel confident. The day finally came; Bekka called her attorney and listened eagerly to the judges decision. “Divorce granted... custody awarded to Jake.” said her attorney. Bekka was numb, speechless, “What?” she screamed. “How could this happen?” she questioned.

The day came when Bekka would have to give her precious son to Jake. She heard the knock on the door. She froze, glancing over at Sammy playing with his toys. “Sammy” she choked back the lump in her throat, “Your daddy is here.” Tears rolled down her cheeks despite her attempt to stop them. She opened the door holding Sammy tightly in her arms, her eyes locked with Jakes. “I’ll take him now Bekka” he said. Sammy’s puzzled look would be branded on Bekka’s mind as she handed him to the stranger that was his dad. She collapsed on the floor sobbing uncontrollably, the pain almost unbearable.

It was a daily struggle as Bekka left the situation in God’s hands. A couple months went by and Bekka got a phone call. “Bekka, Sammy is really sick come and get him!” Jake said. She rushed to get Sammy and knew while she held her son close that God had heard her prayer and she felt true joy to have Sammy back home with her again.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Virginia Gorg05/26/06
Interesting content, but the time span is almost too long for 750 words. Maybe single out the time when Jake left the family? Just a thought for making this a great short story.
Phyllis Inniss05/27/06
A troubling story that ends in joy. I do have to agree with the last comment, but the pain and anxiety you felt came through.
Amy Evans05/27/06
The story seems too flowery for the "story" in it. Several places needed punctuation.
Anita Neuman05/27/06
Your plot is great - but it's a lot for such a short story. This could be developped into a longer work. Or, to fit it more concisely into a short story format, pick a section of it and just expound on that.

Keep writing and honing your skill - you're headed in the right direction!
Edy T Johnson 05/31/06
I do think you need the background of her dedicated caring for the baby (you could leave off the first short paragraph, as the information is brought in later, anyway). Without that foundation you would lose the tension leading up to the judge's shocking decision. You have a compelling story that grips the reader's attention. Rewriting with no word count restrictions (so the ending is less condensed) will result in a fine short story. God bless you!