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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: I love you
By Michele Therrien


“I love you.”

Those were the words John had said, and Dana just knew he meant them. Her hazel eyes sparkled with anticipation and excitement as she walked down the aisle. So many friends were there. It was the happiest day of her life. She looked up ahead of her as the music played to see John’s smiling face. It made her smile and forget some of the nervousness she’d felt earlier that day.

“I love you.”

That’s what John had said before he’d left for work this morning. That seemed ages ago. Now Dana glanced nervously at the clock for what seemed like the hundredth time this hour. Her stomach was in knots. John had called and said he was working late, but that he’d be home in just thirty minutes. Dinner was burnt. They’d have to order in again, or eat out. It seemed like such a waste to cook if John wasn’t there, but Dana knew that he didn’t like it if he came home and she wasn’t there to greet him with dinner ready. And even after only six months of marriage, Dana knew full well there were consequences when John didn’t like something. The voice she’d been hearing in her mind the last few months grew stronger. Run Dana.

“You know I love you.”

John had said that tonight after he’d gotten angry and shattered the beautiful crystal vase her mother had stuffed with money and given to them for a wedding gift almost a year ago now. Dana lay in her bed trying to weep silently. Beside her John lay asleep and snoring. If he heard her crying he might wake up and get angry again. She didn’t mean to make him angry. She certainly didn’t mean to frustrate him. As she lay there trying to be quiet, Dana wondered what it was that made John so angry now. It was then that she heard the voice of reason speaking to her once again…Run Dana.

“Why don’t you believe me?”

John had shouted that before he’d hit her. Now Dana packed her bag with trembling hands. She wanted to cry, but there were no more tears. She’d cried them all years ago. Zipping her bag, Dana looked up at the cracked mirror. Her pale face made the dark circles beneath her eyes stand out, making her look years older than she was. She felt broken…used and tossed aside. She knew she needed to hurry. John would only be gone for a little while longer and when he came back; her chance would be gone again.

She felt like running, but made sure to walk from the room to the front door. Last thing she needed was those nosy neighbors alerting John. Dana paused at the doorway as she saw a picture of her and John taken what seemed a million years ago at their wedding. As she gazed at the happy couple, Dana could almost hear John’s voice again.

“I love you.”

Forcing herself to turn from the picture, Dana walked out the door.

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This article has been read 477 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ladonna Sweet02/28/08
heartbreaking story, and so true, it is so sad when guys say one thing and do another. Great work
Jacquelyn Horne02/28/08
Very good example here. Often, this is all too true.
Tim Pickl02/29/08
Wow... Saying I love you needs to be followed up with showing that I love you. Excellent writing--perfectly on topic.
Joanne Sher 03/01/08
Very powerful - and extremely effective use of repetition. I could feel her pain so clearly. Excellent.
Jan Ackerson 03/01/08
Oh, the rich irony in the title of this! Excellent!

I'd suggest that someone with your superb writing skills could move it up just a notch my avoiding cliches. I caught a few, including "happiest day of her life" and "stomach was in knots". An excellent writer will find fresh new ways to express those concepts.

And you're an excellent writer--I felt every emotion right along with Dana.
Seema Bagai 03/02/08
Wonderful writing in this piece. I agree with Jan's advice. Keep writing.
Andrea Hargrove03/03/08
Wow. The ending worked for a short story, but in a longer piece, I would wonder what happened to the characters afterwards.