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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: A Once in a Lifetime View
By Beckie Stewart


Startled awake by the intensity of another disturbing dream, Lizzy grabbed her blanket and wrapped it tightly around her body. She left only her head exposed to the darkness that enveloped her. Ever since her therapy started to dig into her past the more restless her sleep became each night.

She knew it was just a dream again, but the vision of her father choked the breath out of her. Ten years passed since his death, and she still missed him terribly.

The specifics of this dream took her to New York City where a yellow taxi ran over her father. Determined to remove these horrible pictures from her thoughts, Lizzy instead recalled one of the many visits with him when she was a young girl. They traveled by bus in order for her father to avoid the headache of hectic traffic driving.

“Good morning everyone,” the cheerful tall man said over the bus intercom. “As soon as everyone takes their seats we’ll be leaving the station.”

“Daddy, are we going to go to the Statue of Liberty with all of these people?” Lizzy timidly asked.

“Yes, this is a tour bus into the city, Lizzy.”

“Ugh,” Lizzy answered as her lower lip rapidly protruded from her mouth. Lizzy loved her weekends with her father but never relished the times she shared him with others. Just as she suspected, he leaned over the arm of the seat and quickly became enthralled in a conversation with the couple sitting across the aisle from them.

Lizzy glared out the window at the passing scenery of the many towns on their way toward the city. Other kids rode on the bus also but none sat near her. Besides, unlike her father, Lizzy struggled to make conversation with people she didn’t know.

One of Lizzy’s favorite parts about a trip to New York City included the pass through the Lincoln Tunnel. She thanked the Lord for the window seat as she watched the tile wall as they crossed the New Jersey state line into New York. When they finally arrived at Battery Park, they departed from the bus to purchase their ferry ride tickets out to Liberty and Ellis Island. While they waited, Lizzy’s father maneuvered his way toward the families with children in them.

“Hello,” Lizzy’s father said to a couple with two daughters, “This is my daughter, Lizzy. She is ten. How old are your girls?”

Despite the fact that the couple appeared caught off guard by her father’s bold approach, they smiled and introduced Lizzy to their two daughters, Cindy and Beverly. Cindy’s outgoing personality swiftly enabled the girls to discover that they both enjoyed the same television show.

“Don’t you think it would be fun to live next door to the Brady’s?” Cindy asked.

“Yes. I bet a sleepover at their house would be a blast,” Lizzy said.

Despite the hour wait for the elevator to the pedestal of the statue, time drifted swiftly by with Cindy and the occasional points her sister added to the conversation. When they reached the observation deck of the pedestal, they walked its entirety and gazed down at the skyline, New Jersey, and the statue’s star base. Lizzy and her father then rejoined Cindy’s family and climbed the spiral single-file stairs toward the crown of Miss Liberty.

When they reached the top Lizzy promptly made her way to the farthest left of the crown. Of the twenty-five windows, the smallest on the left gave the only peek of the skyline from the crown.

Not thrilled at being awakened by a nightmare, Lizzy enjoyed reminiscing about this particular trip up the Statue of Liberty and her view down at New York City. She thanked the Lord her father took her on trips like this one. She knew that ascending those stairs at ten had been tedious and hot, but she realized she experienced a unique adventure as a child.

Lizzy remembered a recent trip with her husband and daughters where they only surveyed the skyline from the pedestal. She understood that because of her father she experienced a sight of the city that was no longer possible because of the events of September 11, 2001.

Lizzy rolled over and placed her arms around her sleeping husband. Life dealt her many unfair deals, but that list excluded her father and husband. She sighed as she sought the Lord for her healing and drifted back into a more peaceful slumber.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 04/10/09
I love stories about fathers and daughters.

I had a hard time following this in places--figuring out what was real and what was a dream, for example. Maybe needs to be a bit tighter.

Nice ending.
Laury Hubrich 04/10/09
This is a very cool memory - being with your dad in the Statue of Liberty and then later with your own girls. Nice work.
Patricia Herchenroether04/12/09
I thought something significant was going to happen when shy Missy made a new friend, then had to shake myself back. A great memory, though, and a very nice ending.
Patricia Herchenroether04/12/09
Forgot to ask-why was lizzy having nightmares?
Bryan Ridenour04/13/09
Father/daughter stories have become quite special as I have a new little girl at home. Thanks for sharing the memory. Well done.
Beth LaBuff 04/13/09
As someone who doesn't care for heights, I enjoyed the trip up the statue through your eyes. :)
Chely Roach04/15/09
This was a great father/daughter story; I loved the ending...it was just right.
Loren T. Lowery04/15/09
A cozy, sweet story with an ending we all should take to heart when sleep alludes us - counting our blessings. On a practical/technical note, to tighten the story and allow for more to be said, consider cutting out some of the tag lines after someone speaks. Such as Lizzy said. Often the reader is in the scene with the characters and instinctively knows who is talking at the time. That aside, I truly enjoyed your article.
Rachel Rudd 04/15/09
This was a cute story that reminds one to be thankful for one what has! The only thing I would add to the above comments would be that I think more dialogue could be used to explain what was happening. I enjoyed the scenic view you wrote. Thanks!
LauraLee Shaw04/16/09
Tugged at my heart strings with this one. LOVED your ending, and the title is perfect.