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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Adulthood (07/30/09)

TITLE: The Horizon
By Paul Potenza
08/03/09


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The Horizon

I am twelve years old and looking out of the playroom window at the horizon.

I wonder what is out there.

I see the world through eyes that still recognize the simplicity of a grassy field where you can hide for hours and discover how an ant colony works.

I've never heard the ugly words that people call each other. I've never felt the bitter sting of jealousy. My heart is pure and tender.

My older brother cares for me and brushes my hair after I take my morning bath. He's tough and I want to be just like him. He's a Marine and he has seen the world. He never talks about it much. He smokes a lot of cigarettes and he drinks a lot of beer but his calloused hands are always gentle to me and his broken smile reassures me when I'm scared.

Like the time when there was this big thunder and lightning storm. I start crying because I am frightened. "Ahh Heck" he says, "That ain't nothin but God and the angels bowlin." Right then a lightning bolt hits and he says "Lookee there...ol' Gabriel just got a strike." and we laugh until I stop crying.

Still, I keep looking at that horizon.

One day I take a step towards it and it grabs me and never lets go. Life is never as simple as figuring out an ant colony again. I get back from my second tour in Iraq in time to get a divorce. I don't have a lot of time to think about it because my brother is in the hospital with liver cancer. He's dying and the doctors give him only a few months. They are severely misinformed. Sixty-eight minutes after I get to him...Well...you know.

But in that sixty-eight minutes a thunder storm hits while I am brushing his hair. He is crying. A lightning bolt blows most of the hospital power and the generators click on for life support. "Well lookee there" I murmur..."ol' Gabriel just got a strike." and we laugh until he dies.

So THIS is what it feels like to be an adult.


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This article has been read 294 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Keck08/06/09
Wow, what a great example of the crazy cycle of life. If this is true, I am sorry for your loss. If it is not, you are a great story teller.
Norma-Anne Hough 08/13/09
This is a very good entry. true or false, well told and gripping! I liked it.
Lisa Johnson 08/13/09
Your story left me speechless. I am with the others in my condolences for your loss if the story is true-life, and awestruck at your writing skill if it is fiction. Either way, congratulations on your level placement for a very well written story.
Lisa
Anthony Brown08/13/09
Beautiful story, Paul. Congradulations.
Norma-Anne Hough 08/13/09
Well done on your placing. It was well deserved.
Marilyn Schnepp 01/17/10
Magnificent! Excellent! When you can make a reader fill up with so much emotion that they weep...You are a Writer! Absolutely terrific, and your talent of humor makes the bad parts a little easier to swallow. Great writing Pauly! I'm so proud of you...Kudos!