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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: Wavering Determination
By Kimberly Russell


The temperature has dropped but nothing can compare to the ice that surrounds my heart. As I watch the snow swirl in a ghostly dance, a sigh escapes me for what seems like the hundredth time in the last few minutes. It is the sound of my life. Shivering, I rub my arms, trying to warm up. The storm may have cooled the house but one would wonder just how much of the chill is coming from inside me...

I wander from room to room, wrestling with indecision. Everything had seemed so clear just a few days ago. Yet like the pre-dawn gray outside my window, clarity is growing dim. As my hands begin to shake, the letter I'm clutching softly rustles. It has barely been out of my sight-a constant reminder. The tattered paper is crumpled and torn, like the remnants of my life. Doubt begins to creep in and my conscience attacks. What kind of woman am I? Have I really thought this thing through? Surely there are options I haven't considered...

And the storm continues.

Dear Ray:

I've watched the weather report all week, waiting for the right time to move ahead. Since today's forecast calls for whiteout conditions, I'm pretty certain you will be plowing for hours. Despite what you may think, that is a good thing.

I know you won't understand what I'm about to tell you-nor would I expect you to. What I do hope, what I pray for, is your forgiveness.

I've come to a point that I can no longer hide what I've done. Of course, I never intended for things to turn out this way-I thought I could handle it. Isn't that just human nature? Believing we are invincible? Unfortunately, I have proven I'm not and the shame has become unbearable. It's time you know the truth. In fact, I owe it to you-the least I can do.

I know you've had concerns about my gambling. Why shouldn't you? It all started innocently, mostly born out of boredom, when I stumbled into an on-line card game. It was exciting, challenging, and I actually began to win. Before long, I moved on to poker tournaments and within a short time, my credit card was maxed-out. I panicked and didn't know where to turn. In retrospect, one of the things I most regret is never considering honesty as an option.

I thought I found the answer when they opened the new casino. A few big wins and I could clean up the mess. Nothing ever goes as planned...

You have no idea how hard I fought against my impulses but I'm so weak. I know it's just an excuse (as you've been quick to point out) but I really did try to overcome. The lies, unpaid bills, loans from our friends, all of it has come to a breaking point and I just can't deal with the guilt anymore.

I have a feeling that even now, you are coming up with all kinds of ideas to solve this dilemma. That's one of the things I love about you: "The Great Problem Solver!" But unfortunately, my darling, this isn't something that can be repaired or taken in for service. It is a hopeless situation and because I made the mess, I've decided that I should FINALLY take some responsibility and try to fix it myself. Better late than never, eh?

While some may accuse me of the 'ultimate selfish act', believe me, I know this is the coward's way out-more guilt and shame-just what I need. Courage never was one of my strong points. Please consider it an act of valor and my final chance to do something right for a change.

Maybe someday you'll understand that I truly believe this is for the best. My heart breaks for the kids because they'll be confused. Make sure they know I'll love them forever. And Ray, my precious, maybe you can find someone worthy of you. Be happy and loved-you deserve it!

As the note flutters to the floor-its final resting place, my eyes blur with tears. Resolutely, I pick up the bottle of pills while the howling of the wind crescendos and snow pelts against the front window...

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This article has been read 652 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon08/20/09
What a sad heart breaking story of dispair and hopelessness. The cold winter setting even makes this a sadder story
Jackie Wilson08/20/09
Oh, gosh, somebody needs to stop her! A cliffhanger ending, for sure!
Colin Swann08/24/09
Oh dear - Lord save people like this - really sad! Thanks for sharing, the reality of life for some. Colin
Bryan Ridenour08/24/09
Very well written with a supposed heartbreaking end.
Mona Purvis08/24/09
Compelling story that peaks interst and drives the reader to keep reading.
Creative. Tugs emotions.
Beth LaBuff 08/24/09
You leave a little room for hope at the end...hope that he comes home early, hope that she is stopped by something. Very compelling writing!
Ada Nett08/24/09
Very engaging drama...I kept trying to figure out a way to help this woman...You kept me reading and wanting to know at the end what would happen next.
Michelle Foster08/25/09
Sounds like this would be a great beginning to a longer story. Good hook, makes me really want you to keep writing so I can find out what happens next!