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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)

TITLE: Silenced and Broken
By Shellie Bailey


Time had slipped away so swiftly it seemed and now it had been three years of desolate silence which filled our once vibrant home. I had given up long ago and accepted the fact that I live with a complete stranger, a stranger who had once been the love of my life, the father of my children, my provider and best friend. He was someone who I missed dearly, even though at this moment he sat only a mere three feet from me.

My fingers trembled as I clasped the Good Housekeeping magazine in my hands and brought my gaze from the article on Christmas cookies, onto the face of a man I once adored. The anticipation and nervousness coursed through my veins like thick ooze, as I sat and waited for him to glance my way.

How could we fall so far and seemingly so fast? My mind was tormented day and night with memories and thoughts of what had been and what should be. Our thirty years of marital bliss had now turned into a bitter and cold relationship, one of which consisted of meaningless conversation about toast and late night television shows.

I watched him in silence, until I could no longer look at him. I wanted to scream at him, to vent my frustration and anger in one colossal event of unrelenting blind rage. But I held my tongue and returned my gaze to the magazines glossy pages. He sat so smug in his leather chair, reading the daily newspaper. Oblivious to the beckoning of a lonely wife, who just wanted to feel his tender touch or hear a kind word slip from his soft lips.

I knew this was not the great design for marriage; this couldn’t be what God had intended for man and women. I would make an attempt, maybe tonight was the night a doorway would be opened.

“What are you reading?” I asked with a shiver in my voice.

Without even a glance, he replied. “Just the sports stuff.”

“Oh, is there anything interesting going on?” I asked hoping to evoke some sort of dialogue.

“When did you become interested in sports?” He replied back with a hint of sarcasm in this voice.

“I…I just was trying to show interest.” My voice broke. It was everything I had inside me not to breakdown in a flood of tears and let every emotion running through me overtake all control.

My fingers gently caressed the smooth page of the magazine as I flipped to the next page, a small attempt at finding something else to focus on. But once the page turned and it fell softly revealing the next, the bold red words plastered across the top of the page caught me. It was the final chop to my emotional tree, already on the verge of tipping over. It read, Communication Is Key to A Successful Marriage.

The tears fell at first in small drips onto the words, smearing the black ink. No longer could I fight the force pushing at me from within. So I gave in and allowed the full force of loneliness, pain and distress that I had been holding back for years to release like a dam, which blurred my vision and clouded my mind. I didn’t notice my husband stand up, I didn’t notice him walk over to me and sit down beside me, I didn’t notice the tears in his eyes, but I did feel his tender touch on my shoulder and I felt the power of a God who loved me more than I could imagine opening up a line of communication for us through a article in a magazine.

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This article has been read 469 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Sullivan 12/23/10
A very touching story and one that many of your readers will recognize. Great job.
Fern Brown12/23/10
Psalm 34:18a The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart... so many people don't find a solution because they don't know God. Very good and very touching. God bless you in your writing for Him. Merry Christmas!
Mildred Sheldon12/24/10
How many sit silent holding in hurts that should never be held in to fester and cause grief. You did an outstanding job with your story in portraying how married couples drift apart.Thank you for a very poignant story.
Brenda Rice 12/25/10
This is well written and so right on topic. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas
Michael Throne12/26/10
Good story. I was afraid that you would leave us hanging without any hint of closure, which, I'm sure, reflects reality far too often. Instead, you gave us hope.

Nice job. This was a well written piece.
diana kay12/27/10
a very well written and gripping piece. you describe so well the atmosphere and the unfolding of the story as the pages of the Good Housekeeping magazine are turned :-)
i am glad you ended with a glimmer of hope.
I think this deserves a place on the winners board..... but we have to wait a week or two to see if the judges agree with me
Sarah Heywood12/29/10
What a tender story! I could feel your MC's anguish. So happy that the husband's heart softened at the end and possibly opened the door for some healing communication. Keep writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/29/10
This is absolutely beautiful. I feel like you have been peeking into my own windows. Thanks for the timely reminder that a marriage takes a lot work.
Cheryl Harrison12/30/10
Shellie - congrats on your placing. Your MC's raw emotion was evident. Great job!
diana kay12/31/10
well done and they did agree!!