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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Blog (10/20/11)

TITLE: The Empty Chair


“It has been years, 20 at least, since your brother left. I know he’s alive.”

“How can you know, Mom?”

“My heart tells me he’s alive.”

“My heart tells me he’s dead.”

“Please, don’t say that.” Mom gives me a little peck on my cheek.

“Your efforts to find him have been unsuccessful.” I offer her my opinion.

“One day, he’ll come home. You mark my words.” She sits on her chair and turns back to her crochet.

Mom continues to crochet. She is now 85 years old, her hair is completely white, the lines on her face are much more pronounced but her eyes are still alive. Twenty years is a long time to wait for the return of a son.

Every day she reads the newspaper from cover to cover, searching for my brother; analyzing contents of news stories, even strange stories from other countries. When she’s done with the paper, she goes directly to her blog and sends out messages that is meant for my brother. Her blog contains heart-warming words like, “Benny, it’s Mom again. Do you remember when you were little, climbing your tree house that Dad built in the backyard?”

That’s all she says in her blog, one memory at a time of his boyhood at home. Mom reckons if my brother is in a hospital and has no idea who he is, may be her blog would find its way to him.

“How did you know about blogging, Mom?” I am puzzled how she quickly started blogging.

“Darling, there are blogs every where. I became fascinated with the word and decided to do a research.”

“So, that’s why you bought a computer?”

“Of course, my dear. It’s a very interesting way to know about neighbors, foreigners, and even people who get lost.”

Mom stays up late most nights, going through her blog, scrutinzing other blogs, and sending out messages, all for my brother. She seems to have found a second life, just blogging and reading blogs. I have a suspicion she will dedicate the rest of her life to find my brother.

One day I got home from work and found Mom very excited.

“What’s up, Mom?”

“I think I found your brother!”

“Where, when, how?”

“I read a message at someone’s blog that sounded like it came from your brother.”

“What did the message say?”

“It said, ‘I’m lost and unable to remember who I am. Can anyone help?’”

“That could be from any body, Mom.”

“No, no, I’m sure it’s from your brother. I took a chance and answered his blog. I’m waiting for his reply.”

“Oh, Mom, you’re just going to be disappointed again.”

“No, no, sweetheart, I’m sure this is your brother.”

“Do you think he’ll remember you at your chair, crocheting?”

“The last time he said goodbye I was crocheting.”

Weeks and months pass; then a year, two years, five more years. Still Mom continues to wait, to read, and to blog. She still crochets but her fingers are starting to gnarl with arthritis. Her eyes are still alive but there are moments when I look at her and I catch her wipe a tear or two from her eyes. She doesn’t say much any more although she still reads the paper, goes to the library to go over magazines, and continues to blog, one memory at a time, one loving remembrance of a boy’s life at a time.

One day there is a knock at the door.

“Yes, who is it?” I stand behind the closed door.

“It’s Benny, I am home!” His voice sounds young.

“Benny who?” I am trembling with excitement. Can it be my brother at last?

“Benny March!” He practically shouts his name.

I open the door. I spread my arms to hug him. Then I stop. I rub my eyes, once, twice. I stare hard at the man looking down at me. I see a wrinkled face, salt and pepper bushy eyebrows, stooped shoulders, and a man as thin as a bamboo tree. His hair is completely white but his eyes resemble that of Mom’s, alive.

“Well, how about a hug, little sister? Does Mom still crochets?”

When I regain my composure, I hug him. Then, I lead him to the living room. He follows with anticipation. I point at the chair that is worn, with crochet needles and yarns, newspapers and magazines spread out on the table beside it.

“The chair is empty!” He screams and falls on his knees, sobbing.

The End

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This article has been read 371 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Randy Foncree11/04/11
Very good...I enjoyed this...it really kept my interest...God bless you and thanks for sharing...
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/11
This is a great story. You pulled me in from the very beginning. I expected Benny to return home but I liked the twist in the end. (Although if I had read the title that might have given away the ending)

You had some errors here and there.Crochet instead of crocheting,messages that is instead of message that are,an extra comma. Having a challenge buddy might help with the progressing (chick the message boards.)

Also you don't need to put the words The End in. Your story had a very powerful ending andI really liked that it didn't have a typical happy ending.

You definitely covered the topic in a unique and creative way.
annie keys11/04/11
The piece is poignant with an unexpected ending. You need to watch your grammar more closely--but the story is really good. I like the way it didn't end the way I thought it would. Good job!
Deborah Rampona Oliver 11/04/11
I liked that mother never gave up looking and never gave up hope. I enjoyed the ending too. I thought maybe the middle got a little bogged down with the word 'blog' and wonder if finding another way of describing it would lighten that part of your great story.
Catherine Maher11/05/11
I wonder why the brother waited so long to return. Was that the first he read her blog?
I enjoyed this and it touched my heart. So many of us have family members "missing" that we pray will come home.
Thanks for sharing.
Kristine Baker11/06/11
The story pulled me in, but left me wondering about Benny too much at the end, especially since you wrote "The End".
C D Swanson 11/06/11
This was a good story with a lot of emotional upheavals throughout.

It pulled on my heart strings, and I too wondered why it took so long for him to return. I would love to see a follow up as to what "transpired" to make him stay away as long as he did.

Nice job! God bless~
Mildred Sheldon11/06/11
What a poignant story. It grabbed me at the opening and held my attention to the end. You did an outstanding job and I to would love to know why it took Benny so long to go home.
djvenzke Venzke11/08/11
Wow. Quite the abrupt and surprise ending. The blogging part seemed forced, more an intrusion than a conveyer of the plot, to my taste. Loved the persistence of the mother and that it paid off. I don't feel bad for her that her 'chair was empty' of course, because she was able to watch the homecoming from 'beyond this life." Still, I was left wondering what the son had done to deserve the tragic nature of his return or what actually brought it about. I know, with the word limit it is hard to touch all the bases.
Hiram Claudio11/10/11
I really enjoyed this story on so many levels. I didn't think the blog was an intrusion ... it seemed a natural part of the story to me. I was moved by the mother's persistent and stubborn optimism to see her son again.

The story flowed so easily. It made me want to know more about the brother's travels and what happened that had him leave home to begin with. Very nice work!
Glynis Becker11/12/11
I enjoyed this and wish that there was more! I'd love to know what Benny was doing and where he was during the missing time and what prompted the return. The sadness at the end is real and reminds me that so many moms and dads wait for the return of a prodigal. Nicely done!
Nancy Bucca11/13/11
Very enjoyable read until the end. Then ouch! The empty chair. I felt as if a door had just been slammed in my face. The mom's absence at the end seemed to call for a little more explanation. But oh, what a surprise.