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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)

TITLE: Promise With A Letter
By Tisha Martin


Lincoln, Illinois, 1943

My father and I were always very close. Since my mother died when I was young, I had no one else to rely on but my father. I adored my Dad. He was my whole world. We did everything together; he even played dolls with me. He read books and comforted me when I was lonely or sick. He taught me about God and how He died for us our sins. And he wore this cologne that smelled wonderful, and I wondered if it had been Mom’s favorite.

America was in the middle of a war when the letter came. My father was sad for days after reading the letter. He wouldn’t tell me what it said, but I knew it was not good. I tried to ask him what was wrong and he would only stare at me for the longest of time, then pull me into a huge hug and hold me close.

I returned home from school to find he was not home from work. My thoughts immediately turned to the letter and I decided to go into his room to see if I could find it. It was resting on top of the dresser.

My reflection caught in the mirror and I shied away from it, knowing I was prying into private business. But I couldn’t help it. Why was this letter making my Dad so sad? My heart beat like drums as I reached for the envelope. The pounding died as the return address seized my attention.

‘United States War Department. Local Draft Board.’

I needed no further answers. The envelope slipped from my trembling grasp. I glanced in the mirror as tears cascaded down my cheeks and tears dripped off of my nose. My lips quivered. Blindly I threw myself down on my Dad’s bed, sobbing bitterly.

Oh, Lord, I don’t want him to go away. Please let him stay here. I don’t want to be alone. Please . . . don’t let him leave.

There was a scuffle of shoes at the door. I sat up, tears streaming down my face. My father was standing in the door way with his Fedora hat in his hands. I wiped my face.

“Why are you crying?” he asked gently in a voice that told me he knew.

I stared down at the letter on the floor then looked at him. His trusting blue eyes grabbed my attention.

He picked up the draft notice, holding it carefully in his hands. “Honey,” he said as he sat beside me, “I’m sorry. In the midst of war, things like this happen.”

“I don’t want you to leave, Dad,” I struggled out, my voice turning into sobs again.

“Oh, baby, I don’t want to go any more than you want me to but I have to. I’ve been drafted—

I burst into fresh tears and covered my face with my hands. He pulled me close. My arms latched around his neck fearfully. “What’s going to happen to me?” I sobbed. “I don’t want to be alone.”

“I’ve arranged for you to stay with the Clark’s. Listen— his calm voice soothed my soul “—we can write each other. It won’t be so bad.” He gently let go of me, lifting my chin up so I faced him.

I searched his trembling yet loving face and noticed he was trying hard not to cry. “What if you never come back?”

“Don’t worry about that,” he replied, raising his eyebrows. “God’s in control and He will take care of both of us.”

Several days later, we were standing on the platform, waiting for the train to arrive. The train whistle blared as it clacked into the station. I clung to my father’s arm. “You promise to write?” My voice sounded weak to my own ears.

He grabbed me in a tight embrace, and I buried my face in his coat. I smothered a wet-teared kiss on his cheek. “I love you, Daddy.” My heart crumbled as I watched him board the train. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I waved goodbye.

Months later, an envelope appeared on my bed. As I picked it up, I sank into the mattress, clutching it close to my heart. The wonderful aroma from the envelope reached my nostrils through the envelope and loosened the anxiety that had built inside. It was the smell that connected me with my father. I felt as though he were standing right beside me.

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This article has been read 1201 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany11/01/05
Flowed nicely and good dialogue! I could feel her sorrow! I might suggest dropping the AND at the beginning of a sentence:) Thanks!
Jan Ackerson 11/02/05
Very nice--thanks!
Garnet Miller 11/02/05
Many today also feel the same sadness as this young child. War is never nice or easy. This piece touched my heart. Thank you:)
dub W11/03/05
Well written, as I read this I wonder if the same feelings flowed with mothers who have watched their sons and daughters go off to war. blessings - dub
Nina Phillips11/03/05
I really liked your story, good feelings and sad. However, if you notice in your descriptions, "the tears cascading down her cheeks" for instance--was not necessary to "repeat" on the following line--and
"the tears dripping off her nose." Could have been one sentence. Somethings I also need work on (LOL) Good job!
God bless ya, littlelight
Laurie Glass 11/03/05
I was getting tears in my eyes as I read this. Nice job.
Rachel Burkum11/03/05
I don't cry - but I am now. I could picture myself saying goodbye to my stepfather, and I felt the emotion all the way through. The bitter sweetness isn't easy to handle. Nicely written. Thank you.
Karen Ward11/04/05
Your writing conveyed realistic feelings from both the Dad and the child. Very real and very sad. Well done. :) Karen
Marilyn Schnepp 11/04/05
The story had me in tears; but it needs some excess words edited out to make it more compact...but great story.
Kell-Ann Hoyte11/06/05
A very heartrending story
Michelle Burkhardt11/06/05
sweet title with a sweet story. Sometimes it makes you wonder why some people seem to have more sad events than others. A touching piece. Nice Job.
Deborah Porter 11/07/05
Tisha, it was delightful to see you in the winners' list! Congratulations on your 5th Place in the Editors' Choice, and your 3rd place in the Level 2 awards. Time to move up to Level 3. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Laurie Glass 11/07/05
Congrats! I'm so happy for you!