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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Singing (10/31/05)

TITLE: Imprisoned Heart
By Mary Lang
11/03/05


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Kate’s rich, sweet voice drifted in soft waves out of the house. I lurched to peer through the door, blinking hard to focus on my wife’s small frame swaying to the music she created. She was crooning a melancholy tune and, even in my stupor, the sadness in her tone sent shivers down my spine. I tried to enjoy this rare treat because I hadn’t heard her sing in months.

“She’s havin a g’day,” I mumbled as I rubbed my temples. “I’d too .. if it weren’t .. for this … damned headache.”

I reached for my third vodka cola of the morning, hoping to stem the onslaught of the throbbing I knew was coming. It was only eleven o’clock.

I took a long draft, swallowed hard, and enjoyed the coolness sliding down my throat. I knew it was only minutes before the concoction would assuage the drumming in my head.

I was right. I started feeling bett--- Ohh! What the…?.

My world started spinning, slowly my right knee gave way. I put my hand down … couldn’t feel my left leg. Somehow I remained upright, leaning against the door. My feet were splayed out like those of an old sway-back plow horse. Hearing Kate’s voice, guilt pricked my conscious.

…still gotta pick up dog poo … Where’n hell’s the … scoop …

I slowly turned toward the shed. It seemed so far away. Not clear how far. I stared, trying to focus my eyes. Shuffling my feet, I began to, what I thought was walk.

… guess I’ll … take … lil’bit … slower.

The shed seemed to be moving as darkness swirled around my eyes. There were bright stars popping as the darkness encroached. My vision tunneled; I felt hot pokers stabbing my brain. Then the blackness took over.

I lay completely still, my eyes closed remembering the blackness that had enveloped me. Though my eyelids were too heavy to open, I detected shades of light. It was effortless to just lie quietly and listen.

I heard a gentle whoosh-swish near my head. I could feel my body, but couldn’t move any part of it. I felt no pain. There was something covering my nose and mouth, yet it was oddly comforting. I lay there drifting in and out of consciousness, hearing low voices.

“Look at him Kate,” I heard someone say.

I strained to identify the voice.
“He’s draining the life out of both of you,” it accused. “Every day you wake up you hope he’ll realize the power of the disease that’s got him. And every day your hopes are shot to hell.”

I listened for Kate’s melodic voice, but the other, the irritating one continued.

“Save yourself, Kate. Get out of this relationship. I’ve watched you shrivel up, shutting down your talent more and more,” the grating voice rasped. “For God’s sake, Kate, you don’t even sing anymore.”

Even my sedated brain could register the advice the grating voice issued.

No, Kate! Don’t listen.

”Watching what he’s been doing to his health and your spirit is like watching you imprisoned. Your heart is being chained up tighter and tighter caught in the downward spiral of his disease,” the dreadful voice rebuked.

I struggled to hear Kate’s response to the ugly, harsh voice of reason. I needed to see Kate, to tell her I could make our life together better.

Kate,… I am … sorry.

There was an annoying beeping in my ears that grew incessantly faster. The whoosh-swish sound near my head rapidly grew louder. I felt suffocated. I couldn’t move.

How can I… wipe the sadness from your heart? I… didn’t mean to… crush your spirit. … Please … Forgive me?

I tried to open my eyes to see my wonderful Kate. I had to tell her – I did understand the depth of the pain that I had caused.

I struggled to open my eyes –damn, it’s hard - a flicker, then a slit. The window opened just enough, and my soul floated into profoundly knowing eyes. Comforted, I registered the love and forgiveness there.

Kate … Let go of the me you knew. … Be free. … I have to let you go… I know now …

An imprisoned heart cannot sing.


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This article has been read 919 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/08/05
This is tough, realistic, and powerfully written...and so sad.
Gabrielle Morgan11/08/05
"Imprisoned Heart" was a gripping read. I very much liked your ending with the realisation that the alcoholic must
show his love for Kate by letting her go. A sensitive work, I felt.
Alexandra Wilkin11/10/05
This is beautiful, truly beautiful. God bless.
Ann Grover11/10/05
You captured the rippling effects of alcoholism... on oneself and those around. Tragic and true.