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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Key (02/14/13)

TITLE: An Open Heart
By Kathy Kinzig


Robbie was sitting in Advanced Algebra class, his mind wandering to Ashley who was sitting to his left. Ashley was the girl all the guys wanted to go out with—and most of them had—except for Robbie who couldn’t muster the courage to ask her out. Today, though, he would find the courage, and then he could find out for himself what all the other guys were talking about.

As he sat thinking of what would happen when she said “yes”, Mrs. Hart from the school office opened the door and motioned to Mr. Pence to step outside. A minute later Mr. Pence returned. “Robbie, could you please come here,” he said as he clapped his hand on Robbie’s shoulder and walked him into the hall.

There stood Robbie’s aunt. “Robbie,” Aunt Carol said with a quivering voice. “Your dad has been in an accident and is in the hospital. I have come to take you to him. He wants to see you. Honey, it’s very serious.”

Robbie’s internal panic button went off. “Not again,” he thought. Just a little over a year ago his mother was in an accident and died.

He and his aunt walked to the car. Few words were said.

When they arrived at the hospital he was taken into the ER where several people were attending to his dad. Robbie peered between the professionals to see his dad—face swollen and bloodied.
Aunt Carol approached the one man who appeared to be the doctor. He stepped to the side with her and Robbie.

“You are Rob Junior?” the doctor asked.

“Yes, sir,” Robbie said in shock as he continued to look at his dad who just hours ago had dropped him off at school, filled with life and discussing last night’s game.

“Robbie, your dad has had a bad accident and has suffered severe internal injuries. There isn’t much we can do for…”

“Doctor,” the nurse interrupted. “Mr. Martin heard his son’s voice and wants to talk to him. I think he should come over now.”

Robbie hurried to his dad’s bedside and looked at him, a tear streaming down his face.

“Son, I don’t have much time.” He paused and struggled for breath. “Robbie, get my keys and take the one marked ‘Rob’. Aunt Carol will tell you…” He paused again, almost losing consciousness. “Your mother and I have taught you well. Remember… I love you, son,” he managed to say before he slipped away.

The next week was all too familiar to Robbie. He was in a daze as he and Aunt Carol made plans to bury Rob Senior. Robbie had taken his dad’s keys that the hospital released to him and had put them in his back pack. In all of the chaos and planning he forgot about the keys until a couple of weeks later when they fell out in the hallway at school.

That night he asked Aunt Carol about the key marked “Rob.” She looked at it and reached inside her purse and showed Robbie an identical key marked “Carol”.

“Robbie, this key was given to your Dad from his dad before he died. Your Dad was about your age at that time. He gave one to me as well. See”, she said as she reached into her purse and pulled out the key. “It’s the key to happiness. “

“But, what does the key go to?” Robbie asked.

“Ahh, the key goes to your heart. The key unlocked your heart when your dad gave it to you. If you keep your heart open, it will guide you in your life decisions—who you date, where you go to school, what career you select and the friends you choose. Your grandpa gave your and me our keys and our hearts have been opened, and because of that yours is too. Take it, Robbie. Keep it with you. Your mother and dad taught you well and this key will keep your heart unlocked to receive the blessings they have passed down to you.”

Robbie looked at the key. His cell phone chimed indicating a new text. It was Ashley, “My parents just left for the weekend…come on by…they left wine…great party,” the text read.

Robbie looked at the key. He looked at the text. “Aunt Carol, what’s for supper tonight?” he asked as he hit the erase button on the phone.

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This article has been read 186 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chris Goglin 02/22/13
Hello! You seem to have a gift for writing fiction! I really enjoyed reading this! Except for the "your" which needed to be "you" close to the end.....it was great!

Chris Goglin
Judith Gayle Smith02/24/13
Most enjoyable!
C D Swanson 02/24/13
Nice job with this entry. I enjoyed it so much. Thanks.
God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/26/13
Oh you did a really nice job on this one. You had me leaning forward eager to capture every word. I'm a tad torn about the opening. part of me wants to say maybe you should have started with more of a grabber and had the teacher take Rob out into the hall in the beginning and then on the way to the hospital Robbie could have thought about the girl. Normally, I'd be quite certain that it would be better to start off with the bigger attention grabber, but your ending was so exquisite. It brought the reader full circle. I'm not sure the ending would have had as big of an impact had you started it differently. So I guess what I'm trying to say in all of this is great job!! I really loved the ending on this. I don't get surprised too often and you did a great job with it. I think you covered the topic and did a fantastic job. I hope my words will make you thin for future stories but i think you made the right choice on this beginning. :)
Alicia Renkema02/27/13
Did you mean to say in that one spot at the end, "Your grandpa gave me and your dad our keys...?" That way it makes sense. Anyway, except for the tad of confusion there this piece was really well done. It was very engaging. So normal for a teen to be thinking of the opposite sex in class... I thought that was perfect, like Shann said especially with the way you had the ending. I loved the moral at the end. I just felt bad for this kid loosing both parents so close together. I found myself wondering / hoping that his aunt Carol was going to adopt him. Great job!