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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)

TITLE: A Time for Silence
By Jamie Driggers


My roommate Kim was brushing her teeth when she heaved and vomited into the sink. I burst out laughing. “Man, I’ve gagged on my toothbrush before, but it never made me puke.”
Kim’s glare bounced through the mirror to me.
“Okay, sorry. I just thought it was funny.”

That night, Kim knocked on my doorframe.
I smiled up at her. “Since when do you knock before you enter? Come in.”
“I’m pregnant.” I dropped my soda and it rolled around in a circle leaving a trail of fizz on the carpet.
“Oh, Kim…”
“I’m having an abortion.”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes I am.”
“You can’t.”
“I have to!” She threw her hands up in exasperation. “This is why I didn’t tell you.”
“You didn’t tell me because you know it’s wrong and you didn’t want me to tell you so?”
“I didn’t tell you because I knew you would talk me out of it.”
“You got that right.”
“Oh, Joy, clean up your soda and go back to your innocent life.” She stomped out of the room and slammed her door.
“Kim.” I followed her, but when I tried the knob it was locked. Kim blasted her stereo. “Come on, you know I’ll just get a bobby pin and pick the lock. Talk to me.” I rattled the knob and rapped my knuckles on the hollow door. “Kim?” No answer. I went to get the bobby pin.
When I came back, Kim was standing in her doorway with her arms folded. “I can’t believe you would pick my lock. You are priceless.”
We stared at each other as strains of Dixie Chicks wailed out of Kim’s room. I broke first. “Did they just say Earl was in the trunk?”
“He deserves to be there you know.”
“What about Jimmy?”
“He said he won’t marry me.”
“Before or after you….”
“Don’t start, Joy.”
“He knows?”
“He knows.” She turned and flopped onto her bed. I flopped beside her, wrapped her in my arms and gave the typical friend response, “Jerk.”
“Yeah, you are.”
After a pillow soaking cry, Kim became angry. “He isn’t ready to grow up.”
“Who is?”
“No, that’s what he said. ‘I’m not ready to grow up, Kim. If I get married, my parent’s will quit sending me money.’”
“What, he only wanted to play adult for a while? Screw his girlfriend, pick up a check from Mommy?”
“Stop it, Joy.”
There was a long silence.
Finally Kim’s breathing deepened and became regular. “Are you sleeping?”
No reply.
“Are you faking?”
No reply.
I turned off her light and crept out of the room.

“Will you go to the clinic with me?” Kim spoke around her Lucky Charms. I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation between bites of a children’s cereal.
“No. But I’ll take you to the Crisis Pregnancy Center.”
“I’m serious.”
“Me, too.”
“They’ll just try to talk me out of it.”
“Uh, huh.”
She slammed the door on her way out of the apartment.

The conversation continued during commercial breaks of Thursday night TV. “You are as unbending as he is.”
“I’m sure we both feel strongly. Why does he care?”
“He doesn’t want me to get fat.”
“You have got to be kidding.”
“If his parents came up, they would find out.”
“Maybe I’ll call and let them know that he is killing their grandchild.”
“I would never speak to you again.”
“Would it change anything?”
“I doubt it, except he would break up with me.”
“Good riddance.”
“I love him Joy.”
I resigned. “Okay.”

Kim changed her mind twenty minutes later. “I hate him.”
“Jimmy. Maybe God. Maybe both.”
“Don’t. Don’t hate either of them.”
“I hate me then.”
“Well, I love you.”
“Even if I do it?”
“Even then. But I’m not going to let you.”
Kim sighed deeply. “What will my parent’s say?”

“I can’t raise a kid by myself, Joy.”
We were walking home from class. I stopped and turned towards Kim, but she kept walking. I skipped to a jog to catch up. “You don’t have to.”
“What, are you going to help me?” Her tone was acidic.
“If I needed to, but you could place it for adoption.”
“I couldn’t give my baby away.”
“But you could kill it?”
This time she stopped. “How dare you?”
I just raised my eyebrows. Kim whipped her hair as she snapped back to the walk at a much faster clip. Not another word was spoken.

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This article has been read 845 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Karen Deikun02/21/05
An awesome entry. Not only is there a lot to think about as the conversation progresses, but it is very real.

You did well with this. The ending leaves us hanging. Although it seems that this little life is doomed, there is the hope that what was said will be taken to heart.
Maxx .02/21/05
Excellent work. This is a winner in my book.
aaron donley02/21/05
Wow. Absolutely wonderful. Great stuff. Why is this on level 2? Stop being so bashful. I've read alot of fiction in my day, and this one's got what it takes.
Mandy Houk02/21/05
Wow. Great job mixing humor with a tough subject. Hits the point hard without being preachy. I'll look for more from you!
C.L. Burden02/21/05
Wow! Great work! The dialogue kept me moving to the last line!
Christe McKittrick02/21/05
This writer has conquered a very difficult technique -- bare bones story that communicates volumes through only dialog. I could hear them speaking, it rings so true without preaching. Well done!
LaDonna Fridenmaker02/22/05
Wow...that was awesome.
You inspire me to write better. Keep it up. You are sure to be a winner!
donna robinson02/23/05
What can I say? The others have said it all!
Marion Coleman02/26/05
Hi joy!

What can I say, You are a friend until the end!

Great dialogue! Keep up the good work. Let me know if kim had the bundle of joy. Smile