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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)

TITLE: Forget Me Not
By Rachel Rudd
06/06/06


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Rays of light dance shadows across the folded lines of her face. A mockingbird’s song resonates in the morning air as it perches on a sign bearing the word “Shalom.” The smell of breakfast slips under the door and wafts into the room. Blank pupils blink away the dawn.

“Good morning, Charlotte. Did you have a good night’s rest?” A nurse calls as the door swings open.

Who’s Charlotte?

“Charlotte, I’m going to take your blood pressure and your temperature. Then you’re going to have a nice breakfast. It’s your favorite this morning, scrambled eggs, grits, and orange juice.”

I don’t want to eat.

“Now, Charlotte, I heard your mumble of protest, but you need your strength today. Your son is coming to visit.”

My son?

“See, here he is in this picture, all dashing and handsome in his army uniform.”

My son?

“Wow, your blood pressure is excellent. You look so serene this morning. You must have really slept well. Now, how about some food?”

How do I eat?


******************************


“Alright, Charlotte. You did such a good job eating. Now, I’m going to push your chair outside so you can get some fresh air. Are you warm enough? Do you need another blanket, Charlotte?” The nurse wraps her legs in woolen warmth.

Sitting on the veranda, a breeze ruffles wisps of Charlotte’s hair. The strands of white can not recall their positions when the wind finishes its playful dance.

A man carrying a bouquet of flowers approaches her. “Hello, mom. How are you doing today?”

Who are you? Why are you kissing me?

“Sarah sends her love. Her and the kids went shopping for school clothes today. ” Michael grabs a chair and positions himself in front of Charlotte.

Who’s Sarah?

“I know how much you love it when the twins come to see you, but I wanted you all to myself today. See what I brought with me. It’s a photo album from our vacation to Canada. It was the summer after I graduated from high school. We visited Niagara Falls and you were so afraid that we would all fall in! Do you remember how much fun we had?”

No.

“Look, here’s Dad. Here he is pretending to throw you over and there you are screaming your head off with fright.”

Me?

“That night at the hotel you let us stay up until midnight so we could see the fireworks display. I remember the way you jumped every time one exploded.”

Me?

The lines crease in Michael’s forehead. “Mom, please look at me when I’m talking to you. You remember me, don’t you? Your son, Michael? I hear you mumbling, but I can’t understand what you are trying to say.”

I don’t know who you are.

A milky white void stares at Michael from his mother’s eyes.

“Mom, please talk to me. Please tell me that you love me. Tell me something. Anything.” Drops of tears water the flowers in his hand as his shoulders hunch and his head falls.

A childlike melody interrupts his grieving. Tranquility is stealing the emptiness from his mother’s face. He lays his head on her lap and her hand rhythmically pats him as she hums.

I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul,
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.



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This article has been read 771 times
Member Comments
Member Date
dub W06/08/06
Aparently you have some experience with Alzheimers - nicely done piece.
Jan Ackerson 06/08/06
Beautifully written! I love this line: ...The strands of white can not recall their positions when the wind finishes its playful dance... as if even her hair is stricken with the disease. Lovely, poignant ending.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/09/06
Such a heartwrenching story of a disease that touches so many. It was very well written and touches the very depths of the heart. Nice job.
Shari Armstrong 06/12/06
Well done - and heart breaking. It's so hard to see our loved ones like that.
Brenda Craig06/12/06
Crying now, hold on a moment. Ok, I can talk now. Lovely showing of how God's peace and presence never leaves us. The Holy Spirt always remains, and is capable of expressing the heart of God even in this condition. What a comfort. What an awesome God.
Tabiatha Tallent06/12/06
Thanks!! My grandmother suffered w/ alzheimer's and I can totally relate to her son. I thought it was beautifully written!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/12/06
Beautifully written, wonderful story.
Jessica Schmit06/12/06
This is incredible. Absolutely wonderful! WONDERFUL!!! The story was so well done. The ending was perfect. Powerful. I did find that you switched tenses a few times which distrupted the flow of the story. I really loved these two lines, "The smell of breakfast slips under the door and wafts into the room. Blank pupils blink away the dawn." wonderfully written. WOW. great, great work on this piece. Very impressed.
T. F. Chezum06/12/06
Very moving and well told story on a tough subject. Good job.
Lisa Vest06/12/06
What a beautifully written story, if this doesn't place in the top 3 I will be surprised! I think this showcases your talent as a writer...your choice of words couldn't have been any better. Awesome!
Virginia Gorg06/13/06
What a moving story - sad, poignant. Yet she remembers peace, and the giver of peace, I'm sure. Excellent.
Sharlyn Guthrie06/13/06
You did a great job of conveying the feelings of both mother and son. Sad story, but excellent writing!
Sherry Wendling06/14/06
Glorious! What a beautifully crafted picture of the indestructible human spirit, alive in God long after the brain has backfired. I could feel the love. Top-notch writing, Rachel!