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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)

TITLE: Inseparable Vines
By Loren T. Lowery


Sadie Detlor, a widow, slipped out of the assisted living facility unnoticed. Lovingly placed there a year ago by her four children, she was now aboard a bus, going home, running away.

Soon the bus pulled over and stopped at a long stretch of dirt road that ended at a farmhouse at the top of a hill. “Detlor Road,” the busman cried.

Easing out of the bus, Sadie stood alone on the hot blacktop. A gush or warm wind billowed her dress. A black and white For Sale sign, next to the dirt road swung and creaked in the air.

Four dogwoods, each planted at the birth of her children, bloomed and shaded the road. White dandelion spores danced over the red dirt like winter snow fairies.

Sadie breathed the sweet smell of hay lingering in the June air and a smile whispered across her lips. She squinted up to the abandoned farmhouse some 300 yards in the distance. It appeared faded, drained of color. The wide, Victorian porch, once a proud pristine-white had turned an ash-gray. A clematis that once climbed its lattice appeared parched and dead.

Her heart raced as she drew near, eyes darting from door to windows, ears keened to the slightest noise. But no shadows darkened any portal and no sound escaped from behind the walls. Void and stillness, indifferent companions of loss, embraced her as she passed a cracked, dried birdbath and ascended to the porch.

Wearied, Sadie rested on the top step, its clapboards groaning a welcome to her slight frame. A bramble from the trailing clematis teased her hair. Brushing it away, she was pulled back sixty years to a few weeks after her wedding day.

“I planted the clematis as a trellis,” Frank, her husband said, “to shade the porch. When they bloom they’ll smell of vanilla, like you.” He wiped mud on his coveralls and a smile crossed his handsome, sunburned, face. “They’re pink, your favorite color. When they bloom it’ll make the house look as if it’s blushing – like you on our wedding day.” He teased.

Sadie blushed and he jumped up on the porch to twirl her in his arms. “Why Sadie Detlor, that’s not all because we’ll be getting a birdbath to place there,” he pointed to the walkway,” so birds, can drink and bath and feel protected in the thicket of the clematis vines.”

“Robins?” Sadie asked. “It’s the first sign of spring, you know.”

Frank turned her to snuggle in his arms. “Of course robins; and we’ll have kids and our home will be like this vine.” He rocked her gently. “Setting down roots to provide shade and protection. Our love will be like its branches, intertwined, dense and inseparable. And its bloom,” he paused, searching for words, “will all come from you.”

She turned to him, eyes moist. “You are such a poet, Frank Detlor, how lucky a woman am I?”

Frank removed his hat and came down on one knee. “Sadie Detlor, my Queen, I am the lucky one. Your love stirs these words in me. And, as surely as this vine lives to protect and provide so to I vow our love will never die.”

Sadie pulled him up with a long kiss. “I love you, Frank Detlor, my King,” she said.

“Course your helping carry water from that noisy old water pump out back will be greatly appreciated.” He laughed.

On their first anniversary, they bought a birdbath to set along the walk. Soon birds came to drink and bath in the cool water while making nests in the growing vines. And, likewise, their family grew.

Sadie smiled and opened her eyes to the memory. But the tears came and her shoulders trembled as she glanced the emptiness and quiet around her. Solitude, once a gentle companion, cloaked her in a shroud of anguish, stealing light, corrupting hope.

But then a noise, gentle as whisper rent the dark veil. She followed the sound with her eyes and saw a robin flitting within the dried vines. And then another sound, distant, but more familiar - the water pump, creaking out back. She held her breath, to the sound of unforgotten footsteps. Her heart raced; and then finally a voice, “Sadie, my Queen…”

Sadie’s oldest daughter found her mother’s body that evening Later she would tell how at peace her mother appeared on the porch of her home, shaded by the flowering pink clematis, alive with robins singing within its dense, inseparable vines

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This article has been read 1468 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Pamela Kliewer04/26/07
Wow. This is really good. You told it well. The end brought quick tears to my eyes.

I think bath should be bathe and you left a period out here: Sadie’s oldest daughter found her mother’s body that evening Later

Overall, I really liked this piece. Made me think of my husband and me.
Marita Vandertogt04/27/07
Wow... this is really good. You touched on so many of the senses - sight, sound, smell... drawing the reader into her experience. Left me with a feeling of sadness, but that's what good writing is all about - affecting the reader in some way.
Well done.
Cathy Kane04/28/07
Make that a triple Wow! What a love story! Very romantic and beautifully written. I loved it!

Verna Cole Mitchell 04/28/07
What a sweet love story! Your descriptions are superb!
Julie Arduini04/29/07
Kind of reminded me of the book/movie The Notebook. I thought the descriptions and emotions were outstanding. This is one solid piece of writing!
Ginger Piroch04/29/07
I am new to faithwriters and I am really enjoying it! Inseparable vines is an amazing story. Wow, there really aren't words!
Sheri Gordon04/30/07
Beautifully written. Excellent descriptive words/phrases -- I could "see" everything. Great job.
Jan Ackerson 04/30/07
A seamless transition to the flashback, and wonderful words and phrases make this a top-notch piece of writing! Love the title and the last sentence, too.
Myrna Noyes05/01/07
Very sweet, romantic story with wonderful atmosphere! It kind of reminded me of the movie "Trip to Bountiful." Excellent writing, and I loved the touching ending! :)
Jacquelyn Horne05/01/07
Lovely romantic memory story. Good writing.
Betty Castleberry05/02/07
Beautifully told story of timeless love. Your descriptions were wonderful. Thumbs up.
Sara Harricharan 05/02/07
Okay. You made me cry. Not fair. lol. This is so beautiful! I love the flashback, the dialouge between the husband-wife and especially the 'vines'. You did a wonderful job with this! Good luck with the judging! ^_^
Cheri Hardaway 05/02/07
A beautiful love story. Your descriptions are superb. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I thought maybe it would end as it did, but it still made me teary. Nice work, Cheri
Joanne Sher 05/02/07
Gorgeous and heart-wrenching. Gave me chills!
Pat Guy 05/02/07
Yes - you did an awesome job of putting us there with all the sights, sounds, smells and emotions. All that a great story should have!Very, very good!
Sara Harricharan 05/03/07
Leigh MacKelvey05/03/07
Excellant! Congratulations ! 1st Place... wow!
Sharlyn Guthrie05/03/07
Congratulations! I was one of the judges this week, and your entry made me cry. Then I read it to my husband, and we both got choked up! Your win is well-deserved!
Myrna Noyes05/03/07
CONGRATULATIONS on a well-deserved win, my friend!! :) I am doing the "Happy Dance" in your honor!! This was an awesome story, and I am thrilled it made first place in Advanced and SECOND in the EC! WOW!! Isn't this your third EC win? If so, it is on to Masters for you!! :D
Linda Germain 05/03/07
A well-deserved win! Excellent writing.(Are there still a few men like Frank left in this world? sigh...)
Cheri Hardaway 05/03/07
Congratulations on your EC placement! This was a beautiful piece. Blessings, Cheri
Marilee Alvey05/03/07
Nathan, this was a BEAUTIFUL story. It happens that I just put my mother-in-law in assisted living today...and she's cried all day to go back to her home. This was just so touching. Wow! I cried for Sadie and I cried for my mother-in-law. I also saved a few tears for myself! Fantastic job. A well deserved win!
Catrina Bradley 06/23/08
Applause applause! I read this entry to see the flashback, but had to leave a comment on how much I enjoyed your beautiful writing and this emotional romance. (Oh, and great use of the flashback too.)