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

TITLE: Return
By Amy Michelle Wiley


The sound of the knock carried no premonition of coming change. Even when Mejikia opened the door and saw the military uniform of the man beyond, she did not yet realize. For indeed, nearly all men wore it these days. All of the men who had lived through the war, that is.

The silence lasted long enough that Mejikia raised her eyes slightly and murmured, “May I help you?”

“Tva Mejikia.” Her name. That was all he said.

She dared raise her eyes to his. She found something in their depths that gave her pause, gave her the first hint of what was happening. Yet still it was not enough.

The man’s shoulders sagged. “It is I, Tva Pten.”

Her husband.

Two emotions sprang out of Mejikia’s heart, stronger than all the others, strong enough to make her freeze. The first was embarrassment, shame that her own husband had been forced to tell her his name before she knew him. The more prevalent was shock.

She stepped back to let him pass in. Only when he stooped to pick up his bag did she notice the luggage. He stepped through the door, lay his bag on the floor. Prepared to stay.

Of course she had known this day would come. But yet it had not. For so long there had been no Pten. No husband to lead the household. No father for Etan. Mejikia had been on her own for five years, doing things her own way, as she saw fit.

They stood in the middle of the tiny room, looking awkwardly at each other, at the walls. She ought to say something, welcome him. Nothing came to her lips.

Something behind her caught his gaze. She turned to find young Etan standing in the hall, staring at them. “Your son.” She answered the question in Pten’s eyes.

She called the boy to her. “This is your father, Etan.” This stranger had come to be a parent to a child he hadn’t known he had. To join their lives. Mejikia held her son tightly. Would this man take over, change everything?

Pten knelt and smiled, showing a trace of the boyish man from Mejikia’s faded memory. Etan greeted him politely, looking to his mum for answers she didn’t have. Pten reached out fingers to touch the boy’s fine dark hair.

His fingers brushed hers. She was surprised at the memories the simple touch caused. Tentative passion that first month of marriage; that only month of marriage. Appreciation in his eyes when he first had seen her on their wedding day. Friendship that had begun to form.

“I thought perhaps you would be with your mother and family.” He looked at her. “Have you been alone all this time?”

Mejikia wished she knew how to read him. Was he disapproving that she had not stayed in a family unit as the cultural norm, or happy to have found her here? She shrugged slightly. “The train tracks were destroyed. They’ve only just opened.”

“Yes, that’s why I was delayed.” He looked into her eyes. She could feel him searching, wanting her to want him. Needing confirmation of their relationship.

Relationship. What relationship did they really have? Four short weeks five long years ago. Was that enough? It would have to be. Culture dictated. And yet, Mejikia wanted more than a culturally mandated union. She found his eyes, and deep in her heart she found the answer to his unasked question.

Mejikia smiled. “Welcome home.”

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This article has been read 1973 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan04/26/07
For some reason this makes me cry, and I'm not an emotional person :) Beautifully written - you captured each second of their reunion so incredibly well - fantastic writing!
Lynda Schultz 04/27/07
Yes, this creates powerful images and emotions and leaves me wanting to know more details. Well done.
Sherrie Jackson04/28/07
Wow, I love how this was written with such restraint - there could have been a ton of emotions involved but you choose to stay at a distance, and I think that really helped to bring the reader into the culture. (For that reason, I don't think you needed the phrase "as the cultural norm"; you had already sucked us completely in)

I also like how this is a different perspective on what happens when a long-gone love returns home. That surprise alone makes this story great. Excellent job!
Rita Garcia04/30/07
This is why you are in Master's!!!! Fantastic story, told with such grace and perception!
Jan Ackerson 04/30/07
This was so beautiful, so personal and intimate, that I almost felt shy reading it, as if I were eavesdropping on her heart. Perfect.
Joanne Sher 04/30/07
So vivid and "heart-tearing" - I can't even imagine being in a situation like this. Great description.
Dara Sorensen04/30/07
I like romances set in other cultures ~_^

The only thing I would have left out was the short little sentence saying "culture dictated." Also some of your sentences seemed a bit abrupt and could have been combined. But it's nothing major; the story was great and the emotions were depicted very well!
Pat Guy 04/30/07
This was almost perfect. If it was stronger on topic (for me)it would have been. I think you have captured effortlessly the tragedy of many military families.

Esther Gellert05/01/07
This brought tears to my eyes. I found myself experiencing every one of her emotions as I read it.
Jacquelyn Horne05/02/07
I'm not familiar with where this might have happened, but I assume that it was during some wartime. The story is good, I just would have liked a little more early setting. But others may be more familiar with the names that are foreign to me. The story plot is very good.
Sara Harricharan 05/02/07
I really like the names here. They fit the piece so well and especially the way in which me see the story unfolding...it's nice. At the end, I wasn't quite sure if the husband hadn't returned because of the broken tracks or he was in service. Mayhap I am just dense though, very well done.
Cheri Hardaway 05/02/07
I knew the names were from culture, but I wasn't sure the setting still wasn't a more familiar culture to me, until late in the story. For that reason, it made it hard for me to believe that she had no idea that this was her husband, that he wouldn't have at least gotten word to her of his return. But as the story unfolded, it became clear. And I'm sure with more than 750 words, you could have elaborated more. You captured the emotions of this young wife beautifully. Well done. Cheri
Cheri Hardaway 05/02/07
Speaking of limited word usage... My first comment should read: I knew the names were from ANOTHER culture... Sorry.
Edy T Johnson 05/11/07
Absolutely beautiful! Just a brief moment in this romance, but what a lot of history and anticipation for the future you were able to convey. I am quite impressed and excited for your writing future!

I also want to tell you how much I appreciate your commenting on my "Sparrow" story, Sparrow! Thank you!