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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)

TITLE: Happy in the Snow
By Charles Toscano
07/19/07


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Happy slept all day, every day, buried beneath a pile of blankets in his cold, dark room. He couldn’t get up - wouldn’t get up - until the world outside was as gloomy as within. It’d been this way for a year now.

Shivering, Happy shuffled to the window.

“Brrrrrrr,” he muttered. “It’s freezing.”

He pulled the shade aside. A streetlamp illuminated a snowy layer over sidewalk, trees, and grass.

“Wonderful,” Happy mumbled.

In the shower, Happy thought back to the night his daughter Mary was born. That night, Happy was scared. Yet when he held her in his arms for the very first time, his fear gave way to love and joy and hope! Happy was happy then.

Outside, the frigid wind took Happy’s breath away. He buttoned his coat, flipped up the collar, and buried his hands deep into the pockets.

Main Street was desolate. Happy passed Dr. Boone’s darkened office where just last year Happy and his wife Monica learned she was pregnant. They laughed and cried and skipped all the way home! Happy was happy then.

Next, Happy passed the church where just two years ago he and Monica were married. They promised each other before God, “Until death do us part”, and sealed their vow with a kiss. Happy was happy then.

But just as quickly as it had arrived, Happy’s joy turned to pain. His heart pounded; his eyes burned with tears. He looked away as he hurried past the cemetery; the cemetery where the bodies of his precious wife and child lay buried side-by-side.

Happy didn’t want to hurt anymore. It’s why he went to the pub each night. Unfortunately, he woke up every day in the same pit and the alcohol did nothing but deepen it.

Standing before the large pub window, Happy peered inside. He felt desperate to enter, but he knew that once he crossed that threshold, his relief would only be temporary, until tomorrow night.

He watched a young couple through the glass. The woman flipped her hair and smiled, exactly as his wife used to do. The grief and anguish in his heart began to push against the floodgates. He fought it back, but a single tear escaped and ran down his left cheek.

“I miss them…so…much,” he whispered. And with that revelation, he was overcome by the grief within him.

Happy turned and ran toward home. Between the blizzard and tears, however, he couldn’t see where he was going and he crashed into Pastor Greg who was salting the sidewalk in front of the church. The pastor was a great bear of a man, but no match for the ice, and they both slipped and tumbled to the ground.

“My word!” exclaimed Pastor Greg, picking himself up and reaching down to help this stranger.

“Happy? Is that you?” Pastor Greg laughed, yanking Happy to his feet. “It’s good to see you!”

Happy was distraught. “Uh…you too, Pastor. Listen, um, I-I’ve really got to be getting home…”

Pastor Greg interrupted, “It’s been about a year now since the accident, has it not?” asked Pastor Greg. “How are you?”

Tonight was the one-year anniversary of the car accident that claimed the lives of Monica and Mary; the night Happy’s world was turned upside-down when his wife and child died on that cold, snowy night.

“I gotta go.” Happy started to walk away.

Pastor Greg gently grabbed Happy by the arms and looked him straight in the eyes.

“They’re home, Happy,” he said. “They’re with God in heaven.”

Happy shook his head violently. “No! God’s a thief!” he shouted.

“I know how you feel, Happy, but God’s no thief,” replied Pastor Greg. “He loves you.”

“If God loved me, then He wouldn’t have taken my family!” screamed Happy. “You don’t know how I feel!”

Pastor Greg nodded and sat on the church steps.

“Oh Happy, I wish I didn’t,” he said quietly. “Ten years ago, my unborn child died by miscarriage.”

“But…but you’re not even married?” said Happy.

“Following the miscarriage,” continued Pastor Greg, “the doctors found the cancer in my wife that caused it. Three months later, God called my wife home, as well. You see, Happy, I do know how sad and angry you feel. I felt it, too.”

Happy sat down. In that moment, the floodgates finally opened wide.

“I miss them so much.” And Happy buried his face in his hands and sobbed uncontrollably. He cried out to the Lord and His healing began.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/20/07
Very different take on the happy topic. Though your story is sad, it's good you have the hope of healing at the end. Well written.
Joanne Sher 07/23/07
So compelling. I really liked the dialogue.