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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sad (07/26/07)

TITLE: Billy's Pocket Change
By Joanne Sher


"But Mama, I can't find him." Billy groaned, skinned knees tucked into his chest and tears dripping from his dirt-streaked face.

Marietta kneeled, running her fingers through Billy's hair with one hand and wiping away his tears with the other. "I'm sure you'll find it soon. Do you want me to help you look?"

Billy nodded. Marietta stood with her arm outstretched. Billy rose and put his hand in hers. Her son's plodding forced Marietta to slow her pace as they walked toward his bedroom.

"When do you remember having it last?"

Billy sat on his bed and lowered his head. "He was in my pocket right after lunch - I know 'cuz I looked at him."

"Did you put it back in your pocket?"

He shrugged. "I think so."

Marietta sat on the floor and looked up into her son's downcast eyes. "Hey, Billy? You're not going to find it sitting on your bed."

Billy sighed. "But I've looked everywhere already. He's totally gone."

"It can't be gone, hun." Marietta looked under the bed. "Where have you been since lunch?"

"Just in my room, and I looked everywhere. He just disappeared."

"Did you go to the bathroom?" Marietta began opening Billy's desk drawers.

Billy nodded, a glimmer of hope invading his eyes. He bolted for the bathroom.

"Mom, I think..., Oh, no!"

She ran after him, finding Billy kneeling by the commode, tears flowing.

"What, sweetie?" She rubbed his back.

He tried to speak but couldn't.

"It's all right, Billy. Take a deep breath and tell me."

Turning around, he breathed deeply several times until he could speak.

"I flushed him, Mom. He must have fallen out of my pocket." Billy held up a toy car and a quarter. "These were next to the toilet, and they were in my pocket too."

Marietta sighed. There was nothing else on the bathroom floor. He was right.

"Come here, Billy."

Billy buried himself in his mother's arms and she held him, rubbing his back.

"I'm sorry, Billy. Do you want me to get another one?"

Glancing up, Billy appeared at least ten years older than any second grader had the right to look. "He won't be the same. He's gone."

Marietta closed her eyes briefly, then looked down at her son once again. "Billy, let's sit down."

The two walked to Billy's room and sat on his bed. Marietta rested her hand on his shoulder.

"I know that picture was the last one we took of you and Daddy before he died, and I am really, really sorry you lost it." Marietta cradled his chin in her hand. "But we have other pictures. You can look through the scrapbook and pick out any one you want. I can even laminate it, so it won't get bent or torn."

Billy shook his head vigorously, sliding away from his mother and turning his back to her. "It wouldn't be Daddy. I lost Daddy, Mama. I lost him!"

Marietta enveloped him in her arms. "Oh, sweetie, your daddy will always be with you. You can lose his picture - every picture - but you will still have your memories and your love. Daddy will always be with you: in your head and in your heart."

Billy sniffled, looking up at his mom with a sparkle in his eyes. "Really?"

She nodded and smiled. "And do you know what else?"


"You will get to see him again."

"I will?" Billy's eyes were filled with expectation.

"Yes, you will." Marietta grabbed both of Billy's hands. "You know where Daddy is right now, don't you?"

Billy crinkled his nose. "Um, heaven. Right?"

Marietta nodded. "And if you believe Jesus died for your sins, you will be going there too some day. And you told me the other day that you did, right?"

"Yup. So I'm going to the same heaven Daddy's at?"

Marietta giggled. "There's only one heaven, sweetheart, and we'll all be there some day. And it will be wonderful."

Billy paused a moment. "Mama, can we both just go there now? I really miss him."

She embraced her son. "Oh, Billy. God wants us to stay here for a while longer. I miss Daddy too, but we can still think about him. We can remember what a wonderful place he's in and look forward to when we will be together. Okay?"

Billy nodded and kissed Marietta on the cheek.


"Yes, Billy?"

"I think I do want another picture of Daddy. Can we look through the scrapbook?"

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This article has been read 1584 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rita Garcia08/02/07
You pulled me right into the story, and held me captive! Masterwriting all the way! Oh, and the title is perfect! Now tissue, please!

Did I foget to say I like your choice of names?
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/02/07
What a beautiful story! I loved your little boy and his wise mother.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/02/07
Awww...talk about a tear-jerker! I also thought he was talking about a frog or a (shudder) spider or something. But this was so much better! Great story-telling from beginning to end.
Catrina Bradley 08/02/07
Wonderful dialog - Billy's second-grade voice sounded perfect. Right on topic, the sadness really invades when we find out just what was in his pocket. I love the mother's reassuring answers. Great ending line. Love it! :)
Lynda Schultz 08/03/07
Wonderful story, and the reminder of all those dear people who we will see again one day, takes the edge off the sadness of their absence here. Very good.
william price08/03/07
This is sad. I could actually feel the sadness battling the victory in the writer's heart.
The opening was great with a superb visual. Very well written, with so much depth and honesty. I can't say anymore. God bless.
Dianne Janak08/03/07
aww.. this was so tender and sweet.. .trying to figure out why Billy said HIM and Mom said IT... great touching story for all ages..
Dee Yoder 08/04/07
Emotional and sad story, but the little boy's innocence is touching. When my son's Dad died, he asked me if his Daddy drove his car to Heaven! (My son was 3.) Children can struggle with understanding where Heaven is, but they recognize the hope of seeing their loved ones again.
Patty Wysong08/04/07
Tissues, please!! Wonderful writing! Very touching, with excellent descriptions. The way you used the pronoun discrepency was very effective. Hugs!!
Jan Ackerson 08/05/07
This is a perfect example of the slice-of-life sort of story that's ideally suited for our 750 word limit. Very nicely rendered!
David Butler08/05/07
Sad but uplifting. A mixture of tears and joy in this piece. Clearly shows how even the things we lose in life, both small and great, can lead to a deeper understanding of the things we have gained. Beautifully characterized.
Linda Watson Owen08/05/07
Wonderful skill in dialogue here! I feel like I really know this mom and son. Such a heartfelt entry! I want to hug that precious boy too. ;-)
Betty Castleberry08/05/07
This is so sweet, and the message is loud and clear. Like others have said, I wasn't sure what he had flushed, and *almost* didn't want to know. ;0) Visions of unfortunate tadpoles were haunting me.
Two thumbs up for this one.
Joy Faire Stewart08/06/07
Excellent storytelling with a wonderful uplifting message.
George Parler 08/06/07
You rode the edge between sadness and tenderness very well. Great job!
Dara Sorensen08/06/07
I absolutely loved this! Creative and an unexpected twist thrown in. Great job!
Kristen Hester08/07/07
This is wonderful. I loved the interaction between Billy and his mother. Very realistic. You caught me off guard when Billy lost a picture of his deceased father. I thought it was a frog or something. Very powerful moment. Great job.
Loren T. Lowery08/07/07
Tender and honest. I could see everything happening it seemed so real.
Leigh MacKelvey08/07/07
The intrique for me was in the use of "it" and "he". I liked that you kept that going for awhile before we found out "who" and "what" they referred to. Yes, sad, but not too heavy. Great job!
Janice Fitzpatrick08/08/07
WOWZA hon! First I thought the little guy had lost a frog or a bug or something and felt for him but when I realized that he had lost a photo of his daddy my heart sank. Great emotions and dialogue here! I love the hope that mom gives her young son and at the end how he decides to maybe look at another photo afterall. Well written! Hats off Joanne! Hugs, Lord bless.
Caitlynn Lowe08/08/07
Very creative title, and overall a very sweet piece. I enjoyed reading it very much! :)
Sara Harricharan 08/08/07
Oooh, you trick me here. I was thinking about a lizard or maybe a goldfish until I realized he couldn't carry a fish in his pocket. Nice job and good twist. I'm glad he decided to get another picture after all.
Sherrie Jackson08/08/07
Whoa, a ton of comments - not too much new I could add. ;-) This is beautiful. The interaction between mother and son is perfect. I feel like I could read this over and over again. Excellent job; good luck! (Here's my little joke: I will be "sad" if this doesn't place!)
LaNaye Perkins08/08/07
You captured my heart with this story. Wonderful writing my friend!
Julie Arduini08/08/07
This is exquisite writing! It was sad but not overdone. It was real, the dialogue was great, this was exceptional.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/09/07
Congratulations! This is one of my favorites of yours!
Seema Bagai 08/09/07
This is so sweet. Congrats on the win.
Jacquelyn Horne08/09/07
Wonderful, nostalgic story. Congrats on the win.
Gina Woods08/09/07
Absolutely beautiful! Congratulations! ~Gina
Sara Harricharan 08/09/07
Pat Guy 08/09/07
Congratulations girlfriend! You've been in Master's how long ... and already in EC?

Diane Bertrand08/10/07
Beautiful story. Thanks.
Sheri Gordon08/16/07
Congratulations. You did a great job with Billy's emotions. I could feel his pain in losing his dad. Nice writing.