Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
TITLE: The Words of Men
By April Bailey
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“No good!” “Worthless!” And other words. Worse ones. Spoken by men to crush women.
All true, of course. They must’ve been true, for I’d heard such words all my life. How could everyone I’d ever known have been mistaken? How could they all have been wrong about me?
Who knows what I hoped for when I told my boyfriend I was pregnant? Love? Family? Foreign words that exist in dreams. Upon my sharing, he cursed me and laid blame, telling me to get rid of it. Kill my baby? I couldn’t have done that even if I’d had the money. He called me many of the names men use in anger and stood defiantly, claiming he couldn’t even be sure the child was his. Sadly, neither could I.
Bruises are no kind of gift from a man you think you love, but he left me with more than enough before walking out … “For good!” he’d said. There seemed, then, no place in the world for my baby or me.
So together we lay, embraced by my draining wrists, welcoming the growing darkness.
I expected to die … but then I heard voices. Encouraging, coaxing life from me. “You’re going to be all right. Just hang on!”
Gentle hands found me, holding my arms, wrapping them. Someone stroked my hair.
“You will live,” the words filled me with warmth. “Charlene.” I’d never heard my name this way … not yelled, not spat like a curse, but whispered slowly like music.
Pure thoughts spoke to me in the darkness. Things created by the words of God cannot be defined by the words of men.
Whose voices were these? Surely not the voices of men. Behind my closed lids, I saw a twinkling of light, from which a vision appeared ... a vision of a girl. My daughter.
I expected to die … but found something to live for. My vision has become real and she dances now, filling my house with singing and laughter. Encouragement is my gift, and I shower her with a love I never knew existed. No longer do the lies of men enslave me, their words broken and squelched by the voice of truth. Although faded, my scars remain and have become reminders of my journey to life in the hours when I sought death.
I didn’t expect to live that day … but I needed to. For her. For us.
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