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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: Worlds Apart
By Montina Hollins


She met Ron in mid-July on a Saturday afternoon in front of our New York apartment. Unlike Momís other suitors, he was 13 years older, bald and a business owner who always wore pastel seersucker suits. Two to four times a week Ronís chocolate-brown Maverick pulled up in front of our building. From our third floor apartment, you could hear him running up the steps ready to impress Mom with invitations to business functions, parties, and romantic getaways. He seemed nice but we didnít know much about him.

It took several years for the details of Ronís life to unfold. He and his current wife of 20 years had three children. Things got rough when the family found out he was dating Mom, so all three of us moved to a new apartment. He didnít seem to mind supporting two households. His business was profitable. He owned a small paint factory in Brooklyn which he admitted swindling from his friend and partner.

When people got to know Ron, they kept their distance and were cautious of making him angry. Like Dallasí J.R. Ewing, Ron was intent on striking back if he felt threatened personally or professionally. In a business deal with a Norwegian friend, Ron, convinced the man was trying to cheat him, set a trap for the man. Later, Ron discovered the man had dealt honestly with him. The Norwegian gentleman quickly severed ties with him, causing Ron to lose potential sales and valuable business contacts.

At home, his anger sparked daily incidences of verbal and physical abuse. Ronís heavy drinking fueled his anger but he was more concerned that people would think he was an alcoholic. So, he only drank vodka, believing its lack of color and odor would hide his addiction. At least twice a month we visited his cousins in Manhattan, two middle-aged sisters who loved to cook and were generous with their liquor. Four hours later, Ron was struggling to stand and weaving in and out of traffic. My hands were always sore from gripping the door handle too tight; it took days for the knots in my stomach to go away. Once, while riding by an accident on 125th Street, we saw a driver whose head was pinned beneath the front wheel of a car. The knot in my stomach got tighter, but the scene didnít seem to affect Ron. His drunken episodes had only begun.

Mom had surgery the second week in November. Though she was recovering quickly, she never shared any details about her illness or the extent of the surgery. One day I got a call from the hospital asking me to come in quickly. I was sent to a floor I didnít know existed. It was unusually quiet there: no doctors, nurses or patients, just the sound of my heels hitting against the tile. Ron was sitting in the waiting area. He never spoke. Within five minutes, a man walked up to me and said, ďIím sorry. We did all we could do,Ē turned and left. I tried to ask him what he meant but he was gone. I turned to Ron for answers but he was gone, too.

Thankfully, Mom re-dedicated her life to the Lord a week before she died. At 40, she said she was tired and wanted eternal peace. When I thought about Ron, my pain turned to anger. I wanted vengeance. But the grace of God arrested me and the healing began. Unwilling to jeopardize my relationship with God, I packed my suitcases and wished him well. He offered to give me a ride, but I said ďNo thanks. We arenít going in the same direction.Ē

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart02/21/08
This sounds like it actually happened...hope it didn't. The story held my interest throughout and the last sentence was perfect.
Beth LaBuff 02/22/08
Wow! A chilling story with a powerful ending. What would be a warning to some falls on deaf ears to others. The restraint shown by your MC puts this right on topic. I especially like your ending sentence, "No thanks, we aren't going in the same direction." Your title is perfect. Good writing on this.
Jan Ackerson 02/24/08
Wow, what a kicker! Engrossing throughout, and that last line really clinches it.