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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: Three Steps
By Jake Chism


I watch through the viewfinder as she takes her first three steps. Itís an incredible feeling to know that my wife and I are both able to be here at this exact monumental moment. The tape is rolling and memories are being captured, yet my heart is breaking. Donít get me wrong. Nothing thrills my soul more than to see my little girl discovering something new. What tears me up inside is the realization that my little girl isnít quite as little as she was three steps ago. Slow and steady she is moving forward and I just canít let her go.

All too soon the big day is here. Kindergarten here we come. She is dressed to kill with her pigtails and bows and a lunch box to boot. Iíve taken the day off to drive her myself and there is no where I would rather be. Sheís my little charmer and no doubt sheíll do fine. As she hugs me goodbye I hold on a tad too long. If only I could freeze time and forever be in this moment. I hold back a sob as I release her and force myself to watch her go. She charges forward with a confidence Iíve never known. Three steps later she turns and smiles.

The place is packed and itís almost too much. My wife practically had to drag me here when it was all said and done. It has all happened so fast and I canít believe this day is here. Excitement and hope fill the air, but all I can do is breathe deep and try not to let it get to me. One by one they cross the stage and accept the diploma they have all worked so hard for. Her name is next and I feel weak in my knees. Three steps across the stage and she is now moving on to a new chapter in her life. Iíve given her every reason to stay home a bit longer, but she is going away to the school she has set her sights on. As much as it kills me, I have to let her go.

We stand arm in arm three steps from the altar. My heart is pounding through my chest and Iím sure the whole room can hear. She has never looked so radiant and the look on his face proves it. I know he loves her. He swore to me he did. But no one could ever love her like I do. Sheís still my baby. The minister coughs and I realize itís for me. I quickly manage to stutter out, ďHer mother and I.Ē She smiles at me in tears and kisses me on the cheek. She moves forward toward her chosen and my hand wonít let go. I try and I try, but I cannot release. Suddenly, a voice whispers, ďItís time to let go.Ē With a sniffle and a smile I finally do. Itís time to let her go.

On the other side of the glass she is beaming with joy. Itís been a long struggle but you wouldnít know it from her smile. Never have I seen her happier or more alive. My little princess is holding her own little girl in her arms. Just three steps away.

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This article has been read 448 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld03/06/08
You have so succinctly captured here the cycle of generations. The theme of steps was very effective.
Shirley McClay 03/07/08
I have goose bumps! WOW... I LOVE the three steps you wove into the story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/07/08
This is a beautifully touching account of a father's love for his daughter through the years.
The "three steps" idea was very creative.
Marita Vandertogt03/10/08
I loved this. You have all the material here for the makings of a great song lyric - called Three Steps of course. I loved how you wrapped it all up at the end - just three steps away. Nicely done!
TJ Nickel03/12/08
As a father to daughters, I loved this. Great repetition and use of a title as well as pacing in your story. Great job.