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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: When a Lifetime Comes
By Amy Michelle Wiley


“They won’t remember me.” I looked at them, my twin nieces playing blissfully in the corner, and something deep within me began crumbling. “I’ll just be a name--Aunt Suzanne. A person you talk about, they see in pictures.”

“You can change that, Suz.” Anna Marie leaned forward, her brown eyes wet with tears. “You’re not dead yet.”

She knew me well, perhaps even better than I knew myself. Already she saw my heart, the other one, the emotional one, beginning to shrivel even faster than my physical heart.

“How?” It wasn’t even a real question. It was just an attempt to appear like I was trying, like I would try to live while I waited to die.

But she didn’t let go so easy. She was stronger than I, this sister of mine. “You can make it something wonderful, this last bit of time. You can make it a whole lifetime, Suz.”

I didn’t understand.

“You can make memories so strong even a seven-year-old will remember it for a lifetime. You can make a difference that will last forever.”

It didn’t happen overnight, but as I got through the shock those first few weeks, that part of me so recently dead began to revive. Something more, from long ago, began to come alive in me. It was something from my childhood I had hidden away in the pages of my notebooks--the creativity that only saw the light between the covers of my pseudonym’s books.

I showed up at their house one morning, clothed in khaki with binoculars around my neck. I rang the doorbell and stood at attention. “I’ve come to see Miss Amanda and Miss Rachel, the renowned explorers. I’ve found myself in need of guides for an expedition to the jungles of Enigami.”

For a minute all three of them, the twins and Anna Marie, stared at me with open mouths and puzzled eyes. Amanda’s cleared first. “Come in and we will pack our things and go!”

We set off with great fanfare.

It was credit to my sister and her constant embrace of the imagination that when we arrived at the nearby park and I announced we’d reached the island of Enigami that the girls’ response was, “What language do they talk?”

Surveying the assortment of children playing among the jungle gym, I answered solemnly, “The Yranigami people of Enigami speak Noitanigami.” I handed Rachel the binoculars and pretended not to be alarmed when my stiff hand would not readily bend to release the strap. “You observe the native wildlife and Amanda and I will begin to learn the language.”

I tapped Amanda’s head. “Look, the girl over there doesn’t look busy.” She was sitting in a wheelchair, just out of reach of the swings, of the laughing children. Just out of reach of the life that churned around her. “Perhaps we can learn a few words from her.”

My heart was slamming hard against my ribs by the time we crossed the short way. I smiled at the girl, feeling camaraderie, wondering how short of a time it would be before I, too, was sequestered in a chair. The people around us made a wide berth of the wheels, giving sideways glances at the girl who sat with big eyes and curled-up hands.

Amanda followed me and bounced right next to the chair. “Hello! We’re explorers from America! What’s your name?”

The child broke into a huge grin, her arms waving with exuberance. She responded in deep sounds that mostly made no sense to our ears. Amanda nodded. “Noitanigami will take some time to learn. I think she said her name is Becky, though.”

Rachel rushed up behind us, squealing, “Listen! Listen! The tree is full of birds singing.”

I scanned the treetops. “Those are the rare Drib Singers. Grand find, Rachel!”

“She wants to see, too.” My niece motioned toward our new friend who was twisting to see toward the birds. “Let’s go find more!”

The child’s mother joined our exploring parade and we set off down the path, the twins dancing merrily around us, and Becky nearly falling out of her chair in her excitement.

The irregular jolting of my heart, so alarming only yesterday, became a sort of dance, joining the world around me, celebrating joy. Celebrating the lifetime still stretched before me.

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This article has been read 1906 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 03/13/08
Oh! How wonderfully sweet and sad at the same time! Great, great, great writing!
Sally Hanan03/13/08
I love the hope in this and the new found determination to live every moment. Ingenious!
Yvonne Blake 03/13/08
Ohhh, what a beautiful story! I want to make memories like this! I love the way they included the other girl in the wheelchair.
Great writing.
Lynda Lee Schab 03/14/08
What a wonderful lesson for us all. This one touched my heart. Nicely done!
Loren T. Lowery03/14/08
What a wonderful reminder and so artfully done that I barely knew a lesson was in store at the end. Great job all the way from taking us from an adult's POV to the eyes/dialogue of a child and their adventures.
Kate Grey03/14/08
Beautiful and engaging story. I love the way the MC overcomes.
Dianne Janak03/15/08
I loved this also. Great example of how life can be lived moment by moment to the fullest, because the truth is, no one knows the number of their days. Good reminder with a tender heart... THANKS for the lift today.
Kristen Hester03/15/08
This is so touching...and beautifully written. I had misty eyes by the end. What a wonderful message. Bravo!
Jan Ackerson 03/16/08
Awesome! This line--Noitanigami will take some time to learn... was my favorite, and I found it both charming and moving.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/16/08
This story, while being very emotional, is also very endearing. You really nailed the topic. We all want to live in in others hearts.
Lyn Churchyard03/16/08
Oh Amy, this is just so beautiful. I love they way they included the little girl in the wheelchair and her mother in their adventure. What a wonderful example of love. This is so well written. Superb!
Shelley Ledfors 03/16/08
What a lovely, touching story! It runs a wide range of emotions within its limit of words. Very well done!
Joshua Janoski03/17/08
This story made me feel a number of emotions. I felt sad, happy, and hopeful.

This woman demonstrated that life isn't about how long you live. It's about what you do with the time that is given to you.

Masterful work as always, Amy. I appreciate you sharing your gift of words and storytelling.

K. J. Cash03/18/08
You have a beautiful imagination!
Patty Wysong03/18/08
Wow. This is beautiful and tender, and yet filled with hope, too. Wonderful!
Chely Roach03/19/08
This was wonderful...I loved it.
Debbie Wistrom03/19/08
Your title is perfect, how quickly she wants to fill her life. Thanks for the fun and the touching message.
Sara Harricharan 03/19/08
Amy, this is simply beautiful! You made me smile and want to cry at the same time. Your title had me wondering at which 'lifetime', but the story was a whole new adventure altogether. A beautiful piece of writing, especially with the exploring. I would remember an Aunt like that. Always. I liked the ending best when they found a new friend. It was wonderful writing! ^_^
Betty Castleberry03/19/08
WHEE!! This is SO much fun. You've covered the topic very, very well.
Sara Harricharan 03/20/08
Whoo hoo, Amy! Yay! ^_^ Congrats on your EC!
Loren T. Lowery03/20/08
Amy, I really enjoyed this and glad to see it place. Loren
Marita Thelander 03/20/08
Congrats on your EC, Amy. I enjoyed reading this and I am always up for an adventure like this.
Joanne Sher 03/20/08
Just lovely - and with an unmistakably amazing message. Characterization, setting, everything - LOVELY.
Sheri Gordon03/20/08
Congratulations on your EC. This is a powerful piece. Excellent job with the topic.
Carol Wiley03/21/08
Nicely done! You have such a gift.
Mo 03/21/08
GREAT message! Congrats on your win!
Hanne Moon 03/22/08
Absolutely beautiful and emotionally packed. Congratulations on your placement. It's well deserved! :D
Rita Garcia03/22/08
Wonderful and creative way to wrap up a great lesson! Love the word play!
Catrina Bradley 03/24/08
Congrats, Amy! Loved it!