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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

TITLE: For Better or for Worse
By Judy Traffie


These are excerpts from the recordings of Alaric, servant of the Most High.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

May 16 2007
Screaming voices echoed down the narrow, dimly lit hallway, echoing off the old plaster with a vicious bounce. I entered the room to find Rachel and her father nose to nose.
From the protective gleam in Rachel’s eye I could see that her father had been up to his old temper tantrums again.

‘Move out of my way! Those kids need to be taught a lesson’, George Huffman screamed in his daughter’s face.

She set her lips resolutely before calmly saying, “No, I am NOT going to let you touch these kids. Go calm down then come back. You know it’s wrong to discipline in anger.’

Her father lifted his hand letting it waver in her face, anger burning brightly in his eyes before he turned, slamming the apartment door behind him.

Immediately Rachel turned to the two boys gathering them close, murmuring to them and stroking their backs to calm the muffled sobs. Something very close to hate bubbled in her breast as she hummed a song, and she silently turned in prayer to the One who could change it all.

June 2, 2007
Rachel stood in the small cramped kitchen sorting through the stack of mail, her hand freezing as she came across an envelope from the apartment rental company. Not hesitating a moment she held it up to the overhead light barely able to make out the words, ‘…eviction notice for the 10th of June unless payment is made in full…’, slapping the envelope onto the counter she stood head bowed.

Frustration and fury collided in a mighty wave and she tried to control the nerve to call up her irresponsible father right this very minute and let him have it. Fighting to take a deep breath, she sent a quick prayer skywards before turning to smile at her brothers rushing in the door from school.

July 5, 2007
George Huffman’s deep voice echoed through the small apartment squeezing under Rachel’s bedroom door to reach her listening ears. Memories of sitting in between her mother and father rose before her, and for a moment she was a kid again, listening to her father read her Dr. Suess. A small smile appeared on her lips and she sighed happy her father seemed to be trying.

August 16, 2007
Rolling her eyes, Rachel turned set the pot onto the stove, twisting the knob to High. Her father’s potential buyer for his old, beaten SUV seemed to be eating up every word he said. She felt bad for the guy. He might think he was getting a deal, but in reality he was getting schmoozed. George’s overly friendly voice continued its conversation, sounding very much like a sleazy car salesman.

‘Lord, please don’t let the poor guy get taken advantage of. We may need the money but it’s not honest.’

September 24, 2007
The late afternoon sunlight fell across the room in bright swatches and illuminated the snoring face of George Huffman. He looked relaxed as a cat lying there in the patch of sun.

Rachel leaned her head on the doorframe and watched him. He looked so old sleeping there, that for a moment she felt her heart stop. The thought of losing him seemed almost too much to bear. He wasn’t the best father or example in the world, but he was the only father they had.

Realization hit her in a sudden slap. Despite all his short comings and failures they relied on him so much more than she had ever known. The squeezing feeling around her heart tightened for a moment.

“Lord please let me be in example, use me to lead him home.”

The tightness eased and an overpowering love flowed in. The picture in front of her blurred, its colors running together, before she blinked and a single tear traced its way down her cheek.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
All this I have written as a completion of the lesson given to my charge, with a flourish I signed my name on the glowing white page. In the midst of a messy world, Rachel had found a way to love the man given as her father, for better or for worse.

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Sara Harricharan 04/17/08
This is very creative...I like the format and I really like Rachel. I was rooting for her and hoping that she would find strength from on high. There are such short glimpses here that I wish I knew the whole story...great job! My only note is at the end, I think a typo- "in example" should be "an example"? It could just be me though-great job here! ^_^
Janice Cartwright04/17/08
This is real-time life. Humans are flawed, difficult, complex. What great insight you have as a writer, to see and to relate so well.
Sylvia Hensel 04/19/08
Beautifully written. I felt the pain of all involved.
Debi Derrick04/19/08
Nicely done. Great capture of what is for many the reality of human relationships.
Mariane Holbrook 04/21/08
This was painful to read and I'm sure painful to write but you did a great job! Kudos.
Phyllis Inniss04/23/08
My admiration goes out to Rachel. She is courageous and feeling and we feel her strength came from the Lord.