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

TITLE: Pang!
By Laury Hubrich
04/16/08


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Casey slammed the door in Ted’s face. “I hate you, Dad!” Her words stung and made him wince.

With each step to his bedroom, painful memories assaulted his senses.

“Don’t touch me,” Pam shrieked through clenched teeth, just before pulling away from his tender embrace.

The remembered words dropped him to his knees. His tall, lanky frame blended into the floor where he went from his knees to his stomach.

The vision went on and Ted was unable to stop it.

“I hate you, Ted. I hate everything you stand for. Since you became a Christian, you seem to think you’re so much better than me.” Pam opened and closed drawers violently, throwing clothes into suitcases. “I don’t want your love. I don’t want your pity.”

Tears ran down Ted’s eyes as the scene replayed in his mind.

Pam took hold of her luggage and threw them down the steps. She grabbed her purse then said her last cutting words, the last she would ever say to Ted face-to-face, “I especially don’t want your daughter.”

Ted saw little Casey out of the corner of his eye. Too young to be listening to this but by age four, she was wise beyond her years. She ran to Pam and grabbed hold of her legs. Ted tried to get to the little girl but too late. She unlaced the tiny fingers and threw Casey across the landing into Ted’s arms.

They huddled together, father and daughter, too stunned to speak, as the front door slammed shut. The little family of three suddenly became two. In that moment, Ted became both Father and Mother to young Casey.

A quiet knock broke the evil spell that bound Ted. He tried to get up but couldn’t. “Come in,” he said, a little above a whisper.

Casey peeked her head in and rushed to her dad’s side. “Daddy, are you okay? You thinking about Mom?”

“Do you remember that day, Casey?”

“I remember, Dad. I hated you. I couldn’t understand why Mommy left. I thought it was your fault. I know now that it wasn’t.”

“Your mom had a mental illness. She wouldn’t stay on her meds and it tore up her life –“

“And ours,” Casey finished.

“Yes, and ours, Darling.”

Casey rubbed her dad’s back absentmindedly. “So what now?”

A new wave of tears ripped through Ted’s body. Casey’s steely exterior melted and they cried together. Ted carefully lifted himself up from the floor and sat on the edge of the bed. The fourteen-year-old nudged her way onto his lap.

“Daddy, can you braid my hair?” Ted took the brush from her and worked the braid through her thick hair. “I really didn’t mean it.”

“What, Casey?” Ted knew but he wanted to hear her take back the words.

“I was mad but I don’t hate you. It wasn’t a fair thing for me to say.”

“No, it wasn’t fair, but you’re a teenager. Things will seem topsy-turvy sometimes. You’ll say things you don’t really mean.”

Casey got up and looked at herself in the mirror. “I’m worried, Dad.”

“Worried?” Ted asked.

“I don’t want to turn out like her.” Casey turned and ran to her daddy, as tears now ripped through her body. Ted held her close and his sobs mingled in with hers. When the tears subsided, Casey wiped the back of her hand across her tear-stained face.

“Dad, I have to tell you something.”

Ted’s heart slammed into his chest.

“Mom told me she was leaving.”

“What else do you remember, Casey-girl? What is so heavy on your mind?”

Casey hung her head, her eyes filling up. “She said I was just like her. That I would grow up and hate you just like she did. But I would never, Daddy. Not ever.”

“Come here and look at yourself again.” Casey studied her reflection. “Remember what Jeremiah 1:5 says?”

“Ummm… I think so. ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart.’”

“I loved you before you were born, too. I will always love you.”

“Even when I tell you I hate you?” Casey looked at him expectantly.

“Especially then.”

“It’s just a teenage thing, right?”

“Well, yes, but don’t make a habit of it.”

“I love you, Daddy.”

A new movement in his chest made him jump and smile at the same time. Pang. “I love you, too, Casey,” pang, “with all my heart. Will always, forever and ever.” Pang.


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This article has been read 744 times
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Marita Thelander 04/17/08
Well written dialog. Awesome father/daughter relationship protrayed. The line that grabbed me was "Ted’s heart slammed into his chest." I know that feeling and your words say it well.

Debbie Wistrom04/17/08
Wow, tender and well done. Thanks for the peak at life with a teen. So glad they all could speak thier minds in the end.
LauraLee Shaw04/17/08
Casey and her dad are going to make it! I know the pain pangs experienced with mental illness, and I hope that Casey will be free from her mother's anguish. Well-written, masterfully written.
Holly Westefeld04/17/08
Gripping and powerful.
Beth LaBuff 04/18/08
Wow, such a heart-breaking story. It's sad that a lot of kids are afraid they'll turn out like their parent(s). :( Your ending was so sweet. I especially like your use of the repeated "pang." You've written a great story describing a father's love. Nice work!
Beckie Stewart04/18/08
This was really good....so sad as it is so real in so many homes, but being a daughter of a single dad, dad's can make an awesome difference. Love the ending.
Dee Yoder 04/21/08
A unique voice, since most of the time we read about the abandoned wife and child. Either way, you aptly describe the pain and suffering that goes on long after the act is done. Good job putting the reader into the pain and the reason behind the harsh opening lines of the daughter. I like the forgiveness and honesty between the dad and his daughter at the end, too.
Jan Ackerson 04/21/08
Tender story--you don't often read about single, Christian dads.

I was confused at the beginning with the flashbacks; it took me a while to figure out what was now and what was then.

But once I figured it out, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Sharlyn Guthrie04/21/08
You've captured so many emotions an described the various scenes well. I didn't realize there was a scene/time shift, and had to reread to figure it out. I wonder it it would help to write the memories in the past perfect tense. Just a thought. Your story is very good on many levels, and sadly, believable, too.
Joanney Uthe04/21/08
Dynamic, emotional story with great dialogue. Great job.
Christine Dunn04/22/08
A very moving story. I was really drawn in by your engaging characters. Well done!
Joshua Janoski04/22/08
I had no problems with the transitions in this story. It all seemed to flow nicely as I read through it.

I didn't understand your title until the end, and then it made perfect sense. This was an interesting take on the topic - a father forced to be both father and mother. You did a wonderful job of displaying the love of Jesus through the dad.

Thanks for sharing this, Laury.
Joanne Sher 04/23/08
Great descriptions and excellent dialog - just right for the conversation. Enjoyed this IMMENSELY!
Shirley McClay 04/23/08
Awesome Laury. I wish I had a dad like that. I didn't have any problem with the changes but maybe if you italicized them it might help.
Yvonne Blake 04/23/08
touching...beautiful... wonderful!
Sara Harricharan 04/23/08
Excellent use of that one thing everyone can relate to. That 'pang'. Wow. Nice job here, I could feel the emotions and the memories as they surfaced. Great job. ^_^
Patty Wysong04/24/08
There should have been a tissue warning on this! Laury, this was sooooo good. Great job, my friend! Hugs!
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/10/08
Very tender story. Good job!