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

TITLE: In My View
By Joanne Sher
04/16/08


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My head feels ten feet wide. How long have I been like this? I feel like an automaton, with all these tubes, masks, probes and wires coming out of me.

I haven't worked up the nerve to open my eyes yet. Not sure I want to see what I, or my surroundings, look like. I can guess, though, from all the beeps, shuffling, and other "hospital sounds" that encircle me, and the drugs I feel entering my veins. At least I know I'm not dead.

I can smell the antiseptic cleanliness of my surroundings - and one other scent. This one is more familiar. I've lain beside it practically every night for the last nine years. I turn up the corners of my mouth as best I can.

Now I can feel her too. I would know that hand resting on my arm anywhere. My wife. The light of my existence. My strength.

I ease my swollen eyes open. Shadows. Everything is dark - like the lights are out. Or bandages cover my eyes.

"Hi sweetie. How are you feeling?"

I love that voice. I could listen to it forever.

"Been better."

She kisses my hand. I can't help but smile.

"Hun? Could you get the nurse?"

"Sure." Worry permeates her voice. "Anything I can do?"

"Don't think so."

I hear her shuffle out, and a moment or so later, I listen to two sets of footsteps approaching.

"What do you need, Mr. Burns?" I can hear the smile on the nurse's face.

"When can you take the bandages off my eyes?"

My wife sighs. Repeatedly.

"Mr. Burns, you...um...don't have bandages on your eyes. I'm so sorry."

My heart stops. "I'm blind?"

My wife rubs my arm and shoulder, and I hear a sniffle.

The nurse's long pause quickens my heartbeat. When she does speak, it's a whisper. "The doctor said some loss could be from swelling from the surgery."

I reach my arm over the bed rail, groping toward my wife. I rest my hand on her stomach as she comes closer. As tears drop from my eyes, I rub her protruding belly as her hand rests on my wrist. I feel movement, which sends my emotions haywire.

In a few months, I'll have a new daughter. A little princess to hug, hold, hear, and love. Out of this bleak, frightening place in my life joy will come. And my girl will have a father. Thank You, Lord.

But I may never know what she looks like. I may never be able to see her walk, roll over, smile or pout. I won't know if she's sticking out her tongue or winking at me. I'll never see her wedding.

I feel her kick again, bringing me back to the present. I mumble, "But you'll still be my beautiful princess."

"What was that, sweetie?" Concern filled my wife's voice.

"Nothing, dear. Just felt the baby kick." She has enough to worry about. Don't need to burden her with anything else.

"Have you been eating, hun?" My wife often forgets when she's stressed.

"A bit. I should probably go get myself something from the cafeteria. Will you be okay?"

"I'll be fine," I say with a confidence I don't feel. I shift to squeeze her hand, which is still resting on mine. "You go ahead."

She kisses my hand. I hear her footsteps fading in the distance.

I close my eyes. I think back and try to picture a day about a week ago, when we were together at dinnertime. My wife is cutting up our son's hot dog. He is looking right at me, smiling. I freeze that image in my brain, looking at every detail of his face, trying to memorize it. I shift my focus to my beautiful wife, taking in every feature of her countenance.

I must never forget.

**

"I'm too tired. I don't wanna push."

"Just one more, honey. You can do it."

The pushing and groaning of the final stages of labor drown out the hospital's noises and odors. The last push is followed by the sound we've been waiting for: the wail of our baby girl.

Our newborn daughter is brought to her mother, and I am by their sides. I listen to my wife cooing at her baby. I reach out and run my hands through soft newborn hair.

Then, with the sight-though limited-that my Lord granted back to me, I view every inch of my precious daughter.


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Member Comments
Member Date
George Parler 04/17/08
Not only did your writing cause me to share the MC's thoughts as though they were my own, but the gift of being able to see your first born was overwhelming, considering the alternative. It immediately reminded me of all the emotions I felt when I first set my eyes upon my own daughter.

Bravo. Well done.
Laury Hubrich 04/20/08
This is very good but leaves me with questions. You need more word count to explain things to us -- LOL! Very good and loved the ending.
Sheri Gordon04/21/08
This is written very well--I "felt" the emotions from both the husband and the wife.

I know this is a very small snippet of the whole (true, correct?) story, but, I think it gets lost in the word limitation. There are too many before and after questions for the reader.

This really pulls at the heartstrings, and would be superb as part of a larger work. Like a book, perhaps? :)
Gerald Shuler 04/21/08
You have done two things extremely well...

You showed perfectly how a man thinks even when he doesn't say what he thinks.

And you capture the feel of seeing with no eyes. I actually closed my eyes a couple of times to sense the smells and sounds you described.

Great writing.
Jan Ackerson 04/21/08
Marvelous--one of your best. The last few lines had me swallowing stones.
Sharlyn Guthrie04/21/08
Excellent writing. I agree that it needs to be expanded. It's a story that needs to be told in detail. You've portrayed this man's emotions so well, especially in regard to his wife. For this topic I would like to hear more of his feeling toward his newborn.
Joanney Uthe04/21/08
Very touching story, especially his concern of never seeing his newborn and trying to memorize his son's face. Great job.
Dee Yoder 04/21/08
Ah...this glimpse into the world of a man who loses and then gains his sight is wonderful. My BIL lost his sight through a shooting at his work place; it's a devastating loss. So glad the ending supplies hope and love and a contented heart for the blessing of even limited sight. Wonderful!
Mariane Holbrook04/21/08
Gulp. Swallowing hard here. I love this! If you don't place high with this, tell them to come see me! LOL
Debbie Roome 04/21/08
A lovely tender story. So glad he regained some of his vision. Made me think of how dim our spiritual eyes are - For now we see through a glass, darkly. (1 Cor 13:12)
Leigh MacKelvey04/21/08
Oh, Joanne! No red ink from me! I understood the story perfectly. I lived the story through your fine descriptions that touched my senses.This is outstanding writing!
Betty Castleberry04/21/08
I saw, heard, and felt all of this. It is very well written, and the ending is wonderful. I don't know if this is your husband's true story, but from what little I know of him, it sounds like it could be.
I don't want to give you any red ink. Only you can write this the way it should be written.
Lyn Churchyard04/22/08
A delightful, tender story of love. I loved the voice of this and sharing the MC's thoughts. I'd love to know what happened before the hospital scene. Excellent, I loved every bit of it.
Janice Cartwright04/22/08
During the first hospital scene I said, "This is splendid, tactile writing, but where is the topic?" But it was waiting in the wings and when it did come forth showed itself the star it was meant to be. Your story is emotionally impacting and reader involving: the mc and his wife full of yearning and that is supposed to be primary to good story telling. In fact I'll have to be really picky to find a red ink item, but here goes. I thought maybe you struggled with the ending, needing a few more words to explain the father was granted partial seeing ability, or perhaps even with the outcome, whether to leave it in the air or give the reader something more positive. But I was happy with the ending you chose.
Patty Wysong04/22/08
You didn't tell me I'd need a tissue when I read this! This is fabulous. I was there with you...So good. You've got to do more with this! Hugs!
Joshua Janoski04/22/08
Was this based somewhat off your husband's true story Joanne? I remember reading about your husband's vision loss, so I just wondered if his story was the inspiration for this. It is a beautiful story. it touched my heart, and I love it!

You did a great job with describing the environment from the viewpoint of someone who couldn't see anything. I didn't see where the ending was lacking. I think you did well with the amount of words available to you.

Thank you for sharing this. :)
Angela M. Baker-Bridge04/22/08
A novel compressed into a paragraph, without losing any of the emotion, impact or WOW factor. Well done.
Holly Westefeld04/22/08
A gripping and poignant story. You did a great job with the first person, male POV, I think, but as I'm not a guy...
Loren T. Lowery04/23/08
Written in an absolutely transfixing voice. The emotions, the sounds, setting were all so real that it was transporting. An ability to have your reader empahathise with your MC is not easy, but you've done it with wonderful, inspiring grace.
Allison Egley 04/23/08
Oh, this was great! I loved the details you put in, and the descriptions. And the ending was, of course, wonderful. :)
LauraLee Shaw04/23/08
Nothing short of AMAzing!
Beth LaBuff 04/23/08
Ah Joanne! I love your title in light of your story. I think it is "your story", right? It's absolutely beautiful. (I had to dab at my eyes too.)
Yvonne Blake 04/23/08
Touching...beautiful... wonderful!
Sharon Henderson04/23/08
Thanks for sharing with us. Praise God for at least limited sight. I enjoyed the personal story this week.
Sara Harricharan 04/23/08
WOW! This is really, really good! I can only say that it is great with the descriptions, the POV, everything. Wow! Nice writing! ^_^
Celeste Duckworth04/23/08
Lots of meaning and very moving, a man who can't see but determines to see without his sight. In his own words, "I must not forget." Great line.
Peter Stone04/24/08
Very touching story of a man with a heart of gold who has learnt to appreciate God's gifts within the bounds of his handicap, rather than being embittered by it. Great writing.
Ann Renae Hair04/26/08
I finally get to read this engaging story! I can SO see this as a book, building up to this time, and describing his struggles since then. You write this so well, I was crying at the end even though I know the story!!! Great job. Please expand!