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

TITLE: Does He Know?
By Sally Hanan


He lifted one foot up from the wrinkled rock beneath him and moved it forward to its next new territory to claim. The ocean lay before him, immeasurable and mesmerizing.

Only water met his sole, down…down…down…until his whole body tilted and yanked him after it. The quick breath he had taken before going under was shallow—as shallow as the water above the bank of rock he had fallen from. Some deeper part of him roared, grasping for life and breath and solid ground. Arms, legs, hair—all flailed together--until it occurred to him to turn back to the step he had taken for granted, the one he had lifted his foot off, the one that had held him so explicitly and steadfastly only seconds before. It was the only security he had known.

He could not find it.
He could only sense its distant presence.
Panic filled his gut.

The trust he had placed in the rock had been blind, yet the rock had let him fall, had let him move forward without grasping or calling him home. He began to see that his place on that stony bank had been held with his own acquiescence; with his arms and hands and willingness to move with the flow of the tide.

The unprocessed fear dissipated. He motioned his arms up and down into a slower, rhythmic motion that sliced through the gentle waves pushing against his torso. His feet and legs flexed and pointed and kicked until his face arose through the watery ceiling above him. His mouth opened to imbibe the salty air in triumph.

The step was still there, close by, somewhere, but it had led him to the edge of the world ahead and
now that he was in it,
he knew
he could swim.

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This article has been read 881 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 04/19/08
Okay, I guess no one else is brave enough to ask. This is very nice writing but where is the father in it? I kept expecting him to be right there to grab hold but he was never mentioned. This was excellent writing, though, just not sure if it was on topic. Maybe I missed something. That is entirely possible. I really hope I am.
Celeste Duckworth04/21/08
I read this and wondered maybe who the Does he know? question is about. I like your style of writing and am used to thinking and reading, I just felt like maybe a paragraph is missing for telling part. I still want more though.
Dee Yoder 04/22/08
Ok, this is a total guess, but is this about a dad who teaches his son to swim?!(from the son's POV?) The writing is good...I just wasn't sure what or whom you were referring to in the title.
Dee Yoder 04/23/08
Ah...I just read your hint, Sally. Creative way to write-I think I got it, in part anyway!
Sally Hanan04/23/08
Explaining it now... It's an analogy. The rock represents the father, and the ocean represents the boy's future--he's stepping out into the big world.
Holly Westefeld04/23/08
Does he know I'm drowning out here? Does he care?
I think I would call it an extended metaphor, and I like it.
I love the image of the "wrinkled rock."
Thanks for the reminder that the ocean can be as scary for our kids as it is for us ol' wrinkled rocks.
Dee Yoder 04/23/08
I like it, Sally. I think if I'd taken the time to think about it more, I'd have gotten the whole picture. (: I like it because it doesn't come right out and scream the topic; very subtle. Your explanation comment shows me that I only got a portion of your picture the first time around, though. (Hee-hee.) You took a chance and it WASN'T a complete failure; it has a brilliant concept about it.
Sara Harricharan 04/23/08
So nice! Wow-I feel happy here, I didn't have to look at the explanation, but when I did, I was right! Teehee. I liked this, the descriptions and the way you arranged the words. Very nice.
Beth LaBuff 04/24/08
Amazing! Your writing is so smooth... I love this, "through the watery ceiling above him. His mouth opened to imbibe the salty air in triumph." I love your creativity with this.