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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: Lost Connection
By Glynis Becker


It captivated each of my senses. The roasted lamb alone was enough to make my mouth water, but adding the fragrant soups and decadent desserts certainly created a scent to behold. Tinkling crystal, the delicate ring of silver against bone china and the rise and fall of murmured conversation made me yearn to be a grown-up, or at the very least old enough to attend a dinner party as a guest, instead of the quiet eavesdropper I’d always been. How I longed to taste the food, feel the swish of an satin gown against my legs and be swept into refined conversation by a handsome young man.

Eavesdropping (or ‘observing’ as I’d been wont to call it) was not a skill of which I was particularly proud, but it had served me well of late. Because of the information I had gleaned from this semi-nefarious act, I was especially determined to enjoy this party, more than usual. I knew from hushed conversations that this would be the last such occasion in this home. Father had decided we would try our luck out West and he and Mother were already making the necessary plans, though neither had bothered to tell me or my siblings.

The idea of living in a different home was unimaginable to me. I had been born in the upstairs bedroom on the south side and with the exception of a few weeks’ time in Boston with my mother’s parents, I had spent the entirety of my twelve years sleeping in this house, playing in these gardens, hiding in these chambers, skulking on these stairs.

My family (at least on Father’s side) consists of generation after generation of proud Virginians, ever since a grandfather of mine (several ‘greats’ back, though I’d forgotten now just how many) had settled in Roanoke and no one had ever left. My ancestors had made friends with the Indians and fought against the British. We’d survived storm, famine, flood and drought all on this piece of land. Our family’s fortune, such as it was, was tied to this dirt and without a moment’s hesitation, so it seemed to me, my Father had severed the connection.

And the rest of us were expected to pull up roots and go along, like it was some grand adventure. I had overheard my mother talking about how dangerous it was going to be and it frightened me. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted everything to stay like it was now. How long had I sat on these stairs waiting for my turn to sit at the table? And now I would never have the chance. Hadn’t there been stories of families torn apart by the natives, forcing the women to become slaves in their tribes? People freezing to death in the winter? Starvation? My father had been quick to point out to Mother that these things did not happen to everyone. Since she had no say in the matter, she made sure that her protest was noted, so later she could flaunt an ‘I told you so’ if things didn’t turn out.

A change in the volume level in the dining room prompted my return to observing the dinner at present. I heard a spoon striking crystal in a purposeful rhythm and scooted myself down the staircase, all the way to the bottom. I didn’t want to miss this announcement.

My father spoke to his friends and neighbors at length of the grandeur of the West and his need for adventure. He spoke of fortune and even threw in a comment about Providence, though I’m pretty sure that was just to satisfy the Reverend, whom I’d seen walk through the doors a few hours earlier.

I couldn’t see anything from the staircase, but I was sure that my mother was smiling adoringly at her handsome husband, putting on a cover of solidarity, so that no one would suspect how scared she was or how much she hated the plan. But I knew.

I knew much more than I should have from those hours of listening to other people’s conversations and I knew what this change meant for our family’s life. The connection to a land and a history was being exchanged for an unknown and I was wary of the effect it would most certainly have on my future.

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This article has been read 815 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 06/06/08
I like the voice of this--very authentic--and it reads like a first chapter...I definitely sense that there's more to this story!
Beth LaBuff 06/06/08
I loved the richness of sensory images in your opening paragraph. Your explanation of "eavesdropping" is great and your word choices are very good. I can relate to the moving part of this (after living most of my life 1 mile from where I grew up, we moved 1300 miles away). I would be interested in a part 2 to this story, where you went, and more about why. -- (I know, the 750 word limit). Nice work on this descriptive piece.
Debbie Wistrom06/08/08
I would like to hear the rest of the story.

You had me sitting on the steps with your MC. Semi-nefarious---loved it.
Catrina Bradley 06/08/08
The descriptions, the voice, the setting - I love it all. I hope you plan to expand this into a novel - I'd love to read about this girls adventure and her new home!!
Ann Marie Lindenmeyer06/09/08
Very good descriptions and vivid to get a feeling for the MC's thoughts.