Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
TITLE: Satin Doll
By Chely Roach
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He hadn’t seen her around the campus for days, so Graham opened his laptop…also deemed the almighty porn-pump by his roommate, Bill. He searched Facebook and MySpace without luck, and finally just simply Googled her. As Graham scrolled the page, halfway down was a BlogSpot result bearing her name. The abbreviated blurb made him stop in his tracks:
Please pray for our sweet Amelia…after her fourth round of chemo, it appears as if she has developed a nasty infection that has settled in her brain. The neurologists here at Barnes have her on high powered antibiotics, but…
When he clicked on the link, he was peeved that his latest target was out of commission. Simultaneously, he felt like a tool for even thinking such a thing, much less that he didn’t even realize she had been sick. Amelia was five miles away in the hospital, fighting for her life, and here he was, disappointed he didn’t attack her first. You’re such a jerk, dude.
But as he scanned the blog post, he started to wonder if it was about his Amelia. It said she was in the PICU; and unless she was one of those homeschooled-and-graduated-at-14, college-junior-at-seventeen kind of girls, he couldn’t fathom why she would be in the pediatric ICU. He himself had spent months recuperating in the PICU back in Chicago, after his entire family was decimated in a drunken driving wreck.
With more questions than answers, he scrolled through previous posts. Each one had at least twenty comments which he ignored. But September fifteenth’s post answered his ultimate question; it was not the Amelia he was chasing.
It was a four month old baby with the same name.
With a breath of guilt laden relief, he was about to close the site when he spotted the tab header “photos”. Graham was unable to avoid the compulsion to see her…this baby with leukemia and a devastating brain infection.
She was a doll; her chubby, dimpled face with satin skin, happily struggling to lift her head up and prop herself onto her elbows. Her blonde hair was nothing but wispy tuffs and a pink bow, and her eyes were bright blue, with eyelashes long and luscious. She wore a gigantic, gummy grin.
He shut the laptop and went to bed. Sleep didn’t come easily.
After classes the next day, when he checked his email, he went back to Amelia’s blog…he couldn’t shake her sweet face. There was a new post, asking for people to sign up for a continuous, round-the-clock prayer vigil. Although the post was only seven hours old, almost every half hour slot was accounted for; even for the middle of the night. Someone else was arranging for meals to be brought to the hospital for the young couple.
But baby Amelia still struggled to hang on.
After three months, Graham was exhausted from finals and moonlighting as a cyber-stalker. That’s what he felt like anyway. He didn’t know these people, but he was continually drawn back. The infection had ravaged Amelia’s brain; the fluids no longer drained properly, so a shunt was put in. Then another. She suffered seizures and more surgeries. She couldn’t move her limbs; even her eyes. And she was in horrible pain that was difficult to treat with such a delicate patient.
Graham’s heart broke daily for Amelia and her parents. Day after day, they poured out their hearts…the fatigue and sadness…the righteous anger and “why’s” of it all. But to Graham surprise, they managed to do something he never could do in hard times…they constantly praised God. They thanked Him for their daughter, that He had spared her life. They took joy in caring for her, even in her catatonic state. With every post, they thanked the multitude who’d pledged their daily prayers.
One Sunday morning after graduation, Graham read from Amelia’s page, “We have never so tangibly felt the love of God, as we have through the hands of His chosen people. You have cloaked us in His love and mercy. We are blessed; blessed to have daily glimpses of the Kingdom of God, while we trudge through our living hell. Bless every one of you who reads this…”
For the first time in the decade since he buried his alcoholic father—the drunk who had maimed him—Graham wept.
And for the first time in his entire life, he prayed for someone else.
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