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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: youtube
By Peter Stone


“You're up and down like a yoyo tonight, Sandra. What's up?” John murmured sleepily from the semi-darkness.

“Can’t sleep,” Sandra sighed as she sat on rumpled bed covers.

“Because of the termination tomorrow morning?”

“I'm having second thoughts,” Sandra admitted, trying to make out her husband’s face in the gloom.

“We've been through all this,” he admonished gently.


“You’re carrying a defective foetus, that's all it is. We both agreed there’s no point in allowing the pregnancy to continue; not now that we know the foetus has irreversible hearing loss.”

“It's a baby, not a foetus,” she said.

“Whoa, where’d that come from? You’ve been calling it a foetus too. Look, we both agreed, yeah? The doctor said the nerve damage is permanent, it cannot be treated - the child would be stone-deaf for life. What kind of life would the child have? What kind of lives would we have? There would be no point - we both agreed on that. Now, why don't you tell me what's really going on, why this sudden change of heart?”

“I saw Janice today,” said Sandra.

“Oh great, that religious freak?” he moaned.

“Don’t call her that, John, she’s been very supportive. Last week I told her what I was going through, and this morning she dropped over, grabbed my hand and took me for a drive.”

“Where did she take you?”

“To Brentleigh, you know, the secondary college for the hearing impaired.”

“And what did you see there?” John pressed as he reached over and turned on the bed lamp.

“She took me to the year-twelve class. The students, being deaf, didn’t even notice us enter the room. However, the teacher must have been expecting us because she took us over to stand directly behind the seven kids as they watched a youtube video. You should have seen them, John. They were clapping, smiling, and energetically signing at each other. Some were even laughing, you know, the way deaf kids do.”

“Why, what were they watching on youtube?”

“They were watching this hilarious slapstick silent comedy, Charlie Chaplin style. Seven kids were taking turns trying to sit on a chair, but a plush-toy cat kept flying in from off screen and sent each kid sprawling to the floor. The performers were awesome, their expressions, their acting, I was in stitches. Then at the end of the video, one kid held up an old-fashioned sign saying, ‘No animals were harmed in the making of this video,’ following by another sign that said, ‘Performed by students of the Brentleigh College for the Hearing Impaired.’ And that’s when it hit me. Those seven kids in front of me were the ones in the video. That was when their teacher explained to me that the kids had made the video for a drama project. And the reason they were so ecstatic was because the clip had already received thousands of hits and hundreds of glowing comments.”

John studied his wife’s face intently. “And?”

“That's when I realised our mistake,” she said.

“What mistake?”

“That we erred when we thought that being physically and mentally healthy were pre-requisites for being able to enjoy life. Those seven deaf teenagers were living life to the full, savouring every moment. Our child is deaf, I know, but who are we to rob him or her of having the same kind of future that these kids have?”

“So you want to have this baby, now?” said John, dumbfounded.

Sandra nodded emphatically. “You know how delighted I was when I found I was pregnant, and the depths of despair to which I fell after we learned the baby was deaf? But today changed everything. Now I want to have this child and face the challenges with my head held high.”

Conflicting emotions warred across John’s face for what seemed an eternity. Finally, his shoulders slumped and he said, “Do you have any idea how hard this will be?”

“I know – I’m scared witless, but I still want to do it,” Sandra admitted as she looked up hesitantly.

“Having a deaf child will impact every aspect of our lives.”

“After I saw those kids in Brentleigh today, I’m willing to pay that price.”

John thought furiously for a few moments before nodding slowly. “Okay, let’s do it - but first, can you show me that youtube video?”

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This article has been read 775 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Micheline Murray04/09/09
I love this--I like how creatively the topic was dealt with.
Debbie Roome 04/09/09
Lovely story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/10/09
What an important message you presented in this excellently written story!
Carol Slider 04/12/09
A great pro-life message, creatively presented! Did you know that hearing-impaired students also attend orchestra concerts, and experience the music through its vibrations? Thanks so much for sharing this!
Jan Ackerson 04/12/09
Wonderful message, and I learned a lot from this story. Well written and moving!
Karlene Jacobsen04/12/09
I liked the POV here, very creative, and a great message.
Shelley Ledfors 04/12/09
Absolutely wonderful! A terrific message, well written...just wonderful!
Connie Dixon04/12/09
I loved this story, kind of on the same lines as Mr. Hollands Opus. My oldest sister is completely deaf and the most compassionate and loving person I've ever known. Great message.
Chely Roach04/12/09
I love stories that save babies! Wonderful message, and so very well delivered.
Bryan Ridenour04/13/09
Wonderful pro-life message. Great storytelling!
Sheri Gordon04/13/09
Very good writing, and excellent message. The dialogue was very realistic, and you got the message across in a powerful way.
Mona Purvis04/13/09
Thank you for this entry. Just wonder how many times this situation is handled similarly. Strong message in content.
Betty Castleberry04/13/09
Yea! I'm glad they changed their minds. This is very well done.
Carole Robishaw 04/15/09
A great story, with the best kind of ending.

Gregory Kane01/27/10
As has already been said, a powerful message.
I felt that so much dialogue made your story a little too intense. I would have been inclined to break it up a bit more with descriptive lines about the characters or the room. Or maybe even a flashback to a previous discussion, but done in the third-person rather than as dialogue.
I thought that your ending was punchy and worked well