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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)

TITLE: A Dead End
By Debbie OConnor


Abby Reynolds stared at the suitcase on her bed. It was empty. Empty like my life!

She heard her husband yelling at the football game downstairs. The Saints must be losing…again. I wish he’d show me a tenth of the passion he shows sports.

Abby called her mother to check on Kyle.

“He’s fine, sweetheart,” her mother said. “You just enjoy your day off. I’m enjoying grandma duty.”

Abby hung up the phone and lay beside her suitcase to think. She was exhausted. Kyle had kept her up every night for weeks. Joe had been working overtime, so there was no one to share the load.

I don’t even know who I am anymore! Hot tears slid down her face.

Two days ago, the desire to leave had overpowered her. She was headed east on the interstate—a road that she had often taken to the beach as a single. I could keep going, she realized. I don’t have to stop. The thought was intoxicating. Irresistible—until Kyle’s screaming from the back seat drove her home.

The idea haunted Abby. She could see the open road before her…the blue sky stretching out endlessly. Her destination—freedom.

Lonely days and nights caring for her ten month old had left Abby starved for companionship. Joe’s long hours left him tired and uncommunicative at home. All he wanted was peace, quiet and a remote control.

All of Abby’s friends were single. They worked during the day and frequented clubs at night. Just yesterday, Andie had called to tell her of her latest promotion at work. “What have you been doing, Ab?” she asked.

She stammered something about Kyle saying, “Da Da” for the first time, and heard Andie stifle a yawn. “How’s Kathy?” she asked, changing the subject by referring to another friend.

“Great! She’s dating the hottest guy, Ab! He has black hair, green eyes…he’s a tri-athlete, so you can imagine his body…and he is the top salesman at WNOE. He takes Kathy to all the country concerts. He introduced her to Travis Tritt, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson… I’d be jealous, but Mike just took me to Cancun.”

“Weren’t you breaking up with him?”

“I was, but then he took me to Cancun!”

Both women laughed, but Abby felt eclipsed by her friends. She loved Joe and Kyle, but their life was so boring.

Every mirror Abby encountered reflected the changes Kyle had made in her body. She needed new clothes, but she didn’t have much money and she hated the way everything fit. She rarely wore makeup and it was hard to find time for a shower with Kyle. She barely recognized herself. I was pretty once…

All these thoughts raced through her mind as she lay beside the open suitcase. She sat up and looked at it. I could go anywhere; do anything...oh, to be free!

Abby decided to pack. She kneeled before a chest in her closet that contained photo albums and keepsakes. She grabbed an album and the items in the chest shifted, uncovering a large white leather volume embossed in gold. The family Bible.

Her grandmother had bequeathed the Bible to her and she planned to pass it to Kyle. What would Maw Maw think of me leaving my husband and baby?

She knew what Maw Maw would think. Maw Maw was a faithful, steadfast, family woman. “There’s nothing more important than the Lord and family, Cherie,” she often said in her heavy Cajun accent.

Abby’s stomach turned. Unbidden images of Kyle flashed before her—his happy smile that looked so much like her own; the brown eyes that sparkled with childish delight when she came to get him out of the crib. His eyes were just like Joe’s eyes. An image from her wedding day burst upon her. She saw Joe’s eyes looking deeply into hers, she heard him promising to love her, to stay with her…

Oh God, I can’t leave…I want to go more than I’ve ever wanted anything, but I can’t leave. Please help me!

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

“God? Was that you?” She remembered that verse from Sunday School years before. Hope surged through her weary spirit.

She knew the empty road she dreamed of was nothing but a dead end. It would lead to regret, not freedom.

Abby closed the suitcase and put it away. Then she knelt by her bed to pray.

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This article has been read 1232 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss08/22/05
There is so much feeling and passion in your narration. It's like an outburst from the heart. It is so well written. Happy that you found the bible and ended the article with prayer.
Crista Darr08/22/05
You've captured the familiar longings and familiar lies of our deceitful hearts. Fantastic work and great conclusion, "She knew the empty road she dreamed of was nothing but a dead end. It would lead to regret, not freedom." Perfect!
Shirley Thomas08/22/05
I love your article, but I am partial to the next to the last line also....I'm so glad she saw the deadend ahead of time. Good Job!
Karen Schravemade08/23/05
You've created a character that your readers can empathise with. I felt her pain and her inner struggle. This was beautifully written.
Cyndie Odya-Weis08/23/05
very nice- indeed, it is pertinent to question where we are going- always. The most blessed journeys don't require luggage, do they?
Venice Kichura08/24/05
loved it!...especially how she knelt & prayed at the end...
Tammy Johnson08/25/05
You described this woman well. I felt it was me!! Glad she realized the "grass is never greener" and that the only answer to our longings is Jesus!
Debra Brand08/25/05
Excellent work!
Jan Ackerson 08/25/05
Very nicely done. If you ever expand it, I'd like to see Abby's change of heart take a little bit more time--it seemed sudden to me, but I know it's hard, in so many words. Very moving.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/25/05
Very honest (as honest as fiction can be. :-) - had a "real feel" to it.) There are a lot of different perspectives on the topic this week - yours was a creative entry. Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Beth Muehlhausen08/27/05
Very well done in a way that touches the heart longings of many young mother. I enjoyed this!!
Maxx .08/27/05
Excellent entry. A contender for top 8. Very storng.
Donnah Cole08/27/05
I'm glad she realized it would be a road of regrets and that only Christ could give her the freedom she so desired...Great story!
Suzanne R08/28/05
I like the way you compare Abby's life to that of her single friends - I'm sure many young mothers can identify. Your title and that concept of preparing for a trip (but a dead end road) is great. Well done.
Val Clark09/12/05
A very realistic take on the loss of identity and overwhelming exhaustion that comes with being a young mum. Encouraging reminder that grandparent's prayers are answered and God's word 'does not return to him void.' Yeggy