Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)
TITLE: Pain...and Joy
By Leland Hayman
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Though she stood within arms reach of him, she was a lifetime away; transported in her mind to that secret place of lonely, blissful solitude. Her eyes were squeezed shut; the outside world not welcome here. This battle was hers…and hers alone.
She breathed deeply, but regularly, and rocked steadily back and forth. At times her leg would begin to turn blue. On such occasions the nurse, her sweet smile matched only by the goodness of her kind heart, would lovingly tap her sagging shoulder, gently urging her to shift her weight to the other side.
On the bed she now laid; wanting…needing sweet rest. He lifted the cool water to her parched lips and dutifully mopped her sweating brow with a clean damp towel. He wanted to do more…much more. He wanted to take her in his strong arms, to hold her to his own breast, to remove her from this place, to bear the painful burden on his own broad shoulders, and to utter the words she most longed to hear. “Don’t worry, sweetheart. Everything will be alright.” But this fight was not yet won.
The waves rushed violently upon her now, threatening to crush her under each mighty blow; terrifying in their brute strength and relentless in their constant, merciless attack. She screamed in agony…then again. He pleaded for relief; for merciful release from this stranglehold which so enveloped his beloved.
Then he saw it – just a matted shock of wet hair at first – but a more glorious tuft he had never seen. Slowly, a winsome, delicate head emerged, shutters not yet opened on the lovely hazel eyes - like hers - resting therein. In due time tiny pink fists fought their way free, clenched as if engaged in mortal combat. Finally, a spellbinding little body set suddenly free; a porcelain figurine in a prune-like cocoon. Never had he gazed upon so divine a creature.
Tenderly, he snipped the cord that had so marvelously sustained so fragile a life, knowing full well the true bond between mother and child could never so easily be severed.
The victor clasped her joyous prize in weary, cradle-like arms; too tired to cry, too overcome to speak a word. He leaned down to kiss her forehead. Then, so unexpectedly awash in bliss, he simply turned…and wept.
From indescribable pain…unspeakable joy.
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