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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)

TITLE: Childish Things
By Chris Janzen


The pain in Katie's arm was oppressive. She was momentarily helpless under the crushing weight of the motorcycle.

Only moments before she'd been having the time of her life...and now, not so much.

She clumsily crawled out from under the bike but could not stand. She was dizzy and hurt everywhere, especially her arm. The throbbing made her nauseous.

Without even thinking, she prayed, “Lord, help me.”

With great effort, she got to her feet. Another wave of nausea accompanied the sight of her arm. It dangled hideously and she was unable to move it.

The throbbing was getting worse and the arm was freakishly misshapen.

“I can make it.” Katie limped from the trail to the gravel road. “It's not that far...” Katie had grown increasingly good at convincing herself she could do anything. She'd had to.

She'd always been the toughest kid on the block, winning handily whatever challenge the neighborhood kids came up with. She let her mind drift back to that time and the fun she'd had on her smaller dirt bike when she was 12.

She loved to ride on the beach near her home, splashing through the shallow water and watching the birds scatter.

She enjoyed the trails just as much, exploring deep into the woods, never afraid, just having the time of her life.

Katie's dad had a motorcycle and took her for rides when she was very little. She was soon begging for one of her own and became a skilled rider, never reckless. She just rode for the pure joy of it.

That exhilaration was what she was seeking when she bought herself a birthday present. Her husband's jaw dropped when the shiny red motorcycle was delivered.

“Katie...what in the world?” Josh knew her as his dutiful wife, vigilant with the keeping up of their home, and an attentive, loving mother. This seemed out of character.

Katie, however, was craving adventure. A milestone birthday loomed and she intended to enjoy it.

She hadn't had much time for herself since the kids came along and she was entrenched in the daily grind of mothering.

In just a few short years she went from being able to do what she wanted when ever she wanted, to never being able to do anything she wanted ever! It all happened so fast!

Now, the kids were all in school. It was time to do something for herself. The dirt bike was her answer.

It became more than just a fun way to spend an hour. For Katie, it was therapy; freedom, exhilaration...a way to feel young again.

Her overly protective mother was concerned. She just “didn't want to see Katie get hurt.”

She remembered how she'd scoffed at her mom, judging her harshly for her “old person mentality.”

Why did she want to rob her of the one little joy that was hers alone?

“I'm 40 years old and if I want to ride a motorcycle, I'll jolly well ride one!”

As Katie dragged her injured leg and cradled her sore arm, she made slow progress home. She thought about how spiteful and angry she'd been toward her mom.

“This certainly proves her right...I'm not 12 any more.” Her mom had reminded her repeatedly that she was no longer a kid.

She knew she'd never be a kid again, but was there any harm in feeling like one now and then?

She could see her driveway and the yard strewn with bikes and toys, some of which the kids had outgrown. She was reminded of a Bible verse.

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”

As she limped up to the porch her children rushed to her. The look of fear and panic in their eyes hurt her far more than the throbbing arm. She never wanted to see that look again...ever.

Lying in the ambulance, she thanked God for His protection and for helping her see it was time to put away childish things. Not just the motorcycle, but the spite, anger, and judgment she felt toward her mother.

She realized her mom cared, and that her worrying was her way of saying, “I love you.” She finally got it.

“She's a good mom...Thank you Lord." she whispered, as the morphine kicked in and she drifted off...

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Member Comments
Member Date
c clemons01/18/10
A few gaping holes here and there, i.e., why there was no help for her on road. Although it may be the writer's view that riding a motorcycle at forty is childish, millions who do may not agree. Keep writing.
Karlene Jacobsen01/18/10
Oh how we try to retain our youth... that scripture really hit home. Thank you.
I do have one question: If she could walk home, why did she need an ambulance?

Great writing. Keep up the good work.