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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: Ruined
By Sheri Gordon


I fight to open my eyes, but something inside me warns me not to wake up. My stomach hurts. My head feels heavy. And who's vacuuming? Don't they know I'm trying to sleep? Where am I, anyway?

"Happy birthday dear Chloe, happy birthday to you."¯ I blow out the six pink candles, straighten the princess birthday crown on my head, and eagerly anticipate a giant piece of angel food cake with strawberry frosting and my most favorite ice creams--chocolate, chocolate chip.

"Oops, Mommy, I dropped ice cream on my princess dress. Now my life is ruined."¯

"No worries, sweetie, Mommy will take care of it. Mommies can fix anything."¯ Mommy kisses me on the cheek, and I know everything will be okay.

The incessant vacuuming is joined by talking. Loud talking. Hey, am I invisible here? It sounds like someone is moving silverware aroundā€”dropping it onto a metal tray. Would everyone please stop making so much noise? I just need to get some sleep. There is way too much commotion going on here. What's the crisis, anyway?

Mom brings our blue mini-van to a screeching halt in front of Madison Middle School. I am late for school--again.

"Do you have your science project, sweetie?"

"Yes, Mom."¯ I roll my eyes. "Why do you always question me? I'm a teenager now--I can take care of myself."¯

I wrestle the white display board out the back sliding door.

"Oops, the spring fell off the board. Oh, great. Now what am I supposed to do? I'm already late for first period. My life is ruined."

"No worries, sweetie. I'll take care of it. I'll just run home, grab the glue gun, come back and have this board fixed before your science class. Remember, Mommies can fix anything."¯ She blows me a kiss and mouths "everything will be okay"¯ before speeding away.

The vacuuming stops. My stomach cramps. The loud talking is replaced by hushed voices. I strain to hear, but can only make out a few words. Missed. Pieces. Bleeding. The vacuum starts up again. Good grief, how big is the room, anyway?

"Oh, Eric, I wish you didn't have to leave tomorrow. How am I going to live without you?"¯

"Sshh, baby, I know."¯ Eric pulls me tighter into his embrace. "It's only for a few months, and then I'll be home for winter break."

"But what if you meet some college girl who steals your heart away from me?"

"Hey, I already told you, nobody's going to steal my heart. And, besides, the love we're going to share with each other tonight will bond us together as one. Forever."

Eric lies back on his bed and tugs at my arm. His parents are gone for the evening; my parents think we're at a movie. Eric and I have been dating for two years. Everyone calls us the perfect couple. He was captain of the Debate team; I was co-captain. He plays bass in the youth group worship band, I sing lead. We both volunteer at the city soup kitchen.

We'd been talking for weeks about how we would spend our last night together, and I really did want to give myself to Eric completely, but--

"I don't know, Eric. The Bible says this is wrong."

"Come on, Chloe. We love each other. And it will only be this one time. Then we'll wait until we're married."

Eric gently caresses my cheek with the back of his hand. His tender kisses on my neck make me melt in his arms. As he slowly begins unbuttoning my blouse, I hesitate, pushing his hand away from my now exposed bare skin.

"What if, you know--something goes wrong?"

"Relax, Chloe, I got protection from the school nurse."

Eric returns to my buttons and I stop listening to the still small voice and start reacting to my passionate desires.

It all happens very quickly. Not quite like I'd pictured--or seen in the movies.

"Oops."¯ Eric abruptly rolls away from me.

"What's wrong?" I reach for the blanket--suddenly ashamed of my nakedness.

"Uh, nothing. Just a little slippage. No worries."

"Chloe, Chloe. Can you hear me?"¯

I hear her voice. I don't want to open my eyes. I have intense pain in my lower abdomen. I know what that vacuuming was. My life is ruined.

"The nurse said everything went fine, sweetie. It's all taken care of. See? Mommies can fix anything."

She kisses me and I know--everything is not okay.

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This article has been read 3403 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chely Roach01/23/10
Wow. The fantastic pacing, perfectly placed repeated phrases, and the tragic authenticity of this story give it a very literary feel. Loved it.
Catrina Bradley 01/24/10
What a heart breaker! I don't like how mommy fixed this "oops", but I do like how you wove that theme through her memories.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/24/10
Chilling. You did a great job of weaving the past and present together with your "mommies can fix anything" line.
Jan Ackerson 01/25/10
Absolutely chilling--I read it with growing horror and the realization of why the vacuum motif was being repeated. Masterful use of foreshadowing. Heartbreaking story, written exceptionally well.
Barbara Lynn Culler01/25/10
Powerful story. I found it somewhat confusing at first read,but I did understand what was happening.
Rachel Rudd 01/28/10
Congratulations on your first place, Sheri. This is gripping and extremely well-written.
Janice Fitzpatrick01/28/10
Wow Sheri. This is amazing and intensely horrifying as you begin to understand what's happening. Great flow and piecing of the puzzle. Congratulations, you so deserve your first placing.WELL DONE!! God bless.
Mona Purvis01/28/10
Sheri, this entry had me holding my breath and hoping it was not what it turns out to be.
Very strongly written.

Bryan Ridenour01/28/10
Wow extremely powerful entry. Congratulations on a well deserved first place!
Carol Slider 01/28/10
Wow! What an amazing pro-life story--vivid and chilling, with an unexpected ending. Very well done--congratulations!
Steve Uppendahl01/28/10
Very well told story. I like how you were able to weave several themes into one short piece. Well done. (I also like seeing the occasional dark piece win.)
Patricia Turner01/28/10
Congratulations on your 1st place win and EC! A tragic tale outstandingly written.
william price01/28/10
so sad. So real. So deserving of any award that can be heaped upon it. Congrats on win. God bless.
Connie Dixon01/28/10
Congratulations. I found this story very intriguing, sad and unfortunately, too real. Ruined indeed.
Patricia Herchenroether01/28/10
So intense; I could feel something terrible looming. A heartbreaking end. This is an astounding entry. Congratulations on your win. Patty
Margaret Kearley 07/01/10
So heartbreaking and so incredibly sad yet, I fear, so universally common. A brilliant piece of writing. Congratulations on your 3rd place Bob - very well deserved.
Joanne Sher 07/01/10
Oh, Sheri. Incredibly powerful and masterfully written. Chilling and incredible, and so deserving of your BoB placement. Congratulations.
Beth LaBuff 07/01/10
You skill and creativity used in this story is excellent. Congrats, Sheri, on your best of the best award with this!
Seema Bagai 07/01/10
Congrats on your win.
Rachel Phelps07/01/10
Amazing. Congratulations on your BOB placing!
Charla Diehl 07/02/10
This story should appear in every teen magazine that is published. Excellent writing that led to the realistic conclusion that some things cannot be magically fixed. So glad that this was recognized with a BoB award. Congrats to you.
Patsy Hallum07/02/10
Genia Gilbert07/03/10
So graphic and in touch with reality. BOB is very fitting for you, and for this story. Congratulations!
Nancy Bucca07/24/10
Chilled me to the bone. May this message get out to teens that need to hear it! Also, it really makes me think, as a parent, what sort of subtle attitudes I may be passing on to my children.
Ifeoma Dennis10/03/10
Did mommy fix the situation by vacuuming out the fetus?
Then everything is not okay..
Great read...I couldn't resist not leaving a comment ;D
Bola M. Eyinla10/10/10
No one is "ruined" in the sight of our God. He is always there to fix and repair all that is broken. Our God is a forgiving God and all that He wants is a heart of repentance. "Judge not or you will be judged". The Bible also warn believers against "self condemnation". What is done is done. It is now okay to move from "Mommy fixes everything" to "God fixes everything".

This story is very well written and congratulations for the award! God bless you and yours (Amen).
Carol Penhorwood 10/11/10
Powerfully moving and heartbreaking! I can certainly see why this piece was one of the "Best of the Best"! Well done.

"Nothing can separate us from the love of God"
Rosemarie Thompson01/06/11
Whew....I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. What a powerful ending. And what a message.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/26/11
This is such an intense piece. Wow it has tears in my eyes. As a young teen who got pregnant exactly this way, my heart aches. Thankfully, my choice was different and I have been blessed every single day by her for the last 27 years.
Karlene Jacobsen03/05/11
WOW Sheri. Intense. I was there with her. Congrats on your BoB, wish I'd seen it before now. WOW!
Robyn Jackson05/19/11
This was really good...sad, but good. I don't know if it's a true story, but I could feel the sadness of the young lady...if it is a true story, my heart and prayers go out to you.
Ethelyn Martin05/28/11
Very powerful. I was just shocked at the end. The vacuuming I did not see coming. Very gripping. Made me wonder. Kept me engaged. Was not predictable. Realistic and believable. Made me want to turn the page and read what else happened. Would make a very good prologue to a book.
I literally gasped at the end as I DID NOT see that coming. The mommie at the end of the story seemed to turn into an evil woman. I could almost see her evil smile as she looked down at the daughter.
An unforgettable piece.
Again, very well done.
Juliette Chamberlain-Bond07/16/11
I don't quite know why Mummy became the villain of the piece since she wasn't in the bedroom with Eric. (LOL)

Enjoyable but sad read which shadows the story of so many young people.