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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

TITLE: How? Oh, No!
By Michael Joshua



I pressed the pause button on the remote and got up from the recliner when I heard my name. As I walked toward our room, I heard my wife’s voice - “Danny?” coming from the bathroom. I turned the corner and looked through the half-open door to see my wife sitting at the mirror on her makeup stool with her head in one hand and something else in the other one…

It dawned on me that it was a home pregnancy test before she even looked up at me. Her eyes were red and anxiety showed on her face.

“Oh, no,” was all I said.


“Oh, no,” I said again. Then I realized that I repeated myself.

“Danny, how could this have happened?”

I slumped to the floor and just shook my head.

“What will we tell the kids?”

Our kids, now that was another issue. They were 30, 28 and 27 – all with children of their own. How were we going to tell the grandkids that we were going to have a baby? How did this happen?

“Honey, are you even up to a pregnancy? You’re going to be 53 in three days.”

With a look that could have turned butter, my wife didn’t respond.

“Sorry,” I said. “Let’s go to the kitchen and talk about it.”

As I stepped into the hallway, I remembered the game was still on TV. Without a second thought, I clicked the “off” button on the remote and threw it on the couch.

“I have the paper, and a pencil.”

With that, she drew a line down the middle of the page and wrote “PROS” on the top right and “CONS” on the top left. We have done ‘pros and cons’ lists for the 33 years of our marriage. It always worked, so it had become automatic for us.

She started, “PROS – new life, blessing, laughter, fresh start…”

I continued, “CONS – crying, diapers, expensive baby food, baby furniture, daycare, loss of freedom…” as my voice trailed off, I saw my wife’s eyes tearing up.

“PROS – kissing boo-boos, school plays, patter of little feet, tiny hands, hearing ‘mama’…”

“CONS – I’ll need to sell my two-seater, give up my den for a nursery…” I slumped down in my chair.

When I looked up, my wife was no longer at the table. I heard her sobbing in the guest bathroom.

I walked in, she stood at the mirror, her reflection was well … sad. I stood looking over her shoulder and put my hands on her upper arms. I turned her face toward mine and said – “PROS – new life, blessing from God, someone new to love.”

She hugged me tighter than she had in a good many years. We stood there, the tears fell – as we pulled apart and looked at one another, we both said, “It will be ok.”

We walked into my den, and marked off how the furniture could be laid out, where we would place the CD player that would play classical music to help him or her fall off to sleep, which outlet would have the nightlight… As we talked, we each became more animated with the planning process. We could do this, after all, we had done it before.

“And here, this is where I want the rocker, where I will nurse the baby.” I smiled at her joy and nodded.




“Wake up, Danny. You’re talking in your sleep again.”

I turned, and opened one eye. Seeing my wife look at me from the other side of the bed, I opened the other eye. I reached across the dog, found her hand and squeezed it.

“What were you dreaming about, honey?”

“I don’t really remember, sweetie.”


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This article has been read 684 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chely Roach02/18/10
Wow! You really had me going for it, you sly dog. I was thinking, "Really? 53? Really?" I was also wanting to clobber Danny for making it all about him, which he wisely rectified. A tender--and for many of us--frightening piece of writing with a satisfying and unsuspecting twist ending. Great job!
Dana McReynolds02/18/10
Nice twist at the end!
Ada Nett02/18/10
awww ...you disappointed me with the twist...I was so happy for them! Excellent writing though, held my attention from the first word to the last!
Mark Bell02/20/10
i have always enjoyed using the twist of "watching" a dream and then waking up. you did a good job of engaging us, and then taking us somewhere else.
Gina Fifo02/20/10
Very cute! Being in your age group, I could see the mortification of your children ahead - what?? You have SEX?? LOL
c clemons02/20/10
I knew something had to be up, because I hadn't gotten to the 'phew' part, so the ending was a good twist, good writing.
Sarah Elisabeth 02/25/10
Congrats on your EC Michael!
Michael Joshua02/25/10
WOW! Thanks - My first one too!!
Bryan Rudolph02/25/10
My, oh, my . . . what a delightful ride . . . even without the twist, but . . . with the twist, well . . . like Danny, phew!

Congratulations, Michael, on your 1st Place Win; thank you for your outstanding entry.

Joan Campbell02/25/10
I really enjoyed this. I was so drawn in to their emotions and planning that the twist took me by surprise. Congrats on your EC Michael!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/25/10
You had me going. Good job and congrats on EC
Lisa Johnson02/25/10
You certainly had me going... I was right there with your MC's all the way... Great twist at the end... very deserving of the level win and EC placement. Congratulations.
Chely Roach02/25/10
Congrats on your EC! Great job!
Michael Joshua02/25/10
Thanks everyone! It was kinda fun to write! I'm VERY excited!
Brenda Shipman 02/25/10
Congratulations Michael! This was a great story!
Beth LaBuff 02/25/10
LOL! Great story.. I was relieved it was a dream too.. I'm close in age to...(well nevermind). :) Super congrats on your level placing and Editor's Choice award!