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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)

TITLE: Unspoken
By Donna Powers


You’d expect a room with this many people to be percolating with conversation. But for now, this room is silent. Today, the people in this room are throwing a surprise party, for Pamela.

They know she’ll be home soon, so they’re hiding and keeping quiet. When she comes in the door, they’ll all come out of their hiding places and yell, “surprise!” But the party isn’t the only reason for their silence; each of them has something other than the party; to be quiet about.

The blonde behind the couch is Linda: Pamela’s sister. Linda isn’t happy to be at this party. She mutters, under her breath, about how jealous she is, of Pamela. “She’s always had everything she wants,” Linda complains, when no one can hear. When Linda and Pamela were young, Pamela was the “good kid”; the one who got all their parents’ praise and approval, while Linda always got into trouble. These days, Linda lives alone in a small apartment, while Pamela lives in a beautiful home with a handsome husband. Linda doesn’t understand why she’s got such a lousy life and Pamela has such blessings. She’d love to say what she really thinks of Pamela, but for today, she’ll keep it to herself.

The brunette, near the window, is Raisa. She’s Pamela’s supervisor, at work. She and Pamela are friends, as well as co-workers – and Raisa thinks Pamela’s a great worker. She sees how hard Pamela works, and knows how much Pamela loves her job. Raisa thinks their company is lucky to have Pamela. But she also knows the company will soon be downsizing, and Pamela’s job will be cut. She couldn’t tell Pamela anything like that; at her birthday party, but she knows she’ll have to tell her soon. She won’t tell her today, but knows she can’t put it off too much longer.

The older lady, in the kitchen, is Margaret. This house used to belong to Margaret and her husband Tony. When Tony died, Margaret had to sell this house. Margaret’s glad Pamela and her husband bought the house. She thinks they’re “such a nice young couple” – especially Pamela. Pamela’s been so kind; she’s become like another daughter, to Margaret. Margaret has wanted to talk to Pamela, for a few weeks now. How can she tell her young friend that soon she’ll be going “home” to meet Tony? Margaret isn’t scared to die, but she could really use a friend to talk to. Lately, “a friend” has meant Pamela. But there are no words for such things today, so they’ll have to stay unspoken.

Behind the door is Pamela’s husband, Robert. He planned this party, and you might think that’s a sweet thing for him to do. He loves Pamela; he thinks she’s one of God’s most wonderful blessings, to him. But, Robert has a secret. About a month ago, Robert was flirting with a coworker – and things got out of hand. It was only just that one time, and Robert is determined never to betray Pamela’s trust, again. But, he’s still tempted. He can’t imagine the thought of telling Pamela – and he won’t consider changing jobs, to avoid the woman. So, he decided to throw this party, to lavish his love on Pamela. He hopes this will somehow “make up” for what he did. He’ll just have to go out of his way to keep his secret; what else can he do?

As for Pamela, she has her own unspoken words, today – she was on the phone, with her doctor, this morning. Pamela just learned she and Robert are going to have a baby. Pamela really wants a baby, but Robert has told her they can’t really one, right now. So, she kept her exciting news to herself, this morning. Today, she plans to tell him. She can’t hold in the news, for even one more minute.

You’d expect a room with this many people to be percolating with conversation. And, as expected, this room soon will be filled with joyous and friendly conversation.

But, the words everyone leaves unspoken will weigh more heavily; than the words they all will choose to speak.

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This article has been read 553 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 02/25/10
The present tense adds to the tension, and I can feel the silence in the house. Part of me wants to say there are too many commas, but they add to the atmosphere, slowing the pace and creating silent pauses. The paragraph about Raisa isn't as polished as the rest of this piece, which kept my attention to the thought-provoking ending. Nice!
Donna Wolther02/27/10
Very true to real life and you did a good job portraying the different characters.
Pam Carlson-Hetland03/01/10
This kept my attention all the way through. Descriptions of characters gave the reader a good look at the "cast". And the ending summed things up nicely. Good job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/03/10
This is wonderful and so true. You captured and told each person's secret in such a believable way. I held on to every word.