Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)
TITLE: Heartbreak Pass
By stanley Bednarz
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Thanks to the seductive feminine voice of my GPS, I had set course through a rugged mountain pass, but she didn't predict avalanches, spring snow, or if I will live to see tomorrow.
My lower limbs grew numb, as if paralyzed. Ice latched onto my eyebrows and under my chin. I dug into my jacket for my cell phone, and blew on it. I prayed for bars. No bars!
Montrose Christian Writer's Conference will have to make due without me. The manuscript that should've made me famous was buried in the passenger seat, and it hardly mattered anymore.
Somewhere along the way, my writing ambition turned selfish, fueled like an addiction. Instead of growing closer to my family, I hid in my office at home, like some unholy monk with a computer, as if I were god-like, creating my own world for people to live in. I pushed my family away.
I would've traded my best words just to feel the warmth of her skin. When I closed my eyes: I could feel the waves of her silken brown hair brush the stubbles of my face, and I could taste the warmth of her trembling lips. Her unbridled love drove my every thought to live.
I realized more than anything, that I had sacrificed my wife Bethany on the altar of my ego. The only words that mattered now, were the words that said, "I Love you." I felt my frozen heart melting, burning with desire, but it wasn't enough to free my legs.
I imagined my daughter Anna. Oh how I would give a thousand words of silver and gold, just to catch her falling into my arms, and watch her hazel eyes light on fire to see me at our door.
I howled like a lonely wolf, as if someone should hear me in a blizzard that muffled even the roar of an engine. With all my strength, and one mighty shout, I tried to free myself.
All was useless. I whimpered before God as a useless mole, buried alive.
"Words. Words. Words! I built my whole life on words."
That's when I realized; I kept a notebook and pen in the pocket of my shirt, as a writer's habit, for those ecliptic moments.
I punched through the impacted snow until my hands turned blood red-until I found the tools of my trade.
I shook the transparent blue pen in my hand, as if it were a vein, an artery of life. I blew on it too, shivering, hand shaking violently, until I was forced to steady one hand over the other like a broken gearshift.
My Dearest Beth and Ann:
If you find this letter, don't fret. I have crossed into paradise.
I don't regret an unsold manuscript. I do regret that I kept you both at a distance, and did not love you both, as I should have. I see now that our love story was the best one to write, and you wrote it with me, through every valley, on every mountain, through laughter and tears, all moments, all years.
Let's rejoice together that God wrote the greatest love story of all, and by his grace we play a role, and for us, this is not the end. There is always more.
When I close my eyes and pass over, I will be thinking of you.
My dearest Husband:
A young man came to our door, the first one at the scene of your accident. With tears in his eyes, he told me how he found you, how it changed his life. He said that he had found a note firmly clenched in your left hand, as if to declare your wedding band. When he wiped away the fresh fallen snow it was clearly visible: a sign of our unbroken love. It took some doing, but he managed to pry the note from your frozen fist, and amazingly it was dry to the bone.
After these many years, and a river of tears that wash to the shore of your grave, I still read your note, and thought then, as I do now, that a love story well told, is the most enduring story of all.
Beth & Ann
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