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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bon Voyage (09/05/05)

TITLE: Parting for Healing
By Cyndie Odya-Weis


“Bon Voyage,” said the young woman to her husband of six years. No, he was not going off to war. Neither was he setting sail on a wondrous life adventure or thrilling vacation. He was dead.

There was no funeral, no regrets, no good-byes. Those things are saved for physical death.

With spiritual death, it goes unnoticed. “Unfranchised grief,” the psychologists call it; pain from a loss for which others have no sympathy message; no “I’m sorry” in any language, no “bon voyage” from a mourning crowd.

The young woman sensed the coffin closing. She had seen signs of illness. There was no will to live. But there was an uncanny desire to keep his body alive. Until that night.

She was sleeping alone, awaiting the familiar sounds of the garage door opening, his key in the lock, the light switch click and the hum of the refrigerator door opening. Shshshshoom, chink chink click hummmm. Then the creaking stairs and a soft, “hello.” Occasionally, a drunken fall would punctuate the predictable rhythm of the sounds. Shshshshoom, chink chink click hummmm. BABOOMM
That night, she heard the Shshshshoom of the garage door opening. Minutes later, she heard the same Shshshshoom of it closing.

In her twilight sleep, a million nightmares flashed in her head. Robber?, Dream?, Garage door malfunction??? Newspaper headlines ribboned past, invading her dreams, “Suicide death by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.”

Her mind jarred awake and her body followed in a swizzle of sensation. Somehow she arrived at the garage door with no hummmm, chink, chink or click, and thankfully, no BA BOOOMMM during her fleeing descent to the first floor of their modest home.

Her finger automatically pushed the button of the extra transmitter hanging by its clip in the back hall to open the door of the detached garage. She ran outside to the opening door. There was his car. She smelled the accumulating exhaust of the engine still running. Her understanding of the scene came together like chips of metal filings fly to a powerful magnet.

“Oh my God- heaven help us!” she screamed with raw emotions of trauma. She ran to the car door. It was locked. She peered in the passenger side window at the still shape of her husband. She pounded on the glass. The shape moved. She continued to pound and her words, slightly more thought-out than the screams, spewed forth in anger- like a billy club to an enemy.

“What do you think you’re doing?!” His car door opened.

“I guess I fell asleep,” he said casually. He rolled out of the car and started to lumber toward the house.

“You were in the closed garage with the engine running.” She looked toward their house, just 10 feet away from the garage door in their small city lot. There in the window was a toddler, awakened by the screaming.

In the pit of her gut, somewhere between the heart and the bile, it felt like pummeling knives; twisting knives. Running on instinct, she raced inside to rock and comfort the babe, thankful that her older child awakened only enough to notice her with the little one in her arms.

“It’s OK, honey, your sister’s having a bad dream.” I wish I was too, she thought.

“I love you, mom,” came the words from the sleepy one.

“Love you too, babe…. And you too honey. And Jesus loves us all.” Even dad, she thought….

Again, the knife pummeled in her gut; a pummel of realization. She was a single parent. Her children were fatherless. They were all the victims of yet another drunken driver. She was glad they were the only three.

“Bon Voyage, bon voyage, our ships need to set sail, our lives need to part. I can’t keep you afloat in my boat any longer. Have a good voyage to the land of healing. My boat can’t get you there. I’ve been a dingy long enough, pulling you along to islands of treatment and counseling and church groups and revivals. Our lives need to part. Bon Voyage Bon Voyage.”

She rocked and she sobbed and she sang. And she felt the arms of their Father caress them all in a giant, room-sized hug.

Creak creak sob, kiss sniffle snore….. Jesus loves us this I know, for the Bible tells me so…… creak, creak, sob, kiss sniffle snore. Michael row the boats ashore, alleluia, Michael row both boats ashore, alleluia…

She knew they would all be OK.

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This article has been read 1291 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Crista Darr09/13/05
Powerfully written.
B Brenton09/13/05
Hope you win! This is my choice thus far. Love it! Love it! Love it! Bout time someone wrote about something like this. God bless.
Val Clark09/13/05
So sad when a relationship breaks down. So true that Jesus is with us always. Powerfully written. Loved the 'room sized hug.' Fourth paragraph confused me - left me thinking the husband was on a life support system.
Jan Ackerson 09/14/05
So heartbreaking! You have a unique style that demands a 2nd and 3rd reading to get all the nuances of meaning. And each reading gets better.
Maxx .09/17/05
A strong contender. Could be the winner. Very nicely done. Polished and 99% perfect. Well done!