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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: Distraught
By T. F. Chezum


Jenny’s hand trembled as she touched her pen to the page. My dearest Patrick.

“I can’t,” she murmured, clenching her fingers into her unkempt brown hair. “No more.” Her voice quivered as she rocked on the edge of her bed. “Can’t do it.” The beleaguered lady heaved a sobbing sigh as she smoothed the paper on the nightstand.

I’m so sorry. I know what a burden I’ve been to you, to everyone. You deserve so much more. She smudged an ink mark to the edge of the page. More than I can give.

The dejected housewife paused, gazing at her reflection in the mirrored back of a small knickknack shelf on the wall. “It’s not right,” she yelled. Mascara smears accentuated her distant hazel eyes. “I’m not right.” Her voice faded to near a whisper. “Why?”

Nothing’s right any more. I’m empty.

“So empty.” She captured a tear on the fingernail of her index finger; another cracked the silence of the room as it splashed onto the page.

I remember being happy.

The dampened words blurred.

We were happy together. She wiped her eyes with the palm of her hand. It’s gone.

“Where did it go?”

It was supposed to get better. She scratched a line across her latest words. I tried to get better. The words became more scribbled as she hurried her thoughts onto the paper. I haven’t.

“I won’t.” Her lips quivered as she uttered the words.

I won’t.

Jenny’s eyes wandered the walls of the bedroom. A lifetime of snapshot memories decorated the powder blue backdrop. “So long ago.” Cuddling a fleece blanket to her chest, she stared at the wedding picture over the dresser. “It was a fairytale.” She nestled her face into the soft throw. “Now, nothing.”

I’m tired of the struggle. She blinked her dampened lashes. Tired of waiting, wondering. She sniffed, trying to control the stream of tears and mucus. Why? She sobbed aloud. I just want things the way they were.

A passing siren broke her concentration. “To be normal again.”

I give up.

She opened her nightstand drawer, fumbling open a bottle of pills.

It’s better this way.

The phone rang.

The despondent wife flinched at the abrupt disturbance, spilling the contents of the container. Tiny capsules bounced about the floor. “Oh no … “ The answering machine intercepted the call. “Leave me alone … please.” She dropped to the ground, scrambling to retrieve the medication.

“You there Jen?”

“Patrick!” The young lady slumped against the wall at the sound of her spouse’s voice.

“Pick up the phone, babe.” Excitement sparkled in his voice. “Guess what.” He cleared his throat. “I’m leaving the conference early. I should be there by dinner … OK?” He laughed. “Can’t wait to see you, babe.”

Jenny scooped the pills back into the bottle. “No more, sweetheart.” Setting the medicine on the table, she grabbed her pen.

You don’t have to worry about me anymore. She sipped some water from the cup by the lamp. I’m so sorry. I’ll miss you. She wept. Love always, Jen.

The distraught young lady flopped across the bed. She hugged her husband’s pillow. “It’s not fair,” she whispered. Her fists clenched with anger as her voice grew with intensity. “It’s not fair.” She threw the pillow, knocking the contents of Patrick’s nightstand onto the floor. “No.” She peered over the edge of the bed. “Did I …” She saw his Bible laying open on the ground. “Oh, Lord.”

The young woman retrieved the book.

She sat up, leaning against the oak headboard with her knees drawn to her chest. “I … I bought this for you … ” Her eyes grew wide. “… In college.”

She wiped her face and read the open passage aloud. “John 14:1.” Her voice cracked. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

She set the Bible on the bed.

“Oh my God. Patrick …” Jenny buried her face into her hands. “I would read this to you when you had doubts about school … and wanted to …” She sobbed aloud. “You wanted to quit.” She struggled to catch her breath. “And I wouldn’t let you.”

She slid down on the bed, curling in the fetal position.

“God … Please … “ Tears streamed down her face. “Help me.” She reached for the prescription on the nightstand. “I’m so confused.”


John 14:1 Quoted from King James Version

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This article has been read 597 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rachel Phelps10/29/10
You did an excellent job pulling me into the dijointed, swirling world of the MC. I didn't feel as if I connected with her very much because it was unclear why she felt so distraught - although the lack of specificity was well done. Toward the end, I felt a little rushed to the conclusion.

Great voice in this piece!
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/30/10
Good job showing the gradual change of her emotions.
Barbara Lynn Culler10/30/10
So what did she do???
This is a cliff hanger that is well told. I could picture it all as you described it so well. The MC reminded me of someone we know and love.
Colin Nielsen10/30/10
Wow. What a killer piece of writing. I really want to know more about these characters. Why does she want to end it all. Why can't she just leave. Emotional. Rings true. It was a pleasure to read. And you will not get any red ink from me.It'd make a great opening to a novel. You'll really hook your readers.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/30/10
Wow! You did an incredible job with this very difficult topic. I liked how you left it open-ended I'm hoping the husband or someone gets there in time to remind her that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Excellent writing!
william price10/30/10
Well, I for one liked your entry. Very drmtic writing that kept me glued to the page. A very emotional read that did leave room for hope at the end. And that is all God needs, is some room. God bless.
Catrina Bradley 10/30/10
I read this a few days ago, but I see I didn't leave a comment. I was left speechless. You made me empathize with your MC - I didn't need to know details to understand her feelings. Great title, too.
Nancy Sullivan 10/30/10
No matter how low the bottom is, Jesus is always the answer. Very well done.
AnneRene' Capp10/31/10
Well I'll tell you what...I'm going to be thinking about Jenny ALL NIGHT! :) This was very well told and if I've got it right...she was distraught at being a burden because she was ill and not getting better so not sure about the questions asking what was wrong with her, unless questions were for a specific disease, but no matter, didn't take away from the story AT ALL. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Connie Dixon10/31/10
The distress in the MC's voice is multiplied by the use of bold letters. I could sense her emotion and her hopelessness. Good job.
Lyn Churchyard10/31/10
First of all, you captured the female MC beautifully. You had me convinced it was a woman speaking. You have showed her despair and heartbreak in a very real way. The disjointedness, the self hate, the 'wishing' for things to be different. Excellent job Tim, excellent.
Leah Nichols 11/02/10
Very emotional piece....drew me right into her world. She is highly believable as a character, although the letter itself seemed a bit cliche (you did say you wanted a little red ink). I think it would add some oomph to include the details of her situation. BUT, that said, I thought this was EXCELLENTLY written and worthy of due honor. :)
Scarlett Farr11/03/10
I'm not sure I can describe my reaction, other than disturbed and intrigued. What was happening in the story was disturbing. Your ability to use 750 words or less to their fullest is the intriguing part!