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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)

TITLE: Connected
By Patricia Protzman


Maggie stopped in front of her daughter’s bedroom with an armload of laundered sweaters and jeans. The door rattled with each boom of the music. Dreading another confrontation she yelled, “Annie, open the door.”

The racket continued. Maggie kicked the door and shouted, “Open up this minute.”

A redheaded teenager emerged and said with disgust, “Mom, what is it? You don’t have to beat down the door.”

Still standing outside the room Maggie tossed the clothes on the bed and bellowed, “Turn that horrible music off, I’m going deaf.”

Annie switched off the music and yelled back, “You were downstairs, and I didn’t think it mattered.”

Maggie scowled and started to say, “No, nothing matters anymore,” but held her tongue. In the past year, their relationship had deteriorated to the point where they argued about everything.

“Young lady clean your room, it looks like a tornado went through here.”

“Yeah, yeah. You’re always nagging me. Can’t you ever say anything nice?” Annie complained, rolling her eyes.

Maggie placed her hands on her hips and said, “Maybe I would if you surprised me and did what you’re supposed to do. By the way, we have to be at the church for the Christmas Cantata by 6:30 tonight; be ready by 6:15. I’m supposed to bring cookies so I need to get busy.”

“Yes, mo...ther.” Annie sneered watching Maggie descend the stairs. She slammed the door shut and turned up the music.

In the kitchen, Maggie gathered together ingredients to make Christmas cookies.

She climbed upon a chair in front of the cabinet, stood on her tiptoes, and reached for a large mixing bowl.

“Mom...” Annie called entering the kitchen.

Startled, Maggie lost her balance and fell to the floor. Unconsciousness claimed her while blood pooled beneath red locks of hair.

Annie screamed and rushed to her side. “Mom! Mom please don’t die.”

Unable to arouse her mother, Annie pulled her cell phone from her jean pocket and dialed 911. A woman told her to remain calm and wait for an ambulance, which would arrive in a few minutes.

“Oh Lord, please don’t let Mom die.” She prayed.

Annie tried to remain calm but she felt as though she would shake apart. It seemed as though an hour passed before she heard sirens. The EMT’s assessed Maggie then loaded her into the ambulance. Annie grabbed her mother’s purse and jumped in beside her.

They arrived at the hospital in a few minutes. After several questions from a nurse, Annie spent an anxious two hours in the waiting room.

“Hello, I’m Dr. Lefler. Are you Margaret Stone’s daughter?”

“Yes sir, I’m Annie Stone. How is my mother?”

“Your mother has a bad concussion and required twelve stitches to close a deep gash on the back of her head. She has to be quiet and rest for a few days. Is your father available?

Annie stared at her Adidas and replied, “No sir, he died in a car accident last year.”

“Do you have an adult relative who can help you with your mother’s care?”

“I’ll call my Aunt Stella. She lives close by. Can I see my mother now?”

“Yes, she is in the last cubicle on the left. I want to keep her here a few more hours for observation before I discharge her home.”

Annie thanked the doctor for taking care of her mother. Once she found the cubicle, she slowly parted the curtain and entered.

“Mom... are you alright? I’m sorry I caused you to fall and get hurt,” Her voice quivered and tears rolled onto the white sheet.

Still groggy, Maggie touched her daughter’s freckled face, gazed into her teary, blue eyes and said in a weak voice, “I’m okay, honey. I have a gigantic headache but otherwise, I’m fine. Thanks for your help I’m proud of you. It wasn’t your fault, Annie.”

“I felt bad about the way I talked to you, Mom. I wanted to help you make Christmas cookies like we used to do when I was little.”

Maggie kissed Annie’s cheek, “I’m sorry for my harsh words to you. Life hasn’t been easy since your father died, but I shouldn’t have taken out my troubles on you.”

Annie hugged her mother and said, “I’m sorry for the way I’ve treated you too, Mom. I guess you can say we’ve connected again.”

Maggie smiled, closed her eyes, and whispered, “Connected. Yes, that’s the right word.”

Silently she thanked the Lord before dozing off.

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This article has been read 359 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 12/29/10
It's so sad that you need something like this sometimes to snap folks out of their bad communication. Scary.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/31/10
You did an awesome job with these characters. They felt so real and genuine. You also did a great job on showing the story. I could easily picture it all as it unfolded.