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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)

TITLE: Intersecting Beginnings
By Marlene Bonney



“Just one more bite, Mom. Do it for me!”

“I’m sorry, it’s just too hard. Leave me alone,” I plead, and then realize that the words were only inside my head. I close my eyes to join them there, to this comfortable room where nothing is required of me, this on-the-edge-of-consciousness sleep-place.

My children’s voices catch in an illusive cobweb inside my brain, wispy strands moving gently across previous trapped incomplete thoughts, hanging loosely.


Muffled sounds seem louder lately. The familiar relaxed thumping penetrates my cocoon, and the lulling sounds of two balloons inflating and deflating above enshroud my confined existence. Bubbly gurgles of fluids wash by and I mentally smile my contentment, yawning. I tentatively stretch my cramped leg.

“Stan, look! I’m touching a tiny foot!” my mother’s voice floats.

“Awesome! Come on, little fella, kick us a long pass!” my father’s deeper voice rumbles.

I draw back in surprise as something tickles my toes.


6:00 PM

I’m running through my meadow, a little girl in a blue dress, matching ribbons attempting to hold my braids neat, my white pinafore ties trailing behind me.

“Lu-cy! Come on back--NOW!”

I pause in my quest, half turning back to answer my sister’s call. But she has disappeared, along with the little girl and the meadow.

“How does that feel, mother?” as another pillow stuffs behind my head, “are you warm enough?”

I want her to stop fussing over me, to stop interrupting my imagination journeys. But my voice is silenced by her anxious eyes penetrating into my glazed ones. What a blessing God gave me with this daughter! I allow my arthritic, heavily-veined fingers to tremble beneath her hand.


I suck my thumb, peeping through the smoky liquids, squirting hormone to the placenta. I’ve been practicing my breathing and napping a lot lately. I hear my mother’s voice, excited and quivery, and I wonder what it’s all about. My body is upside down now, my usual somersaults thwarted.

“Honey, I think he’s dropped!” after the usual duck-waddle exercise walk.



“Doctor, she’s just skin and bones! Isn’t there anything we can do?”

“Your mother emphatically rejected any form of treatment. She’s 80 years old and has suffered immensely this past year. She survived cancer twice two decades ago—but radiation therapy has taken its toll.”

I half listen to the conversation. At 62 pounds, my strength is minimal, my time in this earthly world rapidly fading. It takes every fiber of my being to feign interest in my own family, God forgive me.


Something strange and BIG is happening. Mama is oddly distracted. Today I have been jostled and knocked about while she has been on a cleaning frenzy, her legs and ribs pushing me from all sides. I feel SO squashed.


6:00 AM

“Sometimes it takes hours; sometimes, days,” the Hospice nurse acknowledges, “your mother’s body is starting to shut down.”

“The fall last week, along with the TIA she suffered recently, really set her back,” daughter Amanda tearfully admits.

I wish they wouldn’t be sad. The pain has subsided considerably after the morphine. I’m not afraid of death. Jesus paid the price for me, and I’m going to God. But this dying process is difficult.


“Hey, what’s going on? I’m trying to sleep and you keep waking me up. STOP squeezing me, already!”

“You’re doing fine, sweetheart. Remember to focus on the red stripe on the wall. BREATHE! Your contractions are three minutes apart now. ”



I’m here, but not really here--there, but not really there. I feel so free—from worry, from pain, from loneliness. Oh—my goodness—I’m floating! But—there I am in my chair! And, there’s Amanda and Chris and Dr. Kelly!

“Don’t cry,” I beg, “we’ll see each other in the morning!” turning up toward the purest, softest—yet, brightest—light I have ever seen, while my emaciated carcass below emits a strange breathy whoosh.


I’m pushing my head down as hard as I can, trying to escape. Everything is so tight in here! What are all those loud sounds? Mama sounds so tired . . . WHOOPIE, I’m sliding all the way out . . . YIKES, it’s so COLD . . . I hear loud wails—Hey, those are coming from ME!



“My Great-gramma went to heaven at the same time I was being born 7 years ago . . .!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 02/04/11
Had to read this a couple times. At first I thought all the thoughts were the past and present memories of the woman dying. I think your last sentence would have been a great opening one--a clue to the reader that there are actually two MC's in this piece. That said, I enjoyed the contrast in the voices and the picture words throughout.
Virgil Youngblood 02/07/11
One comes, one goes, and such are the cherished memories of our life shared within family.
Bonnie Bowden 02/08/11
Two lives joined--one by new life on earth, one by new life in heaven.

I am glad you added the last line; I wasn't exactly sure how the baby and grandmother were connected until then.