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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Flat (01/03/13)

TITLE: Florescent Green Mountains and Valleys
By Terry R A Eissfeldt


He lay so quiet I dare not breath. The whirr and hum of medical machinery is the only interruption to the stagnant air. I take no notice. My gaze is fixed firmly on the face of my father.

When did he become old?

When did I?

I shift my position in the lumpy yellow chair. Pain
surges down my left foot like a bolt of lightening. A moan escapes my dry lips. What made me think I was up to the task of seeing my father through this surgery? I close my eyes wishing it were power enough to stem the tide of threatening tears.

In two weeks time I’ll be in a recovery room. The hope of peaceful sleep, even if going under a knife is the price, far outweighs other, more desperate, options that have dominated my mind of late.

Pain is an equalizer like no other.

Recently, I stood so high on my soapbox I should have expected the inevitable fall. Pride and all that…

My friend’s husband took his own life. He lived in chronic pain. He called himself a Christian. I denounced him as selfish and deceived. Yet only two months into the same dark world and the big “S” word swirls in and out of my own consciousness like a compelling fragrance.

The crinkling sound of plastic intrudes my private thoughts. Despite the movement, my father’s eyes remain closed. After a few minutes, I allow myself to think of home.

Guilt, like a soaking wet wool blanket, both heavy and cold, wraps around me.

Yesterday morning, as I remained in bed, my husband fed my horses. He was gone less than five minutes when the phone rang shrilly, compelling me to risk rising.

“I need your help,” breathless and urgent, his voice communicated disaster, “Gaby kicked through the wall and she’s stuck.”

I threw on a sweatshirt and socks. As I pulled my rubber boots on carefully, to avoid any sudden movements, I prayed.

“God, I can’t take any more. Please…why can’t life be uneventful? I’m so tired of all the mountains and valleys. Why can’t my life be like a prairie for once? Flat and with a view of the horizon. A warning of what’s coming?”

Gaby was carrying my sixteen-year-old daughter’s future horse. So many hopes and dreams were slowly and surely growing with the foal.

We managed to get her leg unstuck and she seemed okay. I somehow found the strength to hose, massage, and wrap her legs. When we finally sat down for coffee the phone rang again. It was my father.

“I’m in emergency,” a heavy sigh filled the miles between us, “They’re keeping me. I’m scheduled for surgery tomorrow. Can you come? I don’t want to be alone.”

I left the injured horse. I left my husband and children. I traveled here to support a father who never supported me. Of his five children, I alone came.

Somewhere down the hall alarms ring jarring me back to the present. Nurses and doctors run by. Machinery races past the door, pushed by urgent orderlies. Some one has flat-lined. I glance at the machinery surrounding my father.

Blips and bleeps. Rises and falls. Florescent green mountains and valleys with a straight red line running through.

I close my eyes again. Once more the threat of tears is there but this time I let them come. I pray.

“Heavenly Father, thank you for the mountains and valleys in my life. Without them I wouldn’t be alive. Forgive me for asking for a flat life. I see now that it isn’t life, it’s death. Thank you for the promise that You never leave me or forsake me. Even when I feel alone You’re there. I know You’re good. I know You love me, my father, and even my horses. I trust You with all the circumstances that are pressing in right now. I may be pressed but I am not crushed.”

“Hey,” garbled by drugs and weak, my father reaches for my hand, “thanks for being here.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Hawbaker01/10/13
A good read, though it seemed a bit disjointed at first--going from dad in hospistal to your upcoming surgery to a friend's suicide to a horses injury...I guess you were portraying the way life is sometimes! Liked the ending.
Leola Ogle 01/12/13
This evoked such powerful emotions. You did a good job portraying the mountains and valleys in life. This really touched me. Good job! God bless!
Ellen Carr 01/12/13
This is a confronting and moving piece of writing and about difficult things. The ending draws it to a positive close. Well written.
C D Swanson 01/14/13
So moving and so powerful and gripping. Loved this entire entry from the first sentence to the very last.

Thanks. God bless~