Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Elephant in the Room (12/05/13)
TITLE: Speaking for Life
By Karen Milkiewicz
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“I knocked Kay’s trash can over with my ball, and this fell out.”
All eyes turned to Kay, who shrank down into her chair, willing it to swallow her. Her father started trembling, and her mother’s face drained of all color. Kay couldn’t even bear to look at the pastor and his wife. After what seemed like an eternity, Kay’s mom broke the palpable silence, answering her son.
“It’s nothing, dear. Go put it back in the trash, please.” She turned back to her guests, not missing a beat. “Now, who would like more tea?”
The pastor and his wife gave each other a look. “No more for us, thanks,” the pastor replied. “Thank you for a delicious dinner. I think we’d better be going.”
They rose from their seats, and Kay took the opportunity to steal away to her room, heart pounding. She had planned to tell her parents, but didn’t know how. She sat cross-legged on her bed, waiting. She heard the front door close, and she waited for the inevitable. Muffled voices floated through the floorboards, but she couldn’t make them out. The minutes ticked away, but no one came up. As the moon rose bright in the sky, she pulled the covers over her head and longed for the peace that sleep would bring.
In the morning, Kay gathered her courage and headed downstairs. Her mother was making coffee and her father sat at the table, his nose buried in the paper. Kay’s stomach turned at the breakfast smells. Her mother glanced over at her.
“Good morning, sweetheart. Can I get you something to eat?”
Kay shook her head and looked at her in disbelief. Were they actually going to ignore the situation? “No, I’m not hungry.” Her mom pressed a granola bar into her hand as she headed out the door. “Eat. You’ll feel better.”
Kay walked the three blocks to school in silence, nibbling on the granola bar as she went. Her pulse quickened as she saw Ted approaching from the opposite direction. A month ago she would have called him her boyfriend, but lately, he hardly spoke to her. She hurried to intercept him.
“Did you get my text this weekend?”
He barely glanced at her as he strode into the building.
“What do you want from me? Just take care of the problem.”
Kay slumped against the side of the building, feeling like a deflated balloon. She wasn’t surprised, considering the way he’d been ignoring her, but it still hurt. She spent the rest of the day in a daze, feeling utterly alone.
When she returned home, she headed up to her bedroom, exhausted. On her bed was an envelope. Opening the folded paper inside, a few bills fluttered to the floor. She read her father’s familiar handwriting:
“Thought you might need some money to take care of things.”
Kay wanted to scream. Why would no one talk to her about this? Everyone wanted to pretend it didn’t happen. Well, it had happened, and she didn’t think just “taking care of it” was the answer. Hot tears streamed down her cheeks. As she ripped the note to pieces, she heard the doorbell ring. Wiping her eyes on her sleeve, she headed downstairs to find Barbara, the pastor’s wife.
“I thought you might need a friend right now. There’s somewhere I’d like to take you, if it’s ok.”
Kay nodded numbly and followed her out to the car. When they pulled up to a building that said “County Women’s Services”, Kay felt like her heart had died. Barbara, whom she trusted so much, wanted her to get rid of the baby too!
The bright-eyed woman at the podium paused, and scanned the audience. “Kay was wrong. That’s not what Barbara was doing. Kay was taken into that building, given an ultrasound, and told that the life inside her was precious. Barbara saved my life that day, for you see, Kay is my mother.” She looked out at the audience, smiling. “In a time when no one wanted to talk about what happened, that woman took a chance and befriended a young girl who was scared and alone. I ask you to do the same. If you support our local women’s services center, you never know whose life you may save.”
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