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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Start (01/16/06)

TITLE: My Johnny
By Deborah Anderson


I plopped down on the beach as I had done many times in the past. I dug my toes in the warm sand, closed my eyes, and turned my face toward the sun. Its golden rays warmed me as the wind tousled my long, blonde hair. The swishing sound of the waves soothed me. Like a sponge, I absorbed the peace and tranquility I had missed for so long. It was in this spot where it all began.

I was 16 when I met Johnny. Johnny had sandy, blonde hair and deep blue eyes, which penetrated my heart the first time he looked at me. We hit it off immediately.

We took quiet walks along the beach and talked at night under the moonlight. We swam, rode horses, and had picnics together. Johnny kissed me for the very first time in the same place where I now sat. It was the last time I saw him. How could something so wonderful end—before it even got started?

Tears stung my eyes as I recalled that night vividly.

I had arrived home one evening after being with Johnny. Mother told me we had to get our things together and leave right away. She said a relative was ill, but all I could think about at the time was Johnny.

“But, Mom,” I cried. “I have to tell Johnny.”
“Send him a postcard,” Mom replied. “My cousin is dying and there are much more important things in life than your Johnny. You'll forget all about him in a week and start a new relationship with some other boy anyway.”

I was devastated. I cried all night.

We pulled out the next morning to head back to Montana. I was in a daze. I didn’t even get to go back to the beach and tell my sweetheart goodbye. I had always purposed in my heart to see Johnny again some day, to explain to him what had happened, but I never got the chance.

Now, years later, I sat trying to recapture the start of something long gone. I opened my eyes and once again admired the beauty of everything around me.

I had no sooner opened my eyes than a boy, who looked just like Johnny, came walking down the beach. All kinds of thoughts swam through my mind. Could this be Johnny’s son? Is it my imagination? Am I seeing a mirage?

I sat and observed this young man from afar. As he neared me, he waved and flashed me a smile. My heart sank. He truly was the spitting image of my Johnny. Before I could speak to him though, my caretaker, Alice, interrupted me.

“Miss Jane,” she said. “It’s time for your medicine.”
“Oh phooey,” I replied. “I hate that stuff.”
Alice smiled, as she always did, and said, “You have to take it, Miss Jane. You don't want to start your day off on the wrong foot now, do you?”

I obliged her and took the handful of pills she held out before me.

“Are we ready to go back to our room?” she asked.
“The boy,” I said. “I have to talk to the boy.”
“Miss Jane,” Alice said. “There’s no boy there.”

I looked again, and what was sand beneath my feet moments earlier, was now green, ceramic tile. I wasn’t sitting on the beach, but in a hallway, in a contraption known as a wheelchair. I looked around and saw Nancy rocking in her chair on the other side of the hall. Further, down the hall, I saw Nathan babbling and repeating the same sentence over and over and over.

“See, Miss Jane? There’s nobody here, honey. I think I’ll take you back to your room for a while,” Alice said.

“Mother was wrong,” I replied.
“What’s that, Miss Jane?” Alice asked.
“Nothing,” I muttered. “It doesn’t matter now.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan01/23/06
Good twist at the end. It was very hard for me to imagine that a summer romance would be yearned for after so many decades. The theme wasn't very noticeable either.
Marilyn Schnepp 01/26/06
Beautiful story of young love; perhaps the subject matter is in the fact that Jane awakens to reality with a "start": but often a First Love is the one love that is never forgotten. Thanks for sharing.