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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: The Forgotten
By Chris Clement


I put the magazine down on my lap and looked up as Chad walked up and stopped a few yards next to the lawn chair where I was seated. He was looking away from me at Tina who was playing on the swing set, but his gaze seemed distant, staring at something unseen. He was quiet and stoic as if the world did not exist past the patch of grass where he stood.

Something was wrong.


Chad turned slowly, but he did not face me. His trance continued and he did not speak.
Minutes passed as I stared at him waiting for an answer. Then he looked down and breathed in as if reconciling himself to his task.

"This is not going to be easy."

My skin grew cold and I felt a hard thump in my chest. My hands moved to the arms of the chair as if the world were about to fall underneath me.

"I'm not sure how to say this so I'll just say it. I'm leaving...for a while."

My voice left and my mind locked in confusion. I looked at him blankly, unable to understand. He saw shock in my eyes and his own turned down betraying his shame.

I forced the words out weakly. "How long?"

His eyes still stared down, unable to look at me. He shook his head.

"I don't know, Trish."


He did not answer.

"You have to talk to me." I felt anger flash across my face.

He looked up. "We both knew this was coming."

I nodded toward Tina. "You're leaving us?”

He nodded. "It's better for her. We do nothing but fight."

"When you are here, we fight about you never being here." I shook my head as my chin fell to my chest.

"I'm not going to rehash our fights, Trish." He turned away.
Then the reason came to me. I closed my eyes, said a prayer, and asked the question I dreaded to ask.

"Are you going to live with her?"

I opened my eyes and saw the dismay form across his face. He began to speak and then stopped and bowed his head again. His silence confirmed my fear. He was having an affair.

My face tightened and my lips turned down as I tried in vain to muffle the erupting emotions from pouring out. Tears streamed down my face. I pulled my hands across my chest and hugged my shoulders to break the feeling of nakedness that was washing over me. I was like a turtle turned upside down in the baking sun, helpless and alone.

Then I heard sobbing echoing my own. I looked up and saw Tina standing in front of the swing set staring at me as she cried.

I drew a deep breath and nodded in her direction. "Chad."

Chad turned, saw Tina, and walked to her. He knelt beside her and told her everything was ok and to go inside. She continued to cry, without knowing why, as she walked by, staring at my streamed face.

"It's ok." I murmured to her and held her hand briefly. I told her I would be in shortly and I watched her walk inside the house and close the door.

"I have to do this, Trish. It's better..."

I stood and slapped his face before he could finish. "It's not better for anyone except you! It's all about you!" I screamed, releasing the rage building inside. My strength left as quickly as it came and I wilted again in tears.

I looked away from him and shook my head, still crying. "I hope she’s worth it.” I turned back, stared intently into his eyes. “I hope she’s worth both of us.” I motioned with a quick glance towards the house.

He did not respond. A canyon lay between us as I looked at him, feeling as if I were talking to a stranger.

"Trish…." He said, finally.

"Go." I wiped the tears from my cheeks as my hands trembled. "Just go."

He looked down and slowly walked past me to the gate leading to the driveway and opened it.

“Chad.” I said softly as I turned.

He stopped and looked at me.

"I’ll pray for you. We used to be everything to you. I’ll pray that you remember.”

He did not answer. He paused and then walked out the gate. I turned away, cupped my hands around my face, and felt them catch flowing tears.

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This article has been read 661 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/14/06
This is a very real picture of a broken heart. Well done.
Kevin Kindrick02/15/06
Very simply, I'm speechless.

God bless,

Jan Ackerson 02/16/06
You have some wonderful phrases here; the "hard thump", the canyon between them...great wordsmithing.
Anita Neuman02/16/06
I have such great appreciation for a story that is clearly about the topic, but doesn't even mention it. I'm also very impressed with how well you captured this woman's emotions. That single slap is still echoing. Great job!
Shari Armstrong 02/16/06
After an awkward feeling first sentance, it was an amazing emotional landslide. VERY well done.
Pat Guy 02/16/06
So well written that I felt every emotion, every action. And sadly so true for more couples than not. And the best sentence? "I’ll pray for you. We used to be everything to you. I’ll pray that you remember.” Excellent writing!
Andre Kingston02/16/06
This hits close to home. I cried. Too well done.
Linda Watson Owen02/16/06
Great close up angles all through this emotional piece! Well done!
Maxx .02/16/06
The only flaw here was the first sentence or two ... the rest was just wow! Great work!
Lynda Lee Schab 02/17/06
What a heartbreaking piece! Wonderful writing - you put me right in Trish's shoes. I would have reached out and slapped Chad too if I could. :-) Excellent depiction of Trish's emotions. Good work!
Crista Darr02/17/06
A painful, but well-written read. First sentence suggestion - don't put look up and walk up together. Excellent use of dialogue. Good work!
Rachel Rudd 02/19/06
Very well written story! I really liked the line about her feeling like a turtle turned upside down in the sun...