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

TITLE: Tit for tat
By Leslie Lamb


Eighteen years old and ready to make my way in the world, I decided to spread my wings.

“Mom, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to go on Spring Break with Becca and Valerie.”

I made sure my statement was mature and decisive and without room to maneuver.

“The answer is no.”

Only slightly ruffled, I continued my well thought out speech.

“I will maintain my purity and stay with my friends at all times keeping my socializing to a minimum and confined to my hotel room or on the beach. I know that you think it is too dangerous and that I am bound to be abducted and killed, but the truth is, millions of American kids do it every year with out death, abduction or injury. The probability of something tragic happening on a scale of one to ten would be, like, point five. All that being said, I personally think that for you not to let me go could actually be considered un-American.”

“Is that so?”

“Totally, and in a world where war is the focus and Anti-American sentiment abounds, it is time for us to stand up for our country, be patriotic and take every effort to make our will known.”

I figured this line of defense would be completely unexpected and might just plead my case best.

“Well, in that case…”

Here we go.

“My answer is still no.”

Argh! Now it is time to get serious.

“Well, I don’t really see where you can make that decision for me. I am eighteen, have the money to pay for my expenses because I have been saving since summer, and I already have a way to get there.”

That ought to do it.

“Well, here is my stand. You are eighteen but still covered under my insurance, need my signature to release your savings, and still have to come home to my house where you still live, eat and sleep when it is all over.”

Not to be deterred I reached for my last bag of tricks.

“Or, you could just let me go. Look at this as a chance to break away from the pressures of your over-eager teenage daughter. Go to sleep at a decent hour on the weekend without having to wait for me until curfew. Take a shower and not have it turn cold in the last few minutes because I won’t be here to use up all the hot water. See this as an opportunity to use the computer to do whatever you want to do because I won’t be here to instant message and chat for all hours of the day and night because, remember, it will be Spring Break and my friends will be gone. I don’t have school and won’t have work and will have plenty of time to be at home nagging you and pressuring you to let me do other things that might tie up even more of your time.”

I saw the dream of a break, enter her mind and fill her eyes with hope.

“And how long exactly do you plan on being gone?”

Finally, an argument won! Being careful not to gloat, I calmly answered her.

“The trip is five days, and we’re leaving in three weeks.”

The smile that filled her face almost made me want to change my mind. She was happy! I could be abducted, lose my virginity to some guy I meet on the beach, or worse! What was she thinking!? I lost the wind in my sails.

"So that's it, mom?"

This was her chance to redeem herself.

"Of course not."

I pretended to get defensive as I prepared for her to tell me how crazy it all was and that an argument of a well-deserved break was just not enough to convince her to let her little girl go off like that.

“Let me help you pack!”

Yep, like it or not this bird was free to fly.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/14/06
The daughter's "lists" are a bit too long - three or four tops. You could break up the daughter's reasons with a little more imput from mom, even an attempt at interrupting the "flow" would be good I think, a "but…" or "listen here …" Mom saw the light at the end, though I was almost expecting the daughter to decide not to go when: "The smile that filled her face almost made me want to change my mind. She was happy! I could be abducted, lose my virginity to some guy I meet on the beach, or worse! What was she thinking!? I lost the wind in my sails." That was an interesting touch. Good work.

Anita Neuman02/15/06
This was cute - and I remember using similar tactics at that age. A slower change of mind for the mom might be more realistic, but overall, this was a fun, creative take on the topic.
Sharon Singley02/16/06
I liked this...makes me feel like an overprotective mom because those arguments would not have worked with me!! LOL.
Jan Kamp02/16/06
I really got caught up in this story, thinking it would be great for a teen magazine, but have to admit I was a little disappointed at the end. Obviously, the daughter deep down wanted to be stopped, but Mom gave in. I was hoping she'd talk herself into making a good decision. Good dialogue, and well-written, though.