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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)

TITLE: Going Home
By Maxx .


The lights of the terminal faded as we taxied away into the darkness obscuring London Heathrow Airport. In the distance, strands of mist, silver in the predawn hours, covered the ground like woolen blankets. I stared at my reflection, cold and one dimensional on the thick glass of the window; my gaunt companion, transparent and hollow, tired eyes wet behind a sagging face.

At that moment I wanted nothing more than to be home.

The lights in the cabin flickered and my mind blinked in the transitory darkness. I saw my wife in that instant, her countenance outside, an apparition in the red and blue beacons pulsing beneath extended metal wings. I lifted my hand, reaching toward her. She was gone. The wound of prolonged separation tore anew and I shuddered.

Auburn strands had swept across Jodi’s face as she lay beneath the comforter of our shared bed the morning I’d left. I sat at her feet, watching as a dream lifted the corners of lips so soft they could caress away any sorrow. Her eyelids fluttered as she rolled onto her side, the delicate motions of a rose petal in the breeze. With a longing finger, I brushed the hair from her cheeks, looping it behind her ear. The base of her neck curved like a porcelain swan to the smoothness of her shoulder. The strap of her gown had fallen and I marveled, transfixed, at the beauty of the woman who had so richly blessed my life.

Too soon, the horn of the waiting cab had torn me away.

It had been three weeks.

Three weeks.

A sigh filled my lungs and echoed. I twisted the ventilation knob above my seat, releasing a breath of air that spilled down from the fuselage in a cottony whisper. I drifted in the sensation, waves pulling me from shore. The plane, the cabin, the passengers about me all dimmed and I became lost in a vast warm pool with no horizon. Jodi muttered, close, her voice throaty. She smiled at me and bid me come. The door to our room was latched. A candle on the nightstand glowed with ribbons of crimson. Lace slipped from feminine curves, tanned skin gently illuminated. I touched her, feeling heat. Perfume encircled me, tugging at my senses. I inhaled, long and slow. Holding every drop. Her nearness was an opiate. It pushed away the outside world and sheltered me in the security of a love divinely constructed. Her nails circled. A hand on—

—my shoulder. “Mr. Jackson?”

My muscles seized and I jumped, wrenching my head about and clutching the fabric armrest.

The stewardess leaned closer. “I’m sorry, Mr. Jackson.” She smiled. “You need to fasten your safety belt. We’ll be lifting off in a moment.”

“Yes, of course.” I swallowed and fumbled with the straps. “Been a long trip.”

She patted my arm. “You’re near the end, now. Going home. Let me know if you need anything.”

I nodded and glanced at my wristwatch. Six thousand miles away, Jodi was climbing into bed, her day just concluding. Opening her Bible to the marker, she’d focus on the Word.

A familiar passage surfaced in my mind and I recited with her. I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled … and he heard our prayer.*

She’d close her eyes in a silent appeal, lifting me up and weeping for strength.

I bowed my head and joined her, beseeching our Savior to reunite us in marriage anew.

Outside, the waning moon descended and the stars glistened. The same as they did in California.

Our God is greater than these.

A warmth bathed and freshened me as my mouth drew into an assured smile.

The engines roared, causing the plane to tremble as it accelerated along the runway. I relaxed as I was pressed against the cushions, content in the machine’s ability to power my journey, but trusting God to shepherd the way. Through the window, London shrank beneath me like a receding galaxy. The eastern horizon began to glow as we banked over the Atlantic toward home.

* Ezra 8:21-23 New Living Translation

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This article has been read 1158 times
Member Comments
Member Date
janet rubin02/20/06
This is beautiful and incredibly romantic. Captures so well the difficulty of seperation. Makes me think of the pain so many men and women in our military are enduring right now as they yearn for their loved ones. Well-done.
Reni Bumpas02/21/06
Stunning descriptions and lovely writing. The entire scene felt dreamy.
Crista Darr02/21/06
Truly amazing writing. What a beautiful picture of the holy intimacy between a husband and wife - "love divinely constructed." Masterfully done.
Cheryl Harrison02/23/06
Sweet. Tenderly written. Your descriptions are beautiful. Good job!
Shari Armstrong 02/23/06
Jan Ackerson 02/23/06
This has a great serenity and tenderness. Beautifully done.
Joanne Malley02/23/06
You've made me think of my husband this week. We're apart due to business. Can't wait for the homecoming...beautifully done as always. Jo
James Clem 02/23/06
Well done... but I prefer the grittier Maxx. : - )
Kate Wells02/23/06
Pure romance...sigh
Loved it! Bless you, Kate~
Garnet Miller 02/23/06
How romantic! My heart's all aflutter! Seriously though, I feel the same way when I am away from my husband for a long period of time. I just long to be in his arms again.
Anita Neuman02/23/06
Awwww, Maxx, who knew you were such a romantic? It's delightful to see you trying something new (although you didn't have to do it so well!) ;-)
Jessica Schmit02/23/06
Maxx, honestly you should stop writing here. It just makes everyone else jealous! (just kidding, never ever stop!) I personally love this story and I don't have to read one of Kenny Blades stories after to shake the usual feelings of horror that come after reading one of your masterpeices. Honestly though, your writing astounds me. You have such an amazing gift and I'm blessed to have you share that on this website. keep em' coming!
Pat Guy 02/23/06
Four words - That's one lucky Lady!
Linda Watson Owen02/23/06
Maxx, not only romantic and written superbly, but also a wonderful portrait of what God meant marriage to be. In a world that paints marriage as humdrum and confining, you've offered a piece that shows the vibrancy of married love in prose that reads like poetry. Thank you.
Dara Sorensen02/23/06
So very touching and romantic! You captured his emotions and his longing very well.

As always, a great piece that is enjoying to read!
Chris Clement02/24/06
Been there! Wow, that's a great story. Great job, Maxx.
Julianne Jones02/24/06
Mushy, Maxx? I don't think so. This was beautiful and tender and a wonderful picture of a pure and holy love. And thank you for sharing a husband's perspective with those of us who sometimes fail to understand the inner workings of the male! Well done as always.
Andre Kingston02/25/06
I can only thank God that he has granted me a husband who reacts to our separations of even a weekend this way. I love that this was not about sex, or what she did for you, or anything of that sort. This was just one man's love for his wife. It is powerful and beautiful.

Thank you.
T. F. Chezum02/26/06
Very well written. You allow the readers to share the scenery and mood with your character.
Carla Feagans02/27/06
I loved the imagery throughout, your descriptions are so vivid and yet maintained that dream-like quality.

I was a little confused the first time I read it, because I thought "taxied away" was the speaker driving away in a taxi. But it made perfect sense the second time I read it.

I could really relate to the exhaustion of traveling and the tricks that little reflective airplane window can play.

I loved the way he came out of his dream when the stewardess (or I guess it should be "flight attendant") awakened him.

I can only imagine a love like this - sadly, I couldn't understand the longing was simply from being away the first time I read it. But the beauty of the emotions and the magnitude of love - it gives me hope of what I can pray for in my own marriage. I didn't know this really existed.

The last two sentences were perfect.
Sally Hanan02/27/06
Great writing. You should score big on fitting the theme.
Suzanne R02/27/06
I love the line, "A hand on her....
... shoulder." ROFL!

I thought this was beautifully written - it is a piece of art.
Debbie OConnor02/27/06
Beautiful story!
Beth Muehlhausen02/27/06
This really tugs at my heart-strings. How poetic, how tender! Can such a relationship exist - truly?!? In Christ all things are possible....you've made me think, for sure. :-)
Jessica Schmit06/10/06
Oh my. I remember this piece. I think it was one of the few I ever commented on. The reason why I never commentde was because I felt so inferior commenting on such a master's work. God's been dealing with that whole "I suck' mentality. And now look! I've reviewed each of your pieces (almost. I can now see the end drawing near) This one is breathtaking. I adored your opening line "taxied away" what a beautiful phrase. This piece was flawless. So delicate and beautiful. This piece shows another side of you. A side you've touched on before, but this piece truly capulates on your romantic side. A master is one who can write about anything in any genre and sound like it's what he experiances every day. You, my friend, are just that. You bring your readers into every line. I leave wanting to jump in your stories as the main character. I know that will take me to some pretty crazy places, but that gift you have for bringing readers into your stories is incredible. very few writers have done that for me.

Oh, my apologizes for only remembering your one win in the EC for this quarter. Will you forgive me?