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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)

TITLE: Happily ever after?
By T. F. Chezum
05/21/06


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I’ve done the unthinkable, the unforgivable … I made her cry.


The delight in Jenny’s chestnut eyes warmed my senses, her embrace, her fragrance, mesmerized me. “I had a wonderful time tonight,” she kissed me.

Flushing heat rushed to my cheeks, “Me, too.” Images of dancing and frivolity hung fresh in my mind, I couldn’t stop the grin that spread across my face. “See you in school … Monday?”

“Sure,” she buried her nose into her corsage. “Thank you, it’s beautiful.”

My heart raced, jubilance coursed through my veins. We shared one more hug, “Good night.”


Where’s it gone?

The happiness.



“No, I mean it, Jenny” I was unable to look away from her beautiful gaze, “I wann’a get married.”

Astonishment mirrored in her eyes. “You’re …” she gasped, wiping away tears, “you’re serious?”

I nodded, my heart palpitating with anticipation.

“Of course … yes,” she grasped my trembling hands, “yes, yes, yes!”


The special times we shared.


She chased some peas around the plate with a fork, her stare distant and distracted.

“Honey, are you going to eat it or just rearrange it?” I chuckled, putting another piece of beef in my mouth.

In stunned silence she gawked at me. Her eyes grew wide, moisture dampened her lashes.

“Everything okay?”

Her lips quivered, “I went to the doctor.”

“What’s wrong?” trepidation filled my mind.

“I’m pregnant … I’m sorry, I know we weren’t …”

Astonished, I dropped my fork. “Don’t be sorry,” elation overwhelmed me. “That’s wonderful! The best news you could give me.”


We used to spend so much time together.


The phone rang for the third time, “C’mon babe, pick it up.”

“Hello?” Jenny answered with an anxious tone.

“I did it. I got the job,” I could not contain the euphoria in my voice. “We don’t have to live in the apartment anymore. We can afford that house, like we always dreamed of.”

“That’s fantastic! I’m so proud of you,” her voice spiked with excitement.

“We’ll go celebrate tonight, the three of us. Wherever you and Shelby want to go.”


When did it change?

Why?



“No, honey, I’m sorry. I have to work late again.”

“But Shelby’s school play’s tonight,” her voice sagged with disappointment.

“I’ll take her for a special day this weekend.”

“I thought we were going to spend some family time … the three of us, together.”

“If I’m going to get this promotion I have to prove I want it. If I don’t make some sacrifice Schmidt will take it from me.”

“Fine, just fine,” her voice wavered.

“A little more time, we’ll have everything we’ve always wanted.”


I worked hard … so hard.

All I wanted was a better life for us.



I locked the latch on my suitcase, “It’s only a week.”

“Why can’t someone else go?” Jenny sat on the edge of the bed.

“This is my big opportunity. If I can pull this off I could be made region manager,” I kissed her cheek.

“Is this what you really want?”

“I’ve worked my entire career for this,” frustration built within me.

“We hardly see each other anymore,” misty eyed she turned away.

“Shelby’s going to graduate soon. Can we afford a big name college on what I make?” I cupped her chin in my hand, wiping a tear with my thumb. “It’s only a week.”


I’ve got everything I ever wanted. But I’m not happy.

Did it just leave? Or did I push it away?



“You wrecked the car? The Beemer?” Anger engulfed my senses, “What were you thinking? I have a new client tomorrow, what am I supposed to do now?”

Jenny collapsed into her chair and buried her face into her hands, “I’m sorry.”

“I’ve worked my tail off so we can live in comfort, so we can be happy, and what do you do?” I exhaled with exasperation, “I can’t believe you would be so careless. This could cost me a big contract.”

“I wish you’d never gotten that job,” her cheeks smeared with watery mascara.

“This job is going to let me retire early.”

“What’s happened to you?” drops continued streaming down her face. “You’ve changed … you’re never satisfied anymore,”

“I’ve done this all for you. So you … so we could be happy, live the life that we dreamed.”

“I don’t need this life … the car, the house. All I need is you,” she gasped, sobbing, “what you used to be.”


I’ve done the unthinkable, the unforgivable … I’ve stolen our joy.

How can I get it back?



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This article has been read 979 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 05/26/06
Excellent. How silently Joy slips away without us ever knowing until sometimes it is too late. Blessings.
Sherry Wendling05/26/06
Hooked me! You did a great job building the progression, causing the reader to identify with the characters. I felt the sadness at the end, and was so glad that the husband began to show the glimmer of seeking God! Great job.
Leslie Lamb05/26/06
You really kept my attention, and I felt I could identify with the characters; good writing.
Jan Ackerson 05/28/06
I really like the way you alternated his thoughts with the action of the story. This is a great piece of writing.
Rita Garcia05/28/06
A powerful story of how joy can slip away. Fantastic!
Sue Dent05/28/06
Yes, your entry looks good in Advanced! I do belief you've warmed up to it nicely. Good job. Nice depiction of a too common problem!
Pat Guy 05/29/06
What-a-great-job Tim! Just everything about it, is great! Format, dialogue, emotion - you painted a perfect, believable scenerio. Very well written.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/29/06
You did a great job revealing an all too common problem. I also liked the way you interspersed his thoughts between the narative. Good job.
Anita Neuman05/29/06
Brilliant! I love how you used his thoughts to convey the passage of time - it also conveys how quickly our lives pass us by. Great entry!
Birdie Courtright05/31/06
This is great stuff. We come at life (and marriage) from different directions and different expectations. At some point, we all come to this crux in the road where we choose what is valuable and relinquish the rest. I love your honest portrayal of the real problems that marriages and families are undermined by. Your message in this piece is very relevant.
Linda Watson Owen05/31/06
Yes, Tim, I agree...this piece is so relevant! It's a common situation, but you've told it in such a powerful and uncommon way! Wonderful writing!
Teri Wilson06/01/06
Congrats Tim! I'm not sure how I missed this piece up until now. I love it. Very powerful and, sadly, true so much of the time. Excellent work!

Crista Darr06/01/06
Great work, Tim! This piece is just fantastic. I pray it ministers to many before they allow their careers to destroy their families.
Cassie Memmer06/02/06
This is excellent, Tim! His thoughts build suspense, then his memories enlighten the reader. It worked very well in my opinion. Sad too, that many people live their lives in this way. I really enjoyed reading it. You did good! :o)
Beth Muehlhausen06/02/06
Such a powerful and much needed message, Tim. This needs to be shared far and wide...before it is too late for those who don't have the vision for relational intimacy above worldly stuff!! Well done and something I won't soon forget.

Karen Treharne06/07/06
Wow. This was a powerful read, Tim, and a well-deserved win. You captured life's struggle in its truest form. If we could only grasp God's joy and meaning of happiness early on, before life takes over and we find ourselves - well - joyless. Congratulations and thanks for blessing us with a reminder of what true joy is all about by showing us what it's not about.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/12/10
This is a great story. It easily could happen to anyone and often does. The last line How can I get it back? isn't as commonplace as the rest of the story, but it gives the reader hope. Sometimes that's what we need most of all hope.