Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)
TITLE: The Girl at the City Motel
By Tiffanie Chezum
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Visions of my daughter danced about my consciousness.
“C’mon. Blow out the candles,” I steadied her as she balanced on the chair and leaned over the table. “Don’t forget to make a wish.” The candles flickered out amidst a stream of breath and slobber. She giggled with glee as I embraced her, “Do you know how old you are?”
“Fwee!” she yelled holding three curled fingers up in front of her face.
At least I know where you are, Meg.
I drew the drapes across the window casting a somber atmosphere throughout the room, People don’t need to see what’s goin’ on in here.
Stale, dank air weighed heavy on each shallow breath I drew, the stench of cigarettes lingered about every fiber. My desolation added to the suffocating environment, smothering my body, my mind … my spirit.
I stepped closer to the bed.
You’re too young to be in a place like this, her sapphire eyes seemed languid in the muted light, her expression void and distant. Eyes that beautiful should sparkle … be full of life.
“Push me Daddy! Push me!” my daughter squealed as she perched on her favorite swing, her golden curls glistening in the midday sun. “Make me go real high!”
“Careful, darlin'!” I ran across the sandlot and scooped her into my arms. “You’re Daddy’s baby girl. I love you.”
“I’m not a baby! I’m eight an’ a half.”
She shrieked with laughter, the happiness in her eyes was contagious, soon I was laughing with her. Hours of enjoyment blurred past in an instance.
“I love you, Daddy!”
How could anyone let their child get involved in a world like this?
I loosened my tie and rested a knee on the edge of the bed. A sour lump sat stagnant deep within my being. I hate this, I pulled back the sheets to completely unveil the adolescent girl and took a closer look. Why do I always find them like this?
“Dad! Everyone’s gon’a be there,” she paced, impatient and anxious. “Why don’t you trust me?”
“I do trust you, sweetie. But it’s a party … and no adults are going to be there.”
“I’m almost seventeen!” she waved her arms in frustration. Anger flashed in her glare, “What do you think I’m go’na do?”
“It’s just not safe,” I tried to put my hand on her shoulder. “I love you, Meg. I just want to make sure nothing happens to you.”
“Aaugh!” she ran, crying toward the staircase.
She paused at the base of the stairs, never acknowledging nor looking at me.
“It’s not that simple. One bad decision can ruin your entire life. You’ve got too much to live for.”
“I don’t have a life! I’m a prisoner,” she bolted up the steps. “It’s not fair! I hate you!”
“I’ve got my reasons … We’ll talk later,” I turned to head out the door, “I’ve got to get downtown.”
What happens? What’s their reasoning? I paused for a moment. My heart throbbed, the pain of envisioning my precious daughter lying in front of me was unbearable, What makes them turn against us … wind up like this?
I scanned the beleaguered youth, What’s this? I pulled a small piece of paper from under the girl’s arm.
“Think it’s an overdose, Joe?” Bill’s voice dragged me back to reality.
“Overdose, or a suicide,” I held the note up, “Look.”
“Why would anyone want to do this?” despondent, he shook his head.
“She probably didn’t know where to turn.”
I read the message aloud.
I’m so sorry
I’m a failure, always have been. What’s the use?
I have no friends, my life’s nothing but a joke. Mom and Dad don’t care.
There’s no reason to go on.
“I don’t get it,” Bill grabbed the letter from my hand. “She’s just a kid. Why would she think she had nothing? She never had a chance to be alive.”
A hint of a tear dampened my lashes. I buried my face into my hands. Megan, you don’t know what I see everyday. How can I protect you from this life? This world. I know you’re angry with me. I just pray you live your life the right way, find a reason to live. I hope you understand.
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