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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)

TITLE: Gone
By Jessica Schmit
08/09/06


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Delicate daisies poked their silky-smooth heads through the cracks in the familiar cement walk way. Sunlight streamed through the overhanging pine tree branches, casting an array of spring colors along the path. John smiled as he looked at his beautiful bride. Her grey hair framed her soft, pink cheeks. She was wearing a simple blue dress with a pearl necklace. He bought her that outfit for their 40th wedding anniversary. She looked radiant.

He took her hand in his and led her down the river side trail.

“Mary, every time we come down here I feel like we’re eighteen again. It all started here-on this path, on that evening. Quite a few firsts happened that day. It was the first time any girl had convinced me that walking could be an enjoyable pastime. My, well, our first kiss and the first time I proposed after knowing someone for only two hours.”

Mary chuckled as she recalled the day’s events.

“You can imagine my schoolmates surprise when I came to school the following day with a ring made from twigs and grass saying that John Alexander proposed to me. I can still remember the look on Sue’s face. She was the one who tried to convince me that you never took a girl out twice.”

John sported a look of mock surprise as Mary took a seat on their favorite bench.

“Now you know the only reason why I never took a girl out twice was because they were all the same. You were different. “

John sat down beside Mary and draped his arm over her shoulders. “Are you cold hon?”

“No. I’m fine.”

John dug into his shoulder bag. His face grew pale. He withdrew his hand from the bag empty handed. A look of defeat resonated within his eyes.

“Don’t even try to fool me John. I’ve known you for over fifty years and you’ve been pulling the same jokes since the day we first met. Whatever you’re looking for is in the bag.” Mary chuckled as John’s face gave way to a grin and pulled out his red jack knife.

“Nothing gets by you.” John turned to face the wooden bench and began carving away, unmasking a forgotten inscription.

“John A. + Mary A. 4-ever.”

John had first carved the words on the day of their 25th wedding anniversary. They had come back to this place-the spot where everything had begun.

As they shared another sacred kiss, they were amazed at how the tough times, the fights, the bitterness, the hard times, melted into the background as they held one another. Nothing else mattered that night.


“There, finished.” John brushed away the splinters of wood hanging around the newly reconstructed carving.

“Now what would the kids say if they saw you in this heinous act of vandalism?” Mary’s playful tone sent a smile to John’s lips.

“I think they would say…”

********


“Dad, why now?” Ashley muttered as she finally stopped to catch her breath, while watching her father sitting alone at his favorite park bench. It must be a bad day.

Ashley inched her way forward, not wanting to alarm her father. Dad, for one day, I wish I could see what you see.

“Excuse me?” A voice behind Ashley startled her. “I’m sorry if I scared you, but do you know that man? He’s been sitting on the bench for some time and…well…is there something wrong with his eyes? He seems to see something that isn’t…” The young man brushed a stray hair from his forehead.

Ashley looked back at the man she had loved more than any other. “No. His vision is fine.”

“I understand.” An awkward pause filled the air.

No one knew how to act when they found out about her father. Mental illness was taboo for most people.

“I better get going.” The young man quickly walked down the path, not looking over his shoulder.

Ashley looked back towards her father. “It’s his mind’s eyes that aren’t seeing things clearly.” She whispered to herself.

Ashley walked over to the bench. Will he remember me today God?

John turned his head to see the young woman who was approaching his bench. He smiled.

“Hello young lady. I don’t want to sound intrusive, but you look so much like my wife.”

Ashley looked at her dad. A sad smile crept upon her lips. His vision was fine


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This article has been read 965 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter08/10/06
This brought tears to my eyes, as we've been aflicted by dementia in our family. It is so easy to forget the vibrant, living, loving people that they once were. Thank you for this. You handled it very sensitively.
Sue Dent08/10/06
I like the way Ashley handled it. That smile! Sometimes it's all you can do! I hope that was a real memory he was having. Very moving!
Sue Dent08/10/06
Okay, it was a sad smile but still, she was so tender and gentle and understanding about it all. Sorry, I had to make sure everyone knew I wasn't completly loony.
Barbara Ann Smith08/12/06
A Great Story! Thanks for a great read.
Lynda Lee Schab 08/14/06
This was such a touching, unique, and creative piece for "vision." Well crafted - you brought it together nicely in the end. Beautifully done.
Jan Ackerson 08/14/06
Very tender and full of grace.
Beth Muehlhausen08/15/06
Touching on different levels...invites the reader to think about past, present, future realities...especially in the relational realm. Loved the last line...what a clincher!
Joanne Sher 08/16/06
So lovely! I truly enjoyed every image you painted here, and especially how you ended it. Wonderful!
Stephen Paynter08/17/06
Hi Jess,
This was a very moving piece - it left me in tears. Also, it is a poigant look at what counts as true sight. Great writing. I hope this does well.

Such sadness in the world makes one's heart long for the new heaven and new earth. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
Steve Uppendahl 08/17/06
Great, great story, Jessica. (I've missed reading them, btw.)

Beautiful, heartfelt story that rings true with so many people and families. Well done.