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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Husband and Wife (08/08/14)

TITLE: Fleeting Moments of Forever
By Ann Grover


It's a small wedding; only a handful of people have come to witness the nuptials. She clasps a bouquet of wild flowers, the fragile blossoms already drooping in her trembling hands, and he, looking uncomfortable in his starched shirt, gazes at her with shining eyes. Several onlookers whisper behind lace-gloved hands. Too young, so foolish. They scrutinize the lithe shape of the bride, and with raised eyebrows and knowing nods, agree they do indeed discern a slight swell beneath the wilting posy. Confidently, the promises echo in the church. I do. I do. I do.

It won't last.

She leans against him and fumbles for his calloused hand. He's worked so hard, so long, and it ends like this, with the bank's agents driving away with the tractor and seeder, the hay wagon, and even the rain barrel, which hadn't seen so much as a dribble of water for months. I failed. I'm sorry. She squeezes his hand, and buries her face in the cleft beneath his chin, breathing in the scent of his sweat and anguish. The relentless wind blows grit into their faces, disguising their tears in rivulets of grime. He runs his hand over her dusty hair, then kisses the top of her head, brusquely, even roughly, and pulls her close, mingling their heartbeats.

It won't last.

He nudges her, rousing her from dreams of diapers sailing in the breeze and bread rising under a red checkered cloth. The baby. Sliding her still swollen feet into worn slippers, she shuffles to the crib and picks up the whimpering child. She feeds the baby, and starlight reflects from his new eyes as he intently searches her face. She yawns, lulled by the cadence of his sucking, and her head drops as the warmth of the tiny bundle in her arms overtakes her. The days are so long and the nights even longer.

It won't last.

The clock strikes midnight. For the twentieth time, they rise to stand at the window and peer into the blackness, willing lights to materialize through the trees. Fingers entwine briefly, before each retreats again, she to the safe mundaneness of darning socks, and he to his machinery manual. Lights sweep across the window, and she drops her needle in her haste to look, but the vehicle passes by. A cup of cocoa? Since I'm up? It passes the time. Heating the milk, stirring in the sugar, pouring the hot liquid into heavy mugs. They sip, and their silent appeals rise with the fragrant steam. Finally, just before the clock chimes one, lights swing into the laneway. These kids will be the death of us. Relieved, he kisses her and grabs her hand as they dash upstairs, leaving their cocoa behind.

It won't last.

She sets the bowl of porridge on the night table and sits down in the chair beside his bed. Carefully, she feeds him, tenderly wiping his chin with a napkin after each spoonful. Would you like a shave? He looks away. What's the weather doin'? She pulls the curtain open so he can see the sun glistening on the frozen fields, the naked trees stretching heavenward. He stifles a groan as she adjusts his pillow and smooths the blanket over his bandaged ribs and broken leg. Dang bull. Should have gotten rid of him. She pulls on a frayed sweater and tucks her hair under a knitted hat. Time to feed the cows and split firewood.

It won't last.

Her skin is like the petals of a creamy rose. Fragile. Translucent. Wisps of silvery hair curl over her brow. He lays his hand over hers, now so still. Not long ago, these hands played the piano, planted potatoes, knitted mittens, wiped away tears, picked flowers. He kisses her for the last time. Where is her smile, her laughter, the secret words of love shared in the dark? The journey ended so swiftly, too soon, and now the days drag by, each minute an hour, each day an eternity of longing and needing and reaching for her across the empty bed. The ache in his heart threatens to rend apart his chest. How will I continue to breathe? How long? My love, my life.

It won't last.

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This article has been read 929 times
Member Comments
Member Date
lynn gipson 08/16/14
Oh, wow. I am so in love with this story. What a masterful piece of writing. I have never read a lovelier love story. This is a winner in my heart.

Thank you so much!
Joe Moreland08/16/14
Ummm...it's a good thing I get to write my comments instead of speaking them, because this lump in my throat would make it very difficult to talk right now.

I can't say enough about how well-written this was. Just a fantastic picture you painted for us of love through tough times. The richness and detail contained in your writing makes me want to grow up to be like you. :)

Thanks for sharing this with us. Truly.
Diane M. Bowman 08/17/14
This is the best one I've read this week.

Awesome writing.
Bea Edwards 08/17/14
Splendid tale of persevering love.
Beth LaBuff 08/17/14
I love your well-crafted story of tenderness and time. Their fleeting journey through forever leaves an imprint on the heart. Beautiful work.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/18/14
Your lyrical words of this lifetime love touched me deeply.
Toni Babcock 08/18/14
Great writing! Enjoyed this read.
Noel Mitaxa 08/18/14
What an evocative description of a couple's lived-out reply to the cynics. You've done this so well. Congratulations on a great entry.
Margaret Kearley 08/19/14
I can only echo everything that has been said and thank you for this absolutely wonderful story - amazing and most beautiful writing.
C D Swanson 08/20/14
Oh...so true. What a poignant touching and moving tale of love.

Excellent job. Well done. And, I'm sure it'll be in the winner's circle. See you under EC's.

God bless~
Margaret Kearley 08/21/14
Many many congrats for your well deserved win for this wonderful piece of writing - truly amazing piece.
Joe Moreland08/21/14
I had a feeling about this one...but after all of the comments started rolling in it was obvious that you had something here that resonated with everyone.

Great job and congratulations on a very well deserved win!
Danielle King 08/21/14
Oh, this one took my breath away. Absolutely beautiful. Congratulations, well deserved.
Pauline Carruthers 08/21/14
Absolutely stunningly beautiful.A truly well deserved first place.Congratulations
Joyce Krznaric08/21/14
So beautiful. So stirring. Congratulations. You deserved this placement.
C D Swanson 08/21/14
Congrats Dannie!
I'm so happy this received an EC!

God bless~
C D Swanson 08/21/14
Oops..sorry "Annie" --- I put a D on there by error. As you know there is a Dannie too!

Congratulations! I loved your story.

God bless~
Wilma Schlegel08/22/14
Your story makes me know that I must treasure my husband and our time together. Thank you.
Sharon Eastman08/23/14
Outstanding! My goose bumps won't settle down.
Bea Edwards 08/23/14
Yay for you!
Melinda Melton 08/28/14
Beautiful love story. Congratulations. We were told it wouldn't last. It's been 26 years and it feels like yesterday.