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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: TEARS - (as in crying) (10/04/04)

TITLE: In A Blink of the Eye
By Michael Antonovich
10/09/04

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Her tears flowed freely as she sat on the front step of her house. It wasnít a big house, but it was all she and her husband could afford. They had just moved into the neighborhood a few weeks ago. We were the neighbors who lived across the street, but we never got a chance to meet and welcome these new residents. All I knew was that her husband worked for the local police because Iíve seen him leave in his uniform for work each morning. Now all that was left of their beautify first home was the solid oak door hanging by one hinge on a portion of the door frame still attached to the only remaining wall of the house.

Everything had happened so quickly. It is hard to believe that only three days ago the weather forecast predicted a hurricane passing a hundred miles east of our community. But as the hurricane approached, the path shifted westward. Forecasters hoped that the storm would continue shifting westward, but the path seemed to get stuck right over our town. Then early this morning, even though it was his day off, the husband of the lady across the street was called into work for emergency duty.

Like us, she spent the rest of the day alone in her house waiting for the storm. Just before dusk, she lost power along with the phone lines. Then as night approached and darkness descended, her fears began to grow as the winds howled outside. Before long, these winds started ripping trees out of the ground and sending roof shingles flying through the air to slam against the side of her house. She crouched down in her bedroom closet with a blanket over her head and tried to block out the sounds of the storm. But it didnít work. Without power or phones, she worried about her husband alone out in the storm.

The storm intensified as the eye wall passed over her tiny home. Then with a series of loud snaps, she heard the wood beams of her roof break as it was torn off the house by the relentless wind. Terrified, she wrapped the blanket tightly around herself. The roaring wind pounded the house as it broke lamps, dishes, televisions and everything else it could find. Then it found the picture of their wedding and tore it off the wall. As the frame broke, the photograph was caught by the wind and was soon carried out of sight. In the meantime, she laid on the floor of the closet in a fetal position afraid for her life, and so she asked God to protect her and her husband, wherever he was.

The storm seemed to last for hours, but finally the wind began to subside. When finally she could no longer hear it, she carefully unwrapped the blanket from around herself and opened the closet door. It was light out. Dawn had arrived. Then she gasped as her knees turned to jelly beneath her. In a second she realized the extent of the stormís devastation. Her once beautify new home was gone.

She didnít know how long she wandered around the broken remains of her house picking at the debris commingled with the debris from other homes. Finally exhausted, she sat down on the front doorstep and began to cry. She needed to talk to her husband, but she didnít know if he was even alive.

That is when I saw her and started to walk over to comfort her. But as I got to the street, I saw a police car coming toward me. It stopped in front of me and out stepped an officer. His uniform was dirty, torn, and thoroughly soaked. I didnít even recognize him. So I doubt if he recognized me. He turned from his patrol car and walked up to the lady on the doorstep but she did not seem to hear him.

When she finally heard his footsteps, she slowly raised her head from her tear soaked hands. Then in an instant she jumped up and threw her arms around him. In the blink of an eye, her tears turned from a river of sorrow and worry to a torrent of joy. You see, her husband was safe and in her arms again and that was all that really mattered.


Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight10/11/04
Great Story! I enjoyed it.
Lucian Thompson10/11/04
Michael, very intense and moving story. I know what it is to come home from my job as a police officer, after a disaster struck, to find my family protected by Godís hand. Well done!
L.M. Lee10/13/04
excellent piece about our priorities. We had a twister come down our street a few years ago. It was unbelievable. It looked like a war zone ... 30 minutes of wind ... an entire street gone.