Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PHONE (11/10/16)
- TITLE: The Connection (ii)
By Bonnie Bowden
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“Braxton, number eight. Visitor.”
The nickel-plated shackles chafe Dina’s wrists and ankles as she shuffles to the small booth; after another pat down, the cuffs are removed. The cold from the stainless steel stool penetrates her flimsy jumpsuit. She looks up to see the large clock ticking like a metronome in beat with her heart.
“Mom,” Dina shouts through the telephone handset. Even through the scratched Plexiglas, she can see the dark circles, stress lines and gray hairs.
“Honey, dad sends his love.”
“Is he ever goin’ to visit?”
“Give him time. He feels guilty that he couldn’t save his little girl.”
“I’m not little anymore; I’m 22. I can take care of myself.” Dina winds the twisted metal cords around her fingers.
“Well that remains to be seen.” Dana’s mom wipes tears from her eyes.
“Chomps misses you something awful. He keeps looking out the front window for your car to pull in.”
“I wish you could bring him here. He’s family.”
“I don’t think they’d like his slobber everywhere. Although the bathroom mirror looks like he left his prints on it.”
“Speaking of slobber, you should see some of the food we’re served. The snacks from the vending machine are the only things saving me from starvation. At least I’m losing weight.”
“The church is praying for you.”
“Yeah, they’re probably praying I won’t taint their precious children.”
“A few may feel that way, but most just want you to feel release from the bondage of addiction. Remember nothing can separate you from God’s love and unlike jail you have a direct line.”
“But I feel so unworthy. How can God love me after what I’ve done?”
“Remember when you were little and I used to read you the story of the Velveteen Rabbit?”
“Sure, that was one of my favorites. The Skin Horse tells the Rabbit that real isn’t how you were made, but something that happens to you.”
“He also tells the Rabbit that it doesn’t happen overnight and will hurt. The Skin Horse says that by the time you are real most of your hair has been loved off and everything is loose and shabby. But that won’t matter because once you are real you can’t be ugly except to people who don’t understand.”
“But still how can God see past all the pain I’ve caused?”
“In God’s eyes you are real and nothing can change that.”
Dina hears her name being announced on the loud speaker. “Braxton, number eight, your visit is up.” With her hands flat against the glass, Dina waits for her mom to do the same. Her mother is still speaking as she puts one hand on the thick plastic pane and stretches the receiver as far as it will go with the other.
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