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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: Regret Remains but Love Lingers
By Paula Titus


Now days, Stellaís most prized possession is her nurses call button. She never forgets to fasten it to the armrest of her wheelchair when she enters her room. Her resolve to get help, as soon as possible, is one of her strongest traits. No matter how trivial her desire may seem to others, itís always of the utmost importance to Stella.

Immediately answering Stellaís call for help produces a toothless smile from her aged face, itís an interesting expression. The kind of smile thatís spontaneous - born from pure pleasure without forethought. The thing that makes it so interesting is the way she seems to surprise even herself by such a wide grin. Thereís something in that fleeting moment of Stellaís eyes meeting anotherís, when smiles are being exchanged, that causes her apparent discomfort. It never takes her very long before she realizes her angst and quickly banishes the smile from her face.

I often wonder if anyone has ever scaled the wall Stella has built around her heart, and many times I ponder the possibility that not even the Israelites themselves could bring this wall tumbling Ė save the effort provided by God Almighty. Even on the rare occasions when she speaks of her deceased husband, one can barely detect a note of affection. Although I do notice how frequently Stella strokes the wedding band she still wears, now forty years after his death.

There are two days out of the year when Stellaís one child usually comes to visit, Motherís Day and Christmas. It was surprising to learn Rebecca lives within a few miles. I recall Motherís Day last year and Stellaís insistence on not leaving her room that day, not even for bingo. Although she didnít tell anyone the reason for her self confinement, I knew she was waiting for her daughter.

Stella was up early that Motherís Day morning, and insisted on wearing her best duster. She watched her roommateís constant influx of children and grandchildren parading in and out of the room bearing gifts and flowers. Stella watched their frivolity with what would appear to be mild interest to someone who didnít know her. But I could see the glimmer of longing in her face, a distant desire to love and be loved.

Morning turned into afternoon and afternoon into evening, still Ė Stella waited. As I was helping Stella into her bed that night I told her I was sorry her daughter didnít come to visit. I held her hand in mine as I spoke, I didnít let go, in spite of her typical reaction to coil from human touch.

Stellaís only reply was, ďDonít be sorry. There were many promises I left unfulfilled when Rebecca was growing up, many moments I let slip away. Words of love left unspoken, kisses and hugs that never happened.Ē

That was the first time I'd ever seen Stella cry. And I cried with her, but not because I was grieving over her past mistakes Ė but because she was holding me. Holding me tightly, stroking my hair, and freely accepting my love. Something my own Mother had never done.

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This article has been read 605 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 03/14/08
Your last 4 paragraphs were especially well done and heart-breaking.
Linda Oswald03/14/08
Wow! What a lovely story, perfect for topic, beautiful descriptions, fantastic writing! This brought tears to my eyes, something very close to my heart!
Joanne Sher 03/15/08
I love how this story comes full circle. Beautifully descriptive and touching piece in so many ways. Lovely.
Marilyn Schnepp 03/15/08
Such a touching story, and very well written. You lured me in with your Title, then kept me interested with your exquisite way with words and emotions. I enjoyed the read and, in my humble opinion, if you raise emotion in your reader - that's the sign of a good writer. And you did just that...Kudos!
Karin Fiscaletti03/18/08
Very well written! It's message is one we all need to hear again. It reminds me of the need to touch my kids more often. Very well done!