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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: A Lovely Daughter
By Holly Westefeld


"Who's there?" Eileen queried, as she rested her hand on the dead-bolt lock of the small apartment's door.

"It's Heather, Mrs. Hastings, the student doing community service."

Eileen turned the lock and swung the door wide. "Come in, Heather. I'm so glad you've come. It's so nice that the schools are encouraging students to be community minded. Please have a seat." She indicated a dinette chair next to a double width oak desk, and pulled out the swivel chair for herself.

"Thank you. I've always enjoyed helping people, though I've never assisted someone who's blind, so I may need some direction. If I say or do anything dumb, please tell me."

Eileen chuckled. "It's unlikely that you will say or do something I haven't come across in my lifetime. Feel free to ask me anything, except my age or weight, of course."

Heather laughed.

"Well, if we're going to make a dent on this pile of mail and such, I guess we'd better get started."

For the next hour, Heather identified junk mail, read old greeting cards, and waded through a variety of correspondence, watching with fascination as Eileen deftly consigned much to the waste basket, and brailled and filed the rest.

"You must be thirsty after all that reading. I don't keep soda, but I do have milk, orange juice, and homemade lemonade."

"The lemonade sounds great. Thanks."

As they settled on the sofa with their lemonade, Eileen inquired, "Have you decided what direction to take after high school, Heather?"

"It's a toss-up between pre-med and pre-veterinary. I just have to decide whether I like people or animals more."

"Tough choice, from what I've heard. People can be cranky, but so can the people that belong to the animals."

"That's for sure. I've worked a couple of summers at our vet's office, and some of the people can really get on your nerves. Have you ever had a guide dog?"

"No. My white cane has been my sole traveling companion." Heather noticed a shadow flicker briefly across Eileen's hitherto peaceful countenance. "When I was first married, we had a cat. He was a sweet, shy little thing--would snuggle right down between us, if we'd let him--but disappeared under the bed whenever company appeared."

"Do you have children?"

Eileen turned her face away. "Our only son died at birth."

"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to bring up a painful subject."

"That's alright. It was a long time ago, but something like that leaves a mark on the heart, even though I know I'll see him in Heaven one day."

"Yes, I noticed the braille Bible on the shelves over your desk. I'm glad you have faith and hope."

"Ironically, his father got to meet him first. He was killed in Vietnam while I was expecting. By the time I had come around after the delivery--this was before natural birth came back into fashion--they had taken him away, and I never even got to hold him."

"That's terrible!"

The awkward moment was broken by a knock. "That must be my mom. Would you like to meet her?"

"Certainly." Eileen knuckled a couple of tears from the corners of her eyes as Heather greeted her mom with a softly murmured exchange.

"Mom, this is Mrs. Hastings. Mrs. Hastings, this is my mom, Roberta Green."

"So nice to meet you, Roberta. Please call me Eileen. You have a lovely daughter."

"Thank you. Though admittedly biased, I am inclined to agree."

"We were just having some homemade lemonade. Would you care for some?"

"No, thank you. ... Actually, I need to tell you that I was the one who arranged for Heather to help you, not the school."


"My name is Roberta Hastings Green. I was raised by Robert and Beatrice Hastings."

Eileen's faced blanched, and her jaw dropped. "How can that be? My Robert was an only child."

"When Beatrice realized that she did not have long to live, a couple of months ago, she confessed to a vile deed. Not wanting a blind widow to raise her grandchild, she bribed the doctor and nurse to put their names on the birth certificate, and tell you a baby boy had died. It took time to find you, and I was so afraid you might not be my mom, that I sent Heather..."

A kaleidoscope of emotion rippled across Eileen's face, resolving to beatific joy. "My daughter, and granddaughter! And I thought your father had gotten to meet you first!"



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This article has been read 851 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw04/10/08
This is a creative. I kept waiting to see how the topic would come in, and you surprised me with the ending. Entertaining.
K. J. Cash04/11/08
Imagine working in such a plot twist on such a short story. Great Job!
Joy Faire Stewart04/14/08
Oh, I wasn't expecting the end and loved it. Excellent job!
Chely Roach04/14/08
A nice story with a curveball at the end...well done!
Jan Ackerson 04/14/08
Wow, I sure didn't expect that! A great twist, although I wish you'd had more words so that you could develop the back story a bit more--like a whole NOVEL, maybe!

Love the mention of a cat--a sure way to get me to love a story.
Debbie Wistrom04/14/08
I think we may have a placer here. Engaging all the way to the end. Great twist--keep writing.
Lyn Churchyard04/15/08
What a wonderful, moving story. I just love feel good, happy endings.
Sara Harricharan 04/16/08
Oh the ending, the ending! I absolutely LOVE, LOVE it! This is great-definitely one of my favorites for this week. It's new and fresh, the voice, the characters, everything. I enjoyed the whole read, especially the revelation-what a lovely surprise! ^_^
Sheri Gordon04/16/08
Wow, what a surprise ending. I'd love to know more of this story. Very intriguing. Nice job with the topic.