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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Melody (08/24/06)

TITLE: What's wrong with me?
By Karen Ward


Warm water flowed over Sally’s body, but did nothing to wash away the fears in her heart. She held her head in both hands and sobbed as her two year old serenaded her from outside the shower, singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” at the top of his voice and strumming his toy guitar.

Eddie changed song. He made quite a picture sitting on the bathroom stool strumming and swinging his chubby leg in time. Normally the sweet melody of his childish antics would have had Sally laughing with glee and running for her camera.

What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I keep up with anything? Jack went to work without lunch again today and I really don’t want to take Leah to school. I don’t want to have to talk to those other mothers; I just want to go back to bed.

Sally massaged her neck as if trying to work out the kinks that remained after a restless night’s sleep.

Maybe I’m just tired. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in months. I think I’ll take a nap when Eddie does. It might work; I could sleep right now I think.

“Mummy, I can’t find my homework!” Leah’s blond curls peeked around the door.

“You sure it’s not in your bag already?”

“Nope, I checked.”

I can’t go looking for it now. I usually search high and low, but this time the teacher will understand surely. We’ve never been late before. I just haven’t the energy to look.

“Never mind sweetie, I’ll find it later. Just get your shoes on now.”

“But Mummy!” Leah’s big eyes reflected her surprise.

“It’s OK this time, really.”

“OK Mummy.” Leah shuffled out the door with her head down.

Sally rested her head against the glass of the shower screen and closed her eyes. Consciousness started to slide and she jerked herself back to reality.

I’d better get out. We need to leave.

Fifteen minutes later, both children securely in their seatbelts, Sally reversed the car. A loud noise startled her and she shrieked as she put on the brake. “What was that?” Turning herself around in her seat, she saw clearly what had happened. “Why didn’t I open the garage door? How could I forget that?” Dazed, she drove forwards, and got out to survey the damage.

What’s Jack going to say? I’m hopeless. What kind of person drives out of the garage with the door shut? God how could I do that? Why didn’t I notice? Am I really losing my mind?

Suddenly she remembered the children as the sound of Eddie’s crying penetrated her thoughts.

Oh. The children. I guess we still have to get to school.

With some effort, Sally forced the garage door up despite its bowed shape, and reversed the car out the driveway onto the road.

“Look Mummy” cried Leah “The spring flowers are coming, and the birds are singing their spring songs just like Daddy said!”


Watching the road with her eyes, Sally’s attention focused inward. The chatter of her children nothing but white noise to her.

I can’t believe I did that. Now I have to face people at school and act like I’m fine. I am fine. I just don’t want to talk to people right now.

Her eyes glazed over. A car changed lanes and she slammed on the brakes.

OK. Concentrate! Turn the radio up, that might help.

The radio blared, “I didn’t just lose my relationships, I lost my children’s laughter, I lost my favourite activities, I lost the melody of life.”

“Thank you Steven James for sharing your story with us and showing us just how much depression can effect your life. If there is anyone out there who has been touched by Steven’s message, or if you’d like to learn more about depression, please call…”

“OK kids we’re here. Out you hop Leah, have a good day. I’ll see you this afternoon.”

When we get home Eddie can watch TV and I can sleep. That must be all I need. I’ll snooze on the sofa while he zones out. Maybe I’ll pick up some chocolate on the way at the service station, I just haven’t the energy to go to the supermarket.

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This article has been read 1088 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth Muehlhausen09/01/06
This line made me think...and what IS that melody? The melody of love, healing, restoration? Resurrection, everyday?

"I lost the melody of life.”

Val Clark09/01/06
Phew! Lots of show not tell and connectedness to the character makes this a very realistic description of someone struggling with depression. A wrenching but realistic read.
Jan Ackerson 09/01/06
Yep, you nailed it, all right. Thanks for resisting the pat ending...this was perfect. Oh, watch our for effect / affect. The alternating action and internal monologue was very effective. This one's a keeper.
Bonnie Derksen09/02/06
I agree with comments already made. Familiar with depression and its effects, this writing was bang on. I, also, appreciated your ending. Depression is never a quick fix with tidy ending. Very well written and I thank you for submitting it.
Christine Miles09/02/06
Well done! If I hadn't been there, done that, I'd still recognise it - the melody of life is truly missing in this character study. Write well.
Suzanne R09/02/06
Wow ... wow ... wow......

Powerful writing indeed. The many present melodies (Eddie, the radio, the birds) and the total absence of melody was very impressive. The way you 'preached' without 'preaching' via the radio was effective.

Well done. Excellent writing.
Rebecca Livermore09/03/06
Good job on this. My thought is that perhaps someone will see herself while reading this and realize there is help out there. Thanks for writing!
Venice Kichura09/05/06
Masterfully written! This hits the spot for what it's like to suffer depression. Great job!