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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: The Road in Front of Me
By Marita Vandertogt


The road in front of me felt heavy, like Velcro under my tires, black on black and moving forward. I wanted to take the wheel and turn around, head back, but I couldn’t. Anyway, she was fine now, and I’d be back next weekend to see her. The drive was a long one, three hours. I lived far from home, from the hospital where she was being kept, like a prisoner, she said. “If only I could get out of here and be at home, I would be okay,” she’d try to tell us, her family. But we said, no, the hospital was a much better place for her to be. They could care for her better than we could. And so we kept her there, so many years ago.

The road in front of me still feels heavy in my memory. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and I’d sat with her in the hospital room because it was a holiday weekend. And then it came time for me to leave, so many years ago, and I’d kissed her and said goodbye, and she said to drive carefully as she waved a pale and weakened hand in my direction. Then a very faint, “Goodbye, I love you.” Her very last words to me.

The road in front of me still feels heavy in my memory. I wished I’d listened to my gut and stayed behind with her. But the cancer was in remission, the doctors said. They just didn’t say for how long, and I was too young and inexperienced with this disease to know any better.

The road in front of me still feels heavy from time to time in my memory. After I left the hospital room and got on the highway, my heart kept tugging, pulling me to turn back, but I kept my hands on the wheel, kept moving forward. My final decision to keep going forward to the city I’d moved to and away from her, came at the last turnoff. The big florescent green sign seemed to challenge me, this is it; your last chance to turn back.

The road in front of me felt heavier, yet I kept on going. Visions of my mother’s face, so gaunt, the hollows in her cheeks deeper. I knew better. I must have known better. But I stayed on the road, and drove carefully, like she asked me to, all the way back to my apartment in the city.

I wish I had made a different decision. I wish I had turned around, and gone back. I should have listened to the nagging in my stomach, in my heart, at the look in her eyes when she said goodbye. I know now she knew, and I wasn’t there to say goodbye.

That was a very long time ago. And there are days I still think of what I should have done differently. She died the very next day. I got the call at work, and had to turn around and go back.

The road away from her still feels heavy in my memory sometimes. Though I know leaving my thoughts there, takes away from the good memories. For the most part, each year has dulled the feelings of guilt. I have learned to trust my instincts more, and to listen to the still small voice of my Creator more as well.

So while the road ahead in my memory was a dark one, the road back to my own forgiveness over the years has made the memory of it grow lighter. After all, love covers a multitude of sins, right?

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This article has been read 592 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan02/14/08
Excellent opening line and you draw the reader into the emotional side of regret well. I'm not too fond of the repetition at the beginning of each paragraph--you could have used that line to say the same thing with different words--but you wrote this well.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/15/08
This is a beautiful story. I felt the heaviness of the road was symbolic of the sadness of her decision in the past.
Jacquelyn Horne02/15/08
Very sad remembrance. Forgiving ourselves is the hardest.
Patty Wysong02/16/08
Oh, I could feel the heaviness of their heart! Regret. It's a powerful force.
Joy Faire Stewart02/16/08
I was very touched by this moving piece. Very well written, you can feel the sad emotions.
Joanne Sher 02/17/08
So powerful, with incredible imagery that just pops out at you. Excellent.