Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)
TITLE: A Mile in Other Moccasins
By Linda Germain
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Jon growled his ongoing disappointment as he slammed in the back door and opened the fridge to get a cold drink. “I figured at least she would get a little laundry done.”
He grabbed some chips and headed for the recliner to kick back and watch a movie. Carol put a bag of popcorn in the microwave as she prepared to join him.
“ She’s probably been talking on the phone all night to her weird friends, or listening to her goofy music.”
Journal entry: Do they think I’m deaf? I can hear through my bedroom door. I ‘d run away, but I don’t know where to go. How can people be so careless with the feelings of their own flesh and blood? I’m having a hard time and they think I should just straighten up and behave in some predictable way they have decided is appropriate. Why do they get so defensive when I act my age? I can’t cry anymore. I don’t want to be seen at school with puffy eyes.
In the morning, Susan was awake before the alarm made a sound. She took her old Bible from the bedside table to continue her search for a way to connect with the two most important people in her life. Their thinly veiled disgust in her presence was almost more than she could bear. After a fast read of a few chapters, she threw out a plea for God’s help and then began her long day.
She hurried to get dressed and gulp down a glass of juice on her way out the door to her car pool. It didn’t seem quite fair that she had to leave first, but nothing in life seemed fair. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Stunning heartbreak never is.
The meeting after school with two of her teachers seemed to drag on forever. They were more concerned with their lists of complaints than her pale face and tired demeanor. The carpool was long gone but as soon as her obligations were met she started for the bus stop.
Susan plodded through the heavy rain carrying papers and books and vaguely wondering why one of the snazzy cars at home in her driveway did not appear to give her a much-needed lift. There had been no answer when she phoned them. Hopefully, they were not there. She hated to be met at the door with more demands, and even accusations that were not true. “Oh Lord…Help,” she whispered.
Exhausted and deep in thought, she stepped off the curb and right into the path of a truck. The impact threw her to the side of the road and on to a soft bed of cushioning mud. Unrelenting rain continued to hammer down and wash her blood into small rivulets that flowed toward the drainage ditch. She was not aware of the short ambulance ride to the hospital, or the hours in surgery, or the touch and go of her very life as Jon and Carol cried and prayed that she would live and not die.
When she finally opened her eyes she was surprised to see those two beloved faces on either side of the bed, each holding one of her bruised hands. Seventeen-year old Jon bit his lower lip, trying to be what he thought was macho. Carol sobbed, “Mama? We didn’t think you would ever wake up.”
The overworked principal of the local high school had never realized how much support she had. Teachers, parents, students, and hundreds more had sent cards and notes of encouragement. Her kids kept hugging her.
Journal entry: Being hurt is not much fun, but at last a little wisdom and understanding has been put into practice. It’s true about not knowing what you have until you lose it. My children and I have learned to trade shoes once in a while to see the other’s point of view.
“Mom,” Carol called from the den where Jon was selecting a movie all three would enjoy, “Soda or juice?”
“Make mine tea, dear. I’ll be right there.”
With effort,they were on the same page about the love thing too. It was about time.
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