Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Entry #82

Decision
by Daniel Powell


We had come to our end, and when the realization hit me in a place of such striking beauty, it was all I could do to stifle a laugh.

Three years. What an arbitrary figure, right? To some, it’s a phase. To others, an eternity. To me and Maryanne, it was just about the horizon of what we’d come to call our lives.

And the weird thing was, each of us saw it. Early.

“You’ll come with me, Alex. You think you have a choice in this matter, but you’re wrong.”

What could I say to that? She was the one with the high-powered job. The connections throughout the state of Oregon. Her grandfather had governed the state, for Christ’s sake.

“But I’m going,” I said. My voice was calm. I flashed the eyes she had always claimed to adore. “People need us there.”

“People need you here. Have you even looked around?”

I bit my lip, because it was hard to see her. To really see her. When we were in college, we’d talked about traveling. The Peace Corps. The Red Cross. We’d gone through the list.

“Mary, it’s almost the entire southeast. Think about the fallout. Americans need our help. They need human contact and they need it now. Florida. Georgia. Alabama. They’re hurting. We have to go…”

She ducked her head, and when she met my eyes, a single shimmering tear tracked down her left cheek.

“Please?” I said.

She nodded, and we packed our bags.

9 comments:

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Really strong piece of writing. Good pace and powerful resolution of emotional conflict. Well done!

JLB said...

This one really reflects the "halo" in that picture - a small window of illumination on the couple, in this moment.

Ann Ostrander said...

I wasn't sure how the picture was represented here, but I too liked the pace of it.

Victor J. Banis said...

made me wonder about the rest of it

Victor Bravo Monchego, Jr said...

DP - caution with cliche language: striking beauty, stifle a laugh, and arbitrary figure. Poetry is a great tool for forcing us to be innovative with language. Experiment. Just say Oregon; we know it is a state. Kurt Vonnegut actually said this to me after a critique, "You can tell me to go to hell if you want." ;-)

Anonymous said...

Those are excellent insights, and I agree with you, Victor. In most cases I try to remain aware of cliches and trite phrases. I want to refine my prose.

In this case, I came to the writing late (last night at 10:00 eastern), so I didn't have much time to revise.

I sincerely appreciate the look at the writing from all who have commented. This is a discerning community.

I applaud Jason Evans for hosting these contests.

Best,
D. Powell

Jude said...

A moment of epiphany... lovely

SzélsőFa said...

good pacing.

jason evans said...

America as the needy nation...I like that twist. The world's an ever-changing place.