Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Entry #1

Faith
by Peter Dudley


His eyelid twitches just before the lightning. He picks away at me, beginning early in the morning when his coffee is too hot, or not hot enough. One by one he snaps off my little bits of happiness and leaves them to blow away with the dust. Dust is all that remains of our marriage, barren and beaten down as it is. And me—I’m left with little but faith. Faith, and revenge.

We started like everyone starts. Hopeful. Naïve. Blind. He couldn’t afford a diamond, so I made peanut butter sandwiches and we watched the 737s land at BHM as the sun set. The next weekend he took his buddies from the shop to Talladega while I worked two double shifts. When he got back, I said something foolish and saw his eyelid twitch for the first time.

It’s funny how winter creeps in, like the sound of those airplanes, so silent and far off at first. You don’t notice the sound until it’s upon you and it’s throwing you to the ground with a deafening thunder. A puff of tire smoke and the sound recedes and is forgotten for a time until the next thunder comes.

Today, when he hits me, I’ll fall. My head will strike the corner of that new granite countertop. Blood will speckle his white shirt. Police will come. And there will be a reckoning.

I see his eyelid twitch and welcome the lightning. As I fall, I hope there is a God.

25 comments:

Sarah Hina said...

Sometimes marriage ends with one too many bangs, and a lifetime of whimpers. Excellent portrait of both, Peter.

This piece is richly drawn. The details are sharp, the images evocative. The last line really lingers. Great job!

Remiman said...

Peter,
I've wondered what goes through a battered person's mind as they're faith is whittled away. For her sake I too hope there is a God!
rel

Mystico said...

Wow.
Sometimes it is scary when we explore the mind of a revengeful person.
Great story.

paisley said...

i can see being beat by someone you are madly passionately in love with... i know it doesn't make it right,, but i can see it... but someone that you no longer even love.. poor poor pitiful thing.....

JLB said...

Strong writing - I especially like your descriptions of winter.

sandra seamans said...

Nicely depicted story of an abusive marriage, with the inevitable tragic ending. Sad way to get your revenge.

ChristineEldin said...

I especially like the ending.
Nice writing!

Jaye Wells said...

You've set a high bar.

"One by one he snaps off my little bits of happiness and leaves them to blow away with the dust."

This line is wonderful.

Bernita said...

Delicate use of twigs and winter to fit both the photo and your plot.
The "twitch" is an especially good detail.

DBA Lehane said...

Subtle beauty in the details which ends with a killer line...quite literally.

Beth said...

"It's funny how winter creeps in ..."

That whole section spoke to me. I've been in an abusive relationship and there was a reckoning. Nicely done.

pjd said...

Thank you all for your comments. I have only read one other entry so far (just too busy this week), but it was a durned good one, and I can't wait to read the rest... when it's not so late and I'm not so tired.

I think this is a terrific photo prompt because it has so much possibility.

Missy said...

I love the imagery of a creeping winter, the planes and the abuse intermingled. It creates a a very full story in so few words.

pattinase (abbott) said...

"When he got back, I said something foolish and saw his eyelid twitch for the first time." I love that line.

SzélsőFa said...

This was a personally painful read for me. I especially liked the lines

***One by one he snaps off my little bits of happiness and leaves them to blow away with the dust.***

It describes the whole feeling of a love gone astray.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

This is a powerful piece of writing with strong characterisation and evocative lines of strong imagery. Despite the sorrow and pain, I liked this piece very much.

BernardL said...

This awakened rage.

bluesugarpoet said...

Wow - I'm freakishly drawn to this piece...the imagery is very well crafted. I love the twitching...and the snapping of little bits.

Lena said...

so scary and so alive. So much pain in it. Still there is little bit hope that it also shall pass.

Aerin said...

We always talk about eating peanut butter when money is low; my mother grew up under one of those airfields because my grandfather was a mechanic there (one of his three jobs, after WWII.)

That those images are so immediately and clearly invoked for me on reading this piece seems to point to the sign of a great writer. Add the good characterization and a great plot, and it's an excellent, excellent piece, one of my favorites.

Linda Courtland said...

The eyelid twitch is a brilliant detail. This sensitive story rings true. Nice work!

pjd said...

Aerin and Linda, my new friends... anyone who uses the phrase "great writer" or "brilliant" to describe me or my work immediately becomes BFF.

Thank you for the kind words!

jason evans said...

Excellent use of detail and characterization. These elements shine and make the voice assume flesh and blood. High marks.

Aine said...

I feel so sad after reading this. You really captured the sense of being trapped. But, she still found hope in the two things she can control: faith and revenge. The detail of the twitch was very effective. Nice job!

pjd said...

First: To Jason and Aine, thanks again for running this contest! I enjoyed most of the entries I read and was pleased by the high quality across the board.

Next, to the winners: Congratulations! Well deserved and hard won.

Finally, to those who have read and commented on my story: I truly appreciate your time. I did not have a chance to read every other entry, but I managed to read about 45 of them. I hope you think your visit to this story was worth the time you spent.