Friday, July 11, 2008

Entry #14

On Her Own
by Anna G. Joujan


Heat radiated from the exhaust pipe, and Helen swore preemptively. It was an automatic response, but a valid one: she knew better than to give in to the thrill of the ride, and wary of letting her senses, or her limbs, forget the inherent risks of this ride.
But then her practicality was lost to a vivid memory, and Helen found herself reliving that night . . .

It was a father-daughter date, allowing for a rare occasion, in a family of 6, to have Daddy's undivided attention. They were going to the village hospital for movie. But what she remembered was the ride, on their motorcycle. It was the family’s prize possession, the only mode of transportation they owned.
That night was cold, as African evenings were, and they were alone on the dirt road. Helen had shut her eyes and focused on the feel of her father. With her arms wrapped tightly around him and her cheek pressed against his back, his body kept her warm from the wind. Daddy could protect her. But of course he could not. He could not prevent an accident on that same road. He could not prevent his own death, or the paralysis of his wife, or the splintering of his family . . .

Tonight Helen was alone. But there was an odd sweetness to the solitude, as if all the junk of life had heightened her awareness of its joys. Yes, she was on her own—and all was well.

15 comments:

JaneyV said...

A very nice telling of a bitter-sweet memory. I particularly like the line
all the junk of life had heightened her awareness of its joys.
A lesson for us all I think. ;0)

BernardL said...

Poignant illustration of the danger.

Geraldine said...

I really enjoyed reading this entry. Well done. I agree with Janey, a lesson for all of us, indeed.

www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

September said...

This was interesting. Nice way to flashback and return. Bittersweet but I like the ending. Alot.
At first I reread, trying to figure out why the wife's paralysis was mentioned. For a second, I thought she may have been on the motorbike too but then I realized it was not necessarily a physical paralysis. The family splintered! Wow. Strong words.
Good job.

Sarah Hina said...

To have, and then lose, so much can destroy a person. But Helen seems too strong for that. I'm glad she discovered that joy was still within her reach.

Nicely told.

kgilbert said...

"...as if all the junk of life had heightened her awareness of its joys."

One can only hope to reach this realization in life. Good story and well written.

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Memories can be healing,even if painful.

Poignant piece!

Wannabe Writer said...

Sad tale about how life continues on even in the face of tragedy. Very poignant. -Rita

Sheri said...

Very nicely written. Seems like it has potential to be a novel. I always love a good father/daughter story!

Scott said...

Ouch. What an awful thing to suffer through. I admire her for still being strong, but what a weight she carries.

anna j said...

Wow--with such kind commentaries, can you blame me for being a comment-lurker? ;-)
Sheri, I am especially flattered by your comment as this is simply one snippet out of my dream-of-a-novel . . .

laughingwolf said...

beautifully handled, thank you

Dottie said...

I like how the voice of your narrator was simple like a child's in the flashback and then more adult and complex at the end. Very nice.

Aine said...

Life does go on. I'm glad Helen can balance the pain with the joy of being alive.

Thanks for sharing this!

jason evans said...

I liked that harsh dichotomy--loving the memory of the very thing that later destoyed her family.