Extreme Writing Challenge #30: “Forgiven”

I know, I know.  Where have I been?!  Let’s just say, when you’re finishing up your second degree and working full-time, there isn’t much time to write (especially when that writing requires you to stretch your brain like a handful of Silly Putty).  But friends, I have earned my second degree, I’m NEVER going back (hear that?  NEVER!), and I’m happy to be here sharing a new story for you.  As usual, the challenge will be revealed at the end of the story.

__________

After the robbery, Dean started going to church again.

Except for the dollhouse he purchased for his little girl Jane, he never even touched his half of the money we took.  For two weeks, it sat unbothered in a shoe box on his dresser, no more important than the dirty socks on his bedroom floor.

With God’s secret weapons strapped to his conscience, Dean told me one morning he was leaving for Wyoming.

“Until when?” I asked.

“Before I go,” he said, ignoring my question, “I’d like to know how it feels to hold my lips against your cheek.”  Without waiting for a response, he kissed my cheek as gently as a breeze, and then left with only a duffel bag.

Within a week, a letter from Dean arrived in the mail.  On my first night here, it read, I laid my sleeping bag next to the river and had a heart-to-heart with my reflection.  Over the next two days, he explained, he traversed the hollow Wyoming landscape and allowed the world to forgive him:  the clouds, the dirt, the sheep, the planes that rumbled miles above his head.  Behind him, he left a trail of mistakes and selfishness.

During his absence, I lost sleep over the fear that Dean would no longer love me if and when he ever returned.  Like Dean, I often wondered if I should repent for the things I’d done.  But every letter he sent made me feel a little bit lonelier, and turning to my friends meant signing on for more trouble.  Instead of chasing Dean, I backed farther away from him.  By the time he showed up at my doorstep almost a year after he’d walked past it going the opposite direction, I was beginning a ten month stay at the county jail.

In jail, I befriended a woman called Sister who claimed to have become psychic while incarcerated.  Of course, I begged her to tell me:  is Dean waiting for me, and will he forgive me?  Despite my incessant pleas, Sister pretended she didn’t know the answer.

Beyond my stopover in the jail, I couldn’t see the conditions of the road ahead of me.  Outside somewhere, Dean was being forgiven by the fire hydrants, the pine cones, the geese, the school buses.  Inside, as I listened to Sister predict small earthquakes and high school basketball game scores, I closed my eyes and asked if I could even forgive myself.

__________

challenge30

That’s right, today’s challenge was brought to you by prepositions!  (Don’t know what a preposition is?  Just Google it and don’t admit to me that you didn’t know.  Don’t give this grammar nerd another gray hair.)

Don’t forget that you can submit your own challenge ideas to me!

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