"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

2/20/09

Friday Fiction: "Grasping Hand"

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted this week by Yvonne at My Back Door. Be sure to stop by her blog for links to some wonderful fiction. And don't be afraid to post your own - just link up in the gadget at the bottom of her post!


(but first, I've got a giveaway going on in connection with my 10th "rebirthday," and the deadline to enter is tomorrow morning! Click on the graphic below to read my testimony and enter. I promise you, the book I'm giving away will bless you!)

Anyhow - back to my contribution.

I have participated in Friday Fiction three dozen times (and that is NOT an exaggeration), and this is the very first one where I have written something completely original. I started writing Wednesday night as I was waiting for prayer meeting to start, and finished up Thursday evening - I didn't know what I was writing about until about a hour before I finished. God musta written it :) I pray it blesses you!

GRASPING HAND

My eyes were barely open, but still I could see him. I wanted to stay awake-would have given nearly anything-but I couldn't. I knew as surely as I was breathing that I couldn't keep my eyes open another minute. And I also knew that when I did awaken, he would be gone.

His visit had been short: too short. Three days wasn't nearly enough time. Yet, it had to be. That was all the time we had. We both knew it.

I reached out my hand with my last bit of strength, and he put his in mine and squeezed. His sweet voice spoke my name, but the words that followed faded as I drifted unwillingly into slumber.

My dreams were restless and disturbing. Being chased. Falling. Being lost in a darkened maze. Yet I could still feel the tender touch of his hand around mine, even in my sleep. I knew, somehow, that as long as my fingers were encased in his, I was safe.

And gradually my unconscious mind rested and the dreams mellowed, then disappeared altogether. As I felt myself slowly returning to the waking world, I perked my ears, eyes still shut, and listened to the noises around me. The whirring of a fan. A methodic beeping. And I knew it was time to rise.

But still I fought opening my eyes. I didn't want to see the room without him there. Even over the few precious days we had spent together, he had made his indelible imprint on everything in the room. It would seem empty--lacking--without his presence.

I tried to move my hand: the hand that had been gripped in his during my last moments of consciousness. It had fallen asleep overnight. I thought about trying to bring the feeling back to it: shaking it, touching it with the other hand. Yet, I wasn't sure I wanted to have any feeling other than his palm within it.


Father, I know You are good. I know You love me. But how can good come out of this? The aching in my heart is even worse now than before I found him. How could You give me this desire of my heart, then snatch it away after only a few days?

I'd seen him once before this weekend. And that was when the desire to find him first surfaced. There I lay on my bed with blood-stained sheets, too tired to move. I watched my mother take the screaming baby boy out of the room. I hoped--prayed--that she wouldn't make good on her threat.

"You don't deserve this child. You'll just mess 'm up like you messed up your own life. I won't let you raise him."

And I never saw him again: never even knew where he was, until last month. After 18 years of searching, I found my son. He was three days from deployment to Afghanistan when we were finally able to connect.

And he came to visit me. We spent the next 72 hours sharing our lives, praying together, and talking as I imagine a normal mother and her teenage son talk. For the first time, I felt like a real mother.

But all the talking, sharing, and fear of missing even a moment with him wore me out. Right before I dozed off, I glanced at the clock on the stark white wall. He had to be at the airport in two hours. And then he'd be gone. Again.

I finally opened my eyes a slit as I heard the beeping increase in volume. He wasn't there, but the doctor and nurses were standing over my bed, looks of intensity on their faces.

And there was one more presence. And He was smiling.

You're coming with me now, my child. And your son will be with you too, very soon. You met him here on earth, and soon you will know him in heaven.

My empty hand is suddenly filled with the touch of my Savior. As I hear the beeping beginning to flat-line, I smile, fading into eternity, grasping the only hand I ever really needed.

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Yvonne's blog for more great fiction!

13 comments:

  1. Oh my! This is just wonderful. It truly was a gift from the Holy Spirit!

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  2. wow! so much emotion! I tried, but couldn't guess the relationship until you told me...well done!

    Vonnie

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  3. Okay, now you've made me cry. Very well done, Jo!

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  4. Yes, Joanne, this truly is wonderful, emotional, and made me feel as if I were in the room with this mom. . . sharing her journey.

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  5. Oh. My. Goodness. JJ is this AMAZING!!! Wow. So powerful and so very special, this is what I needed to read today. Thank you SO much! *hugs*

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  6. Wowzer, this is powerful, anointed writing. I would've never guessed the ending. Wow. God is good!

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  7. So emotional. Thank you for plucking at the heart strings!

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  8. Wow. This is powerful and excellent. There's a huge amount of emotion packed into this story. Very well done.

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  9. Wow, what an incredible work of imagination! Very well done!

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  10. Oh wow, Joanne. I LOVE this story. So sad all the way through, then at the end a flood of joy. NICE!!!

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  11. Oh. my. goodness.
    but you forgot the tissue warning!!!!
    Jo, this was excellent!! I had NO idea where you were going with this--soooooo good, girl!!
    huggles!

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  12. Fabulous, amazing story Joanne! I've never read one like it.. I love the way you captivated me by withholding a few details. LOVE THIS!!!

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  13. Okay; this just proves you need to write more original pieces for Friday Fiction. Well done!

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