Wednesday, May 18, 2011

That'll Teach Ya

Some of you may recognize the characters in this challenge. I changed/misspelled a couple names to protect the not-so-innocent.
These were our instructions:  

"In this challenge, two people are having some sort of scene. There can be other people involved, but the main conflict or story has to involve these two characters. At the end of the story, one character’s life, or situation (the scope of the scene is up to you) will be better. The other’s will be worse. Also, the two characters can’t talk. They will be silent for the entire scene."

My Entry:
Sitting next to the bed, alone with his wife for the first time, Tim realized that a hospital room is never quiet. But the rhythm and beeps of the various pumps and monitors allowed him to begin unwinding and provided the beat with which he unraveled his emotions. The nurse had told him that his wife was lucky to survive the accident. It was true that her life would never be like it was, but intense rehab should allow her to regain some semblance of normalcy.  And when she told him that the man who was driving Sara’s car had not been so lucky, the nurse had also confirmed to Tim, without realizing it, what he had long suspected:  Sara had been having an affair. 

Tim looked at the white board on the table next to the bed. Because Sara’s many injuries included severe lacerations on her face and head and the bandages made it impossible for her to open her mouth and difficult for her to hear, the doctors and nurses had been communicating with her by writing yes/no questions and watching as Sara lifted her fingers, one for “yes” and two for “no”.  Reading only half of these conversations did not answer too many questions for Tim; he wondered if he could correctly guess how his wife had answered. Six months ago he would have been confident-now he felt like the woman sleeping in the bed next to him was a stranger.

He had known for months that something was not right. Instead of staying in with him, Sara was spending most evenings after supper out. At first he believed her when she told him she was bowling, shopping or at the movies. Eventually, though, he mustered the courage to see all the lies.  When he told Sara he was done and had given her permission to tell anyone she wanted that it was Tim who abandoned the marriage if she would just, please, tell him the truth, Sara had begged him to stay. She swore up and down that she was not lying, that Tim was her soul mate.  Her pleas were so convincing, and he wanted to believe her so badly, that he stayed. And the next few weeks were the happiest of their marriage.  Sara was with him nearly every night. She looked him in the eyes; she smiled.

Tim was calmly watching the I.V. drip when he felt Sara wake up.  An accomplished actress couldn’t say as much with her eyes as Sara did in the seconds after she awoke. Joy, recognition, and sorrow flashed over her face.

Tim had been waiting a long time for this and he wasted little time picking up the white board.

“You weren’t at the casino with Sherry were you?”  He wrote.

Tim watched her fingers. Finally, she raised two. No.

“You know Jarrod died?”

Another long pause. One finger. Yes

“You never quit seeing him?”

Sara thought a long time about how to answer. It amused Tim that she seemed to think there was something she could “say” that would affect his decision. “Maybe,” she seemed to be thinking, “if I tell him I did quit seeing Jared, that this was a one-time relapse, he’ll forgive me. Or maybe if I’m honest he’ll forgive me.”


“Do you want me to stay?”

Yes.  And her eyes added an exclamation mark.  Yes!

“Do you miss him?”


“I need to know.”


“Thank you. I love you. “


“Goodbye, Sara.”

Tim passed the nurse’s station on his way out. One of the nurses looked up and said, “We’ll take good care of her.”  Tim smiled and gave her a brief nod. He hoped so, for her sake.  He looked down the hallway at the sunlight pouring through the hospital’s front doors and walked away.



  1. Based on a true story? Damn.

  2. Yes sir. My first wife's name was Sara. Her boyfriend's? Jared. He's very much alive though (there was some fantasy in there too) and they have been together from then to now, 13 years later. The ending is more or less true, though, as I did indeed walk away into the sunlight (after first drinking a lot for a couple years.)

  3. And if I do say so myself, it takes a big man to admit that his wife left him for a guy named, "Jared."

  4. For sure. Reminds me of When Harry Met Sally. "Excuse me, you did not have great sex with a man named Sheldon."