A swift upper cut sent Peter to his knees, while a kick to the gut leveled him to the ground. He tried desperately to breathe, but his mouth was so full of dirt that he could barely inhale without drawing in soil. “Get up and do something!” said the voice behind him. But not having the strength or the courage to move, he simply remained on the ground. “Then be destroyed,” the voice said in what Peter thought was a ruthless tone. He let out a harsh cry, suddenly, when a hard thud came down on his back, almost breaking it. Tears squeezed through his tightly closed eyes as a cold ripple of fear surged throughout his belly. “I-I give up!” Peter cried out. “I give up…” The sound of thunder exploded behind him as he lay almost lifeless on the ground. “This…is your response? You give up?” Peter could hear the sound of a chuckle, mocking him, taunting him. He cringed, his eyes still tightly shut. “You’re really going to let me kick the life out of you? You lose your job…your wife leaves you…you feel alone, defeated, depleted! And you want me to feel sorry for you?” Peter heard a loud, hearty laugh behind him. He wanted to get up, but he was so ashamed of himself, he couldn’t even lift his face from the dirt. When would the taunting and torment end…?
“Peter…” the voice said his name now without an ounce of ridicule. Not only did he hear the empathy in the voice, he could feel it as well. “You have it all wrong. I’m not your enemy. Misfortune and inconvenience does not exist to torment you…how else can one find endurance? But know this: I’m not some story with a happy ending. I’m not some zone where you hope to find comfort…I am Life.” On hearing this, Peter’s fear slowly ebbed a bit and was replaced with hope when he felt a hand grip his arm to help him to his feet. “You will find love again, don’t worry. You’ll regain your humor, and you find peace, but one thing is for certain…no matter where you turn, you will always find me.” Peter dusted the dirt from his clothes and wiped the blood from his lip. He had given up on Life’s setbacks way too many times, and given up on himself just as many. Drinking was not taking him away from his problems, it was only helpinghim destroy his own body. No...giving up was only making things worse, he suddenly realized.
“Now, my friend, what will you do when I come calling again? Will you cower? Or will you—?” Instead of finishing the question, Life…simply…came…calling. Peter pulled his cell from his pocket and listened to the speaker on the other end. His back nearly weakened with the news he heard, but he resisted the temptation and stood strong. His stomach wanted to turn sour with grief, but he closed his eyes and willed his attention off of himself. Gritting his teeth, he took a deep breath then spoke calmly to the person on the other end. “Just sit tight, son. I’ll be right there.” Instead of thoughts of heading to the nearest bar, Peter “limped" to his car with the intention of going to the bank to withdraw whatever he needed to bail his son out of jail. On his way to the car he looked up into the blue sky as if to say…Does that answer your question?
S. M. Phelon is a homeschooling parent living in Memphis, Tn. with her husband and three children. She enjoys writing fiction, romantic mysteries, and relationship-based stories. In her quiet time she reads, watches football, soccer, and well-written movies. Her style of storytelling is very versatile and reflects, quite perfectly, the nature of her personality.