LAST EDITED ON 07-14-04 AT 08:51 PM (EST)
Wyatt James read the line for the tenth time in a row. It was still the same, hadnít changed, and wouldnít change, no matter how many times he read it. The Marlboro hanging from his weathered lips had an ash tip one inch long and about to fall off into his beer, it went unnoticed. The beer itself had grown flat and warm; no salt would lift its flaccid spirit. Johnny Cash droned on in the living room though Wyatt barely had noticed, something about falling into a burning ring of fire.
The love of a good woman can do so much for a man. She can lift him up and make him feel special, warmed by life, complete. She can give man the very reason for his existence, the reason he worked so hard to bring home the measly paycheck, the reason for having children, a family to come home to every night. Sarah was just that woman for Wyatt. From the first moment he saw her he knew. He knew deep down to his withered roots that this is the woman whom he had sought. They were married less then a year later.
He worked hard to put food on the table, a roof over their heads. She stayed home and made the house. Together they made a child, a boy they named Sam. Wyatt and Sarah struggled, but they were living, they were alive, and bringing the house to life in the process.
The winters lasted a long time in the northern parts of Wyoming. They were too long for a man who made his money off sowing the land. He tried to do other things to help with the income, but the accident had rendered him a fraction of the man he once was. If he didnít have the four months back pay on his mortgage, they were going to come and foreclose.
Wyatt closed his eyes and vividly recalled a time in his life when a similar situation had stripped his father of everything he had. The years of suffering that followed, the cold, the empty bellies, trying to stay one step ahead. When Wyatt's mother couldn't take it anymore, she left. It nearly killed his father. Slowly he opened his weary lids, it was getting late.
Sarah and Sam slept peacefully upstairs in the warmth of their beds, as Wyatt read the letter one last time. He tossed his cigarette to the wooden floor and crushed it with the heel of his boot. Wyatt stood but faltered as his bad leg nearly gave way under the burden of his weight. He knew what he had to do; he had no choice. Awkwardly he limped to the fireplace and stared at the glowing red embers that lay within.
That night was quite a bit warmer than usual at the James homestead. The fire spread rapidly along the wood planks and beams, licked up the walls and ceilings, growing every minute, fueled by everything in its path. By morning there was nothing left but blackened logs and a pile of ash.
2004 A S S Trivia Champ