Fresno’s Creative Writing Contest
Whether it is writing about their husbands going off to war, their father coming home from war or being surprised with a birthday party while in their birthday suits; people can be inspired by an event and turn it into a moving story.
Luckily for SJVC’s Fresno campus, if students had a love for writing they had a chance to show this in a Creative writing contest. Students were free to write about anything and could write a song, poem or short story.
Ashley Anderson, Vincent Vera and Jessica Sandoval were the winners and received a luncheon in their honor. Campus administrators and instructors were invited and the winners read their winning stories to the audience.
These three stories and poems really stood out to the judges. Their stories were truly moving and entertaining as they captivated the readers with both sadness and humor.
It is evident that these students are great writers. If you would like to read the stories they are attached below.
By Ashley Anderson
I hated that morning. I hated opening my eyes and seeing that stupid color of paint on our tiny apartment bedroom walls. I hated the smell of coffee that was floating up the stairs to greet my nose. I hated his clothes hanging at attention in the doorway of our closet. I hated his huge green duffle bag by the front door. Most of all, I hated feeling so alone, even with him still here.
It was a cold March Monday morning. It seemed to be darker than normal, like every black cloud had come to hang over our apartment. The clock was mocking me as the seconds crept closer and closer to the deadline. Any other morning, I would have been nagging him to hurry up and get to work, but today I was begging and pleading the clock to stop and for time to stand still. I cooked breakfast silently, not knowing what I should say.
Just the thought of speaking made me have to swallow back tears like heavy lumps in my throat anyway. There was such a sense of awkwardness in the air, and it seemed insane to go about our business like a happy couple when we knew the inevitable was drawing near. I knew he would walk out the door this morning and I knew that it may be for the last time ever. I knew that he would leave me, and I could only pray that he would someday come home.
I watched him stand at the bathroom mirror and shave his face, paying special attention to every stray hair. I sat helplessly watching him, studying him, as he dressed and went through the routine of putting on his uniform. He looked like the perfect soldier, at attention, poised and ready to fight. His name tapes went on in order, American flag, rank, and name. My last name was on his chest and I took in the feel of the starch on his sleeves. I had to reach up on my tip toes to straighten his collar and I was taken back to our wedding day. That same way I had to rise up to kiss him during our first dance. That day wasn’t so long ago, but now the memory was even sweeter as I stood there with him. I tried not to let him notice as I took in a deep breath of his cologne. I had always hated that cologne. It made him smell like an old man.
He bent and laced up his boots with military precision and reached for his beret. I knew that he was ready to say his final goodbyes. With every step up the stairs he drug those boots like they weighed a thousand pounds. When he reached the top of the stairs, he straightened his face and steadied himself. With a deep breath of sorrow, he walked into our daughter’s room. The first traces of early morning traveler’s headlights bounced off the playful light pink walls of our 2 year old Haileigh, and our 6 year old Emily’s room. Their brightly colored stuffed toys and blankets thrown everywhere. They lay sleeping so peacefully that we didn’t dare to wake them. As he walked across the room, every ounce of strength and courage in his eyes disappeared as he fell to his knees and wept at Haileigh’s bedside. He cried for every second he would be away from them, for every holiday he would miss, and for every goodnight kiss he wouldn’t have.
Watching this happen was the hardest thing I had ever done and my heart ached for him. He moved on to Emily and as he kissed her forehead, she woke up and said “Daddy, please don’t cry. You’re my hero, and heroes don’t cry.” Emily reached under her pillow and pulled out her favorite teddy bear that she explained would keep him safe. He took the bear; put it in the pocket of his ACU pants and we left the house.
The car ride was too short as we made our way to the U.S. Army reserve unit. The dark morning was starting to lighten as dawn approached. The streetlights were starting to flicker off when we pulled into the gates. There were two charter buses idling in the parking lot, threatening and ominous in the crisp air, with soldiers scurrying to store their baggage in the lock boxes underneath. We said our hellos to the other wives and the commander, and I took my spot next to the others. I joined the silent ranks of the army spouse. The ones dedicated to wait and worry, to fight through the hurt until our loved ones returned. As I stood next to the other women I examined their faces, all filled with hurt and sorrow and fear. Each one as scared as I was. All of us knowing that this may be the very last time we would lay eyes on our loved ones.
Finally, it was my turn. He was not a man of much emotion, and was never good at expressing his feelings, but all that faded in an instant when I threw my arms around his neck. We melted into each other’s arms and I cried like a child. I understood the risks, I understood that he wasn’t going to a safe place, and I understood that I may never touch him again. We continued to embrace as the commander began to call off names one by one. “Bruce Anderson, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.” The commander bellowed. Each word weighed on me like a bullet to the heart. I whispered the words “Come back to me,” and sobbed for every minute I would miss, for every knock at the door I would hide from, for every sleepless night, and for every “where is daddy?” I would have to answer. My heart broke again and again as I watched him get on the bus. I felt like my world was over, and I wouldn’t be whole again until he returned.
The other wives and I joined ranks and watched the bus prepare to leave. As it pulled out of the parking lot, I caught a glimpse of him in the back, holding the teddy bear in the window and a sign that said, “I’ll be home soon.” When I had pulled myself together enough to drive home alone, I slumped down into the driver’s seat and was instantly greeted by the smell of his cologne on my sweater. That cologne I had hated so much was now my last reminder of him. It was all I had to hold onto until he came home, and I loved the smell from that day forward.
By Vincent J. Vera
I was just about to tuck myself into bed, in time for the 7 O’Clock News (as I had no job, no girlfriend, and no incentive for remaining conscious once I’d completed reading the “LIFE” section of the newspaper), when I heard a faint rumble echo from downstairs. This was not uncharacteristic of the southern regions of my home when (my old roommate) Felix was living there; but he’d since gone on to a better place. I’m not talking about Heaven; I’m talking about the condominium that he inhabits two miles up the road with those dental assistants. That was approximately two months prior, and the house had been quieter than a T.G.I. Friday’s on a Monday afternoon ever since; which was why I instantly felt the need to be concerned.
I sleep in the nude, it’s one of the perks of living alone; but I was not about to venture downstairs that way. The last thing I needed was to end up on the front page of the Harris Chronicle, dead, in my birthday suit. So I tiptoed over to the closet and quietly slid the door open. I needed to find something situation-appropriate. I knew that my trendy windbreakers would be too loud, my footie pajamas too warm (if things got heated up), and the belt attached to my robe could easily be used as a sort of strangulation device. So, in all its splendor (and against my aforementioned reservations), I began to walk my naked body down the cold, hard steps; and into the unknown.
Every step was its own obstacle. I found myself struggling to remember where each creak rested as I felt the perspiration dripping down the side of my leg. I could just imagine myself slipping on it, tumbling down the stairs, and being dead before the intruder ever even had the opportunity to bludgeon me to death. Poor guy; what if it was some sort of initiation thing and he had to murder me in order to earn his stripes? Oh well, he was going to have to find another pawn to help him play out his sick game of Checkers.
I took another step forward (down, actually) and accidentally kicked what I could only assume was a spoon. It rang much too boldly to have been a coin; and I instantly recalled having sat there the previous afternoon, devouring a bowl of peanut butter and wondering what had become of my life. It was just as the ringing of the spoon subsided that another sound came into play; a giggle. It was not the giggle of an imposing and murderous man. It was the giggle of what could have easily been identified as a young child; a young female child. It was at this point that I was certain I’d been caught up in a dream; for there was absolutely no conceivable circumstance in which a young child would have had any reason to have somehow made their way into my home at— I glanced at my, well, where my watch should’ve been; and then I realized that I hadn’t worn one since 1998. I may not have known what time it was (for by this point it seemed far beyond 1900 hours; most likely a side effect of my present paranoia), but I did know that it was time to get it on.
“Who’s there?!” I shouted, attempting to assert myself and claim authority over the situation. It was then that my blood boiled at a temperature that could’ve nuked a bag of Top Ramen in record time, for my question was answered by a second giggle; only this time there were two. “Let’s just do it already.” was the loud whisper of a man that followed. This was my cue for a preemptive strike. I let out a type of shriek that could only have been matched by Robert Plant himself, and darted down the stairs, into the darkness. It was at the exact moment that I stepped off of the bottom stair that the lights went on; and that’s when I heard,“Surprise!!!!!!!!”
There had never been so many people in my home at once. I scanned the room, and everywhere you looked were balloons and signs expressing the happy birthday sentiment. I’d been so wrapped up in my calligraphy lately that it had apparently slipped my mind. How had I forgotten? Today was my birthday. How ironic, that I stood there in front of my forty plus friends, in my birthday suit.
Daddy, Come Home
By Jessica Sanchez
Daddy, come home.
I need you here today.
It’s beautiful outside and I want to go play.
Mommy is always working; I feel so alone.
I really, really miss you.
Daddy, come home.
I start school soon!
It will be my first day.
Daddy, I wish you could be here!
I really promise to pray.
My teacher taught me my letters and sounds!
I also know now that shapes could either have angles or be round.
Today we are taking our last test!
You would be so proud of me daddy.
I finished it first and Teacher told me I did the best!
Daddy, Teacher told me I am smart and that I am very ma…mat…mature for 6 years old.
I didn’t know what to say so I just said “Thank you”, and that I had to go.
Daddy, guess what!
Today is my birthday and Mommy bought me a computer!
She told me like this: “Baby, it’s so you could see and talk to your father”.
And Daddy I see you!
I can, I can!
But, I’m sorry for the tears.
I really am happy.
I am, I am!
I love you and I miss you!
Oh, please come back here!<
Oh, please, daddy please!
It’s been forever!
Like a gazillion years!
Daddy, where are you?
Are you very far?
Well, Mommy tells me you are close because you are always in our hearts!
Daddy, you would be so proud of mommy.
She really tries her best.
She works really hard, feeds my tummy, and even has time to help me study for my test!
So, Daddy, how are you?
Are you okay?
Everyone says you are like a hero;
That is what people say.
Daddy, is it true?
Are you like Batman and Robin?
Do you help save people’s lives, and fight bad people like Goblin?
Everywhere I go
I see kids with their daddy.
Those kids should be happy
And should know that they are lucky.
But, today I saw a girl at the park.
She was yelling and kicking and saying mean things.
And all because her daddy accidently bought her the wrong thing.
Daddy, I don’t get it.
I don’t understand.
That girl was my age and she was so mad.
If only she knew how it feels to miss your dad.
Daddy, I know that our family is not alone.
I have a friend whose daddy is never home.
Daddy please tell me what I can do to bring all the Daddies back home.
Can I write a letter to your boss?
Daddy what is his name?
Daddy, I heard your boss is the president!
Or am I just, um, insane?
Daddy, that can’t be true.
He said he would bring all the troops home!
I heard it with my own two ears, too!
Daddy, he doesn’t know how it feels to leave
Your family all alone.
Daddy, Mr. President lives in a big white house, and his family gets to live with him, too!
That’s no fair!
He should think of us, too!
You have a surprise for me?
Daddy, I’m sorry I talk too much but please answer your phone!
Daddy is home!
[later that night]
I pray that maybe one day every child in the whole wide world could have their daddy at home with them too.
Until then, I hope all the other kids in the world could pray with me too.
“Daddy, Come Home”
At night I pray Before I sleep
For all children’s parents
Are theirs to keep
And if the day come
Where we are all at peace
Then I pray to you That day to keep.