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Emotional story offers inspiration for nonfiction piece

By Kaitlyn Dahle
On February 9, 2014

I don't normally share my creative writing through the East Tennessean, but last night, I got inspired to share this particular story with you guys.
It is a nonfiction piece, a true event that happened to me during my sophomore year in high school.
I had to write this story down that day, since I had forgotten my diary at home. I needed to write in order to finally concentrate on my work in that class.
I'm proud of this particular story, because I won an award with this my sophomore year in college.
The title of this piece is called, "The Death of a Child":
The teacher walks in, face red, and her voice is crackly and pained. Tears are falling faster than she can wipe them away.
She tells us that a fellow teacher's son has died. He had a heart attack and was only 2 years old.
The shock of the news and the fact that the teacher is crying has stunned us students to silence.
She sits down to her desk and stares at it. No one speaks. No one moves. The only noise that fills the room is that of her sniffling and heavy breathing.
It seems to go on like this for forever until the Pledge of Allegiance breaks the painfully awkward silence.
When it's over, the teacher proceeds to confide in us.
She tells us that all the teachers in the lounge were upset about it. She told us that it hits her especially hard because she just had a child.
I try to understand, but I don't think I can. To lose something so small that was made from you.
I've never had a child, I don't know what it feels like to love something so small so much. I don't think anyone in our class knew besides the teacher.
The silence roared once more. This time it seemed like it would stretch all period until one brave soul moved her chair over to where her friends were.
She was slow and quiet, but it relieved some of the tension.
I sat in my seat staring at my teacher for what seemed like ages, until I finally stood up and walked up to her desk.
I said her name softly and held out my arms. She stood up a little and I gave her a good hug.
I asked her, "Do you want to talk about it some more?" she told me no, but that she appreciated what I did.

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