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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)

TITLE: One Friday Night...
By Lynda Lee Schab
~1st Place


Friday night was babysitting night. Every Friday night. And, being a teenager, that was just not acceptable.

If I was actually getting paid to babysit, it might have been different. But I was required to do it – because I was a part of the family.

The fact that Steven was not even a baby made it worse. At nineteen, he was older than me. Mentally, however, he was more like five. Would be forever, so they said.

I had turned sixteen only a month ago. I was itching to drive – anywhere – but was stuck inside with my brother. Again.

Did I mention it was a Friday night?

I should have been with my friends, at Ryan Reynold’s house, shooting pool and watching movies. But, as usual, I was missing all the fun. So I sat on the couch, angrily thumbing through a Seventeen magazine, wondering for the millionth time why God made Steven the way he was. And why He made him my brother.

Beyond my comprehension, my friends loved Steven. They thought he was cool and treated him like a normal person. They even encouraged me to bring him along to Ryan’s to hang out. But there was no way I would bring the freak along. What if he wet his pants or had a temper tantrum or something? I’d die of humiliation.

“Wanna watch a movie, Brianna?” Steven stood in front of me, his arms loaded with a dozen DVD’s.

“Not really.”

Steven dropped the movies to the floor. Great. A mess for me to pick up.

“Wanna play a game?”


“Why not?”

“Because I’m busy.” Paging through this magazine I’m not even reading.


Then I got an idea. “Okay, Steven. I’ll play a game. How about hide and seek?”

His face lit up. “I love that game!”

“You hide, and I’ll come find you. Don’t come out, though. Stay in your hiding spot. It might take me a while since you’re such a good hider.”

Knowing his favorite hiding spot was his bedroom closet, I quickly ran ahead and tossed Steven’s pillow inside. You might need this...

I started counting – loudly – while grabbing my purse and heading out the door. I won’t be gone long...mom and dad will never know. And, hopefully, you’ll be sound asleep on your closet floor when I get back.

The party was in full swing when I arrived. I lied and said my parents had come home early and relieved me of my babysitting duties. My friends actually looked bummed. They were looking forward to seeing Steven. Can you believe it?

Responsibly, I kept a close eye on the clock and only stayed an hour. Just long enough to feel like I still had a life, instead of being cooped up at home, forced to babysit a nineteen-year-old against my will.

I smiled all the way home. The last hour had been everything a teenaged Friday night should be.

My smile turned to horror as I turned the corner of my street. The flashing lights.... Police cars in our driveway.

Oh, God…what have I done?

Steven’s lifeless body lay in the road, illuminated by my headlights. My mother crouched at his side, racked in hysterical sobs. My father stood on the sidewalk, his face in his hands. I’ll never forget the look of anguish on my father’s face as he looked up at me.

Confusion. Pain. Grief. Disappointment.

I assume Steven got scared and came out from hiding. How and why he ventured outside to the street, I’ll never know. He was likely looking for me.

If he only knew...

But I’m glad he didn’t know. He didn’t know I was too embarrassed of him to take him along to my friend’s party. Or that I was too selfish to consider anything but my own desires.

I’m so glad he didn’t know...

My parents have long since forgiven me for that stupid life-altering mistake. And I know God has too. But how do I forgive myself?

I now volunteer full-time at a home for the developmentally disabled. Oh, how I wish it could make up for that night - the night I left my brother alone in a closet. One day, when Steven and I meet face to face I’ll tell him how truly sorry I am. Until then, I’ll continue doing what I can to help people like Steven. Especially those whose family and friends are too embarrassed or disgusted or self-absorbed to visit.

Unfortunately, there are many...

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/26/07
What a devastating way to learn a lesson! Many teens feel embarrassment about a sibling, for a variety of reasons. I can see this story being used as a tool to help teens mature before they have to experience grief like this because of a bad decision.
Lynda Schultz 07/26/07
Wow, what a gripping, sad tale — the price of a little embarrassment was way too high!
Kristen Hester07/26/07
This is a griping and powerful story. I am moved and convicted. Nicely done. You are a master with words. Great job.
Betty Castleberry07/26/07
Oh...I don't know what to say. This is so moving. Very well done.
Benjamin Graber07/27/07
This is such a powerful story. It is very convicting; I couldn't help but wonder what small selfish things I have done that could cause a disaster if I hadn't been mercifully spared...
Yulanda Ridge07/28/07
Wow - I immedicately called my two young teens to read this to them! My son wants to know if it's really true?
This story was so well written, my mouth was actually gaping while reading the part about the consequences of her actions.
Selfishness is something that creeps into our lives so easily if we don't continuously guard against it, doesn't it? I'm also glad you mentioned the parents' forgiveness, but I'm sure it must be SO hard to forgive yourself if something like this happened.
Good job! ~Y~
Melanie Kerr 07/28/07

What a sad story. Your main character did little to endear himself to me. I didn’t wee such a tragic end coming.
Joanne Sher 07/28/07
This is absolutely a masterpiece. I also want to know if this is true. Gripping, heartwrenching, amazing. The best I've read so far.
william price07/29/07
A deeply sad story. What ah hard way to learn a lesson. Thank God for His Grace.
Excellent writing. Didn't see that ending coming. God bless.
Jan Ackerson 07/29/07
Yikes! I considered taking a similar approach, but you've written the definitive story on this topic. Well-done and chilling.
Catrina Bradley 07/29/07
I didn't see that coming. Wonderful writing, great story. I too want to know if this is true.
Sharlyn Guthrie07/30/07
Huge lump in the throat here. You make embarrassment seem so trivial. Your telling of the story is superb.
Loren T. Lowery07/30/07
This was very difficult to read; and even more difficult to have sympathy for the MC. Maybe that is why this is a good story...bringing to the front lines how selfish acts can have grave outcomes. But I can't help but wonder why the parents weren't more sympathetic to the "baby sitter's" needs. Had they been, maybe this could have been avoided. Anyway, the reasons are obvious why this is such so tragic for all involved.
Dianne Janak07/30/07
Wow... I wasn't expecting that either, but there is so much more to being embarrassed than we usually think. Thanks for this story...I don't know if it was true or not, but I am still reeling from it... Dianne
Marilyn Schnepp 08/01/07
I didn't know I'd find such a compelling story in an "embarrassed" topic; but I did, and it touched me immensely; Thank you for such an enlightening story...that I felt throughout my read as if it were true. Your story brought me to tears. Great job of a heartbreaking scene, with a great message.
Sara Harricharan 08/01/07
Wow. This is so sad. True embarassment really does hurt and makes more than one heart ache. Well written and presented. Good job.
Patty Wysong08/01/07
Ooooh. That one hurt. I didn't see it coming until I saw the flashing lights, and even then I wasn't prepared. wow. Great writing. Great lesson.
Seema Bagai 08/01/07
Wow. Didn't see the ending coming. Every teen needs to read this one.
Dara Sorensen08/01/07
Heartwrenching! I definitely shed a few tears over this one...

Great job as always with connecting with the reader.
Sheri Gordon08/02/07
Congratulations on your first place. Very well deserved. This is written so well -- I was right there with that 16 yr old. Incredible job with this topic.
TJ Nickel08/02/07
Deeply moving, with a call to motivation at the end.
Rita Garcia08/02/07
Way To Go, Lynda. CONGRATS on a great story and a first place win!
Teri Wilson08/02/07
Wow, this is absolutely amazing! A wonderfully, well-deserved win. And now you've got two in a row. Congratulations - you deserve it. Love and blessings, Teri
terri tiffany08/02/07
Great job again Lynda!!
Cheri Hardaway 08/02/07

I am stunned speechless. This is such an excellently written piece, masterful in every sense of the word. Congratulations on your EC! This story was so true to life, I can hardly imagine it being fiction. These are the kind of tragic life lessons/consequences that God can use to change people forever, like your MC. Blessings, Cheri
Sara Harricharan 08/02/07
Helen Paynter08/02/07
Wow, Lynda, fantastic piece. Well deserved win. COngratulations
Author Unknown08/02/07
[scraping chin off the floor] okay- so not your ordinary ha, ha embarrasment story. Holy fright! of course, extremely well-written, hence the award, but wow!
Mo 08/02/07
This really is a story that sticks with you, even days later. Congrats on your 1st place EC (again)!
Sharlyn Guthrie08/02/07
Congrats on #1 EC! I knew this was a winner when I read it the first time. Excellent!
Chrissi Dunn08/03/07
A very well deserved win. This was a really compelling read - so well written from the teenager's point of view, with such an excellent message about embarrassment, and those who are 'different'.