Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Embarrassment( 01/12/12)
Pizza, Freaks, and Zombies
By Joy Chitsey
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Time has come for me to pay the price for this pizza supper. I throw away my empty paper plate and take the last swig of cola. The ice pounces on my nose as I tilt the cup upwards to get the last drop, and then I chunk it on top of the mound of paper plates, wadded up napkins, and tomato sauce smeared crusts in the trash can.
I find the Jesus Freaks and get in line with them to go into the big room of the church. Embarrassment makes me duck my head to keep anyone from recognizing me. I only came because of the free pizza. Mom hasnít been able to work too much, so we donít get to go out and get pizza, my favorite food.
This religious routine isnít too bad. The first time I came, I thought the Jesus Freaks acted like zombies walking around and hugging each other with big smiles. Iíve never seen so many people talk with one another. Iím used to the kids at school only sticking to their own clique members. At the end of the night when the preacher has finished preaching, he stands in front of his stage waiting for the new zombies to come talk to him.
I keep my head down and stuff my hands in my pockets as we make our way through the crowd of people. Finally, we sit down, but itís only for a few minutes. Then, we stand singing songs forever. I do like the music because it has a good beat and makes me feel good. The words tell how this guy, Jesus, loves me and wants to be my best friend.
I keep singing, dreading the boring part when the preacher gets up and begins to preach. Except tonight, itís different. I listen. Heís talking about this father in heaven. Well, Iíve never met my dad and from what Iíve hear, he wouldnít be good enough to go to heaven. Maybe, I could pretend that God is be my imaginary dad, so I could tell other people that I do have a dad who cares for me.
Finally, its time for the last song. The preacher has asks everyone to stand and bow our heads for the prayer. The piano begins to play. Everyone sings.
My heart pounds wildly. I panic. Am I having a heart attack? I can hear blood squishing in my eardrums like itís going to burst out of my ears. I look around to see if anyone can hear my body destructing. All eyes are closed. Some people are still singing. Others are praying.
The zombie curse has started. One by one, people are walking down the aisle to where the preacher stands. I shut my eyelids tight and take a deep breath to fill my lungs, and then I let the air out slowly. No luck. My heart beats some type of codeólet me inólet me in. I wonder who me is and then I realize, its Jesus talking. What is going on?
I think about how God desires to be my Father. Suddenly, it doesnít matter where He lives, because I would have someone I could talk with any time of the day; and someone who would love me no matter what I did. All the words of the songs and all the words the preacher has spoken every time Iíve come on Pizza Night flash in my thoughtsóitís like puzzle pieces falling into place. I get it! Jesus wants me to ask Him into my heart to live, so God can be my Father.
I think about the Jesus Freaks. I actually want to be like them, even if my other friends do make fun of them. I open my eyes one last time to see if anyone is watching. Will I be embarrassed if people see me walk down the aisle and talk to the preacher? It doesnít matter.
I slip out into the aisle and begin the zombie walk. At first, my shoes seem to have one hundred pound weights built into their soles. However, my feet become lighter with each step I take. Then, I float down the aisle. I hold my head high. I want to shout and sing. Iím not embarrassed.
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