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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)

TITLE: Reflective Spat
By Rachel Burkum
01/25/12
~2nd Place


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"I thought you said you didn't want anything to do with that group."

I shrugged. She was right. I had said that. But wasn't it a woman's prerogative to change her mind? "Yeah, well...maybe I rethought it."

"Uh-huh." She smirked at me like she always did, with those narrowed eyes and one quirked eyebrow. It was enough to make me smirk right back at her...like always.

I attempted to don my second earring, scowling as my earlobe's hole seemed to evade the tiny post. "What? Rebecca asked me twice, so I figured I might as well go see what it's all about."

"Right. You'll go and they'll fill your head with all sorts of foolish ideas about God and all that big-worded preachy mumbo-jumbo."

She was smirking again. Or was it a grimace? Either way, I winced as my earring post finally found its mark. "Oh, hush. It can't be that bad." I sat up straight on the narrow vanity bench and made sure my blouse was void of wrinkles before reaching for my makeup.

"Of course it's that bad!"

Why did she always have to whine like that?

"You promised me you'd never set foot in another Bible study or small group, or whatever they're calling them now. When Mom died, you said it was God's fault and you'd never forgive Him!"

My posture slouched a bit, but I continued brushing rosy color into my naturally pale cheeks. She was right again. Seeing Mom's disease-ridden body slowly die had not been a high point in my life. I had blamed the doctors. I had blamed my all-but-non-existent father. I had blamed God. My misery had squelched all peace, leaving me to wallow in a swamp of negativity. "I know," was the only quiet response I could think of.

"Then why? Why are you letting Rebecca manipulate you? She knows your past. She knows how you feel and she just wants to win you over by making it all seem like fun and games. You know good and well that if you step foot in that house, you're going to fall for their tricks and eventually be disappointed all over again."

"There's always a chance." It was a lame rebuttal but it was a rebuttal nonetheless. I retrieved a nice subtle lip gloss and pointed it at her. "Remember what Mom always used to say? That there's purpose in everything and that even if we don't understand, God does, and He'll make things right if we let Him."

"Who cares what Mom said?! She's dead!"

The finality of that statement made my stomach lurch. My smile was gone and I concentrated on applying my lip gloss for several moments, giving me time to regroup. Once satisfied with my makeup, I started in on my hair with vigorous brushstrokes. "I can't die with her." My muttering was barely audible. "I'm tired of living in the past. I'm tired of being unhappy."

"You can be happy! All you have to do is quit worrying about all these pompous, so-called Christians and worry about yourself."

My frustrated glance evolved into a glare, though I took my wrath out on my hair instead of her. "Mom always said keeping God number one should be priority."

"There you go again, quoting a dead woman. You haven't even gone tonight and already you're talking nonsense. So help me, Rebecca is not going to keep doing this!"

"Enough!" I slammed my brush down and stood. "I've listened to you for the last five years and I'm tired of the tug-o-war. I've tried to live without God and it's led me nowhere but down. I want to go to Bible study tonight. I need to. I need to know if I can get to know God again because even if I've had a bad attitude, I know He's the only One who can pull me out of this pit."

"But - "

"No! I know I said I would disregard all those things Mom ever said. But I can't. Not anymore."

Grabbing my purse and jacket, I took one last look in the mirror. The eyes that stared back at me were my own. And the inner argument was far from over, I knew. But tonight...tonight at least I had won.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 01/28/12
This is great, and I loved the surprise ending. I thought for sure she was talking to her sister. I'm glad the MC is going to try to start over. :)
Helen Curtis01/29/12
Oh yes, I like this. Great twist at the end that wonderfully shows the internal debate we can so often have with ourselves. I'm so pleased that she won that round. Well done.
Jan Chapman02/01/12
I enjoyed this story and it's message. I "watched" the MC put her make-up on and don her earrings. Good writing. I will be glad when I "get there."
Ruth Neilson02/01/12
This is a great job of showing and telling! I am with some of the other reviewers who loved the surprise ending--I was convinced that the MC was arguing with her sister as well.
Michael Throne02/02/12
I like the way you take us right into the argument. I like the nuances of the argument, the drift one way and then the other until the protagonist realizes the truth and says it boldly. I especially like the end, with her seeing herself in the mirror. Great story!
CD Swanson 02/02/12
congratulations on your ribbon! Nice job - and well deserved. God Bless~
Jody Day 02/02/12
Nicely done and congratulations. Ending was a complete surprise.
Danielle King 02/02/12
Brilliant writing. Congratulations on placing 2nd.
Joy Chitsey02/03/12
Great! Truly a battle that rages within all of us if we let our inner thoughts have free rein in our minds.How amazing that people don't need another person to have an arguement with. God is so good and patient with all of us especially at times like these.