Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Thanksgiving (04/18/05)
TITLE: Thanksgiving is Contagious
By Madonna Hooper
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To the average observer, Rona appeared to have everything. Some would say she had the perfect life. She was a sought-after model with a doting partner, an apartment to die for and all the money in the world. Why then had she started to feel as though her heart was turning black and joy was being snatched from her persistent grasp? Her slender fingers pressed the elevator button wishing there was a button she could press that would take her to the ‘Heart Restoration’ floor.
Philippe met Rona in the lobby. “Darling, you look beautiful. Come, I’ve made reservations for us all at Maxims. Marcus, Joanne, Monique and Gerard are meeting us there. They want to discuss your next shoot.”
While waiting for Philippe to park the Bentley, Rona wandered a short distance from Maxims to clear her head. She was embedded in her thoughts when the sound of singing floated towards her on the gentle, evening breeze.
She followed the notes a short distance and found herself outside a small church she had passed many times. Normally she wouldn’t be seen anywhere near a church but something was tugging at her black heart.
“I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart. I will enter His courts with praise …” Something about the words and the way they were sung lifted her and she felt like a pool of dark, mirky, oil had been drained from her heart. For the first time in a long time she felt lighter. She watched an elderly woman, crippled with arthritis enter the church. She also saw a good-looking young couple about her and Philippe’s age go inside. A handicapped boy and his family rushed by her. His mother chided the boy for messing up his sister’s hair and he grinned over his shoulder at Rona as he sauntered into church. Rona was puzzled. What did these people have to be thankful for? She had so much more than them and she was not happy.
…"I will rejoice for He has made me glad." There it was again, that feeling of poison draining from her heart.
When she reached the restaurant Philippe was waiting for her. “Having a cigarette were you darling?” She smiled at him and they were escorted to their usual table where everybody was enjoying a glass of wine. Monique stood to kiss Rona on the cheek. “Dahhling, you look beautiful as always. Come sit down and have a drink. You must be parched”.
Rona listened to the chatter, wanting to be an observer for once instead of the one always in the limelight.
“Really Gerard, it’s so hard to make ends meets on $5000 a week. I don’t know many photographers of your caliber who would put up with that”.
Monique continued, "Phillipe be a darling and call the waiter. This wine is deplorable! We might as well be drinking dish water! Rona, you’re being awfully quiet dahhling. Cat got your tongue? What dreadful stories have you got to tell us? How is that awful new model you were telling us about? Is she still kidding herself or has she realized they need her back at McDonalds?”
Raucous laughter filled her ears but Rona was not in the mood for trite conversation. The words in that song had captured her, “… thanksgiving in my heart, thanksgiving in my heart …” As strange as it sounded, she wanted thanksgiving in her heart. Not pearls around her neck or designer clothes on her body, but thanksgiving in her heart.
“Just going to freshen up. Back in a jif,” Rona quipped as she headed to the washroom.
Monique watched Rona walk gracefully towards the washroom. “My! What’s with Rona tonight? She’s just not herself at all. Maybe she’s caught something?”
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