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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: Just One Day
By Beckie Stewart


“Star light, star bright,”
“First star I see tonight,”
“I wish I may, I wish I might,”
“Have the wish I wish tonight.” *

Mary gazed at the star through her bedroom window. “All I want is to know what it would be like to be Jessica for one day,” she whispered. She rolled over and imagined living in a huge brick house, having an older brother, wearing brand name clothing, and being liked by everyone. From a distance, Mary continued to envy Jessica through grammar school and junior high. By the time she graduated from high school she had forgotten her obsession with Jessica’s life.

Mary went on to graduate in the top ten of her class. She received several scholarships and attended a Christian college, majoring in secondary education. In the middle of her freshman year, she met Dave, who graduated two years later and took on his first church as a pastor in a small congregation not far from her. They continued to build their relationship and married upon her graduation.

After several years of infertility and two miscarriages, she gave birth to a beautiful set of twin girls. They were only about a year old when she received an email from her two closest friends. They were begging her to attend their ten-year high school reunion that was quickly approaching. Reluctantly, Mary dragged Dave, left her twins with her parents, and returned to her hometown for the fancy gala at a four star restaurant.

“I’ll be right back,” Mary told her husband and friends as she excused herself. She followed another woman just arriving at the restaurant into the restroom, not paying much attention as she took the stall next to her. She heard some footsteps from some nearby stalls and began to overhear two women talking.

“So, do you think Jessica is going to show up,” the one asked the other.

“I don’t know. Can you believe we use to hang with her?”

“No. I don’t know about you, Sue, but I only put up with her bossy, snotty attitude because of the great parties she had when her parents were out of town.”

“Yeah, me too, and a chance to get her dreamy brother to take notice of me,” Sue giggled.

“Unfortunately, he may have looked good, but he wasn’t really that good in the sack.”

“No, he wasn’t, Carol, but at least we didn’t ended up getting pregnant by him.” Both women laughed.

“They say that at least three girls had his baby, and he didn’t marry any of them,” Carol said.

“So, did you hear if Jessica married Rich,” Sue asked.

“I don’t know, the last I heard she had two kids and was living with her parents.”

“Well, who would want her?”

As abruptly as the conversation began, it was now over, as the two women exited the bathroom.

Mary remained seated and stunned at what she had just overheard. She vaguely remembered the rumors flying around school, but never took the time to consider if they were true.

As she stepped out of the stall, the woman next to her did also. Mary noticed her face was streaked with mascara and despite the small spots of aging, Mary recognized her beautiful blue eyes and instantly knew her. She didn’t say a word to Mary as she darted away, and Mary knew away from the reunion.

As Mary rejoined her husband and friends at the table, she reflected on her life. Dave was a handsome man with dark brown hair and eyes. He had treated her like a princess while they dated doing everything to preserve her purity until they were married. She was almost thirty years old now, and sitting at the table were her two best friends since third grade. She knew that if she overheard Shannon and Janice talking about her the conversation would bring tears of joy instead of pain and hurt.

“I got my one day,” Mary remembered, “And I never want to walk there again.”

*Nursery Rhyme by Mother Goose.

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This article has been read 644 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 02/08/08
Oooh, we must be careful what we wish for, for sure. Very good story. Please proofread your work or get a challenge buddy to do it for you. It's so hard to catch our own mistakes. Keep on writing!
Marlene Austin02/11/08
Nice insightful writing. :)
Shelley Ledfors 02/11/08
A very nice, thought provoking story.
Sara Harricharan 02/13/08
A few typos, like

"Mary knew away from the"

I think there's a word missing there. I felt so sad for Jessica, after everything that happened and to see the contrast with Mary's life and Dave. It wa so different.
You did well with showing it and how to be careful what we wish for, the last line is a keeper! Nice writing! ^_^
Jan Ackerson 02/13/08
Yikes! People should be careful what they say in restroom stalls!

The middle section of this, with all the dialogue, was exceptionally well-written. Your dialogue was realistic and compelling. The last paragraph was a bit too much of "telling"--more like a summary.

You're a writer of great promise!
Leigh MacKelvey02/13/08
The idea for the story was really a good one! I liked the dialogue very much as it added some "show" to the story.the first part seemd more like "telling" and you can add some descriptions to help that part bring the reader more images to see. Definite talent here! Don't give up!
Debbie Wistrom02/13/08
Engaging story, so happy your MC grew up and into her own. Keep writing!
Maxx .02/13/08
The only thing that rubs me wrong on this type of story is that we try and cover soo much ground in 750 words ... of course, I often spend 750 words just having the protag yawn or something, so I may be the other extreme. Anyway, I liked the story line but would want more depth and intimacy.
Lyn Churchyard02/14/08
I really felt for Jessica. How aweful to overhear those two women, and what a contrast to your MC. A couple of minor typos, but all in all an excellent story.