Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)
TITLE: Turning My Own Way
By Carolyn Cyphers
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Turning to me in agreement, she added, “We should have stayed home. I wonder what Sissy is doing?”
“She probably went to the store with our moms, don’t you think?” I was sure wishing I had now. However at fourteen, when Tommy and his cute friend, Rick, invited me to play baseball, I jumped at the chance. Pam, Patti’s older sister, tried to warn me that it would be better to just stay home or to go shopping with our moms, but no, I wouldn’t do that! Now here I was, miserable in the dirt, humiliated, ruing my decision. Also, Patti’s house was at least a couple of miles away. Sitting there I was trying to get my bearings… I knew the way back down the road; turn left and over three roads, and finally turn down Rustic Road. Her house was last on the right beside a large forest.
“Patti, there must be a short cut around here back to your house.”
She starting looking all around and I could almost hear the cogs of her memory chugging as she turned and looked into the woods.
“Are these the same woods that are beside your house?”
“Yes, that’s the way we come unless we’re biking over to play.”
I didn’t even stop to wonder why we hadn’t come that way in the beginning. Eagerly I set off to find a break in the trees and a path that would take us home.
“Is this the way?” Without even waiting for an answer I started in on the well worn path which led fast and away in what I determined was the right direction. Happiness poured over me like honey as I acknowledged the thrill of determining my own destiny in making a choice and sticking to it.
The trail certainly seemed to be going back toward the left and when it split in two directions I always let Patti take the lead. She seemed very confident. Strange that I would follow an eight year old, but she had always seemed independent, so I relied on her best judgment.
As we rambled along more obscurely questionable paths, I was wondering if indeed this had been a good idea. I suddenly began to hear what could only be a volume of traffic. Not having seen another house for some time, we were somewhat cheered by the sound of civilization.
Suddenly we were out in an open field of high grasses and briery shrubs that posed a barrier between us and the highway. Scrambling through was excruciating, but we were determined to reach that road and head for home. To our dismay, we found ourselves stranded atop a steep red clay embankment. There below us was a four lane highway straining with afternoon traffic. “Where are we, Patti?”
“I have no idea!”
“What?” Bending over, my hands on my knees, I was trying to catch my breath; quaking in my Keds. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I was choking back tears, and didn’t think it was possible to hate Tommy and the guys any more than I did at that moment.
Dejected and fearful, we decided to follow the traffic, so we turned, scanning the ridge for a spot where we could shimmy down the bank; at last, we were scooting down on our bottoms. Covered in the soft red clay, we looked frightful. Passersby must have wondered about us. Our limbs were scratched and bleeding; the red clay looked like so much blood on our clothes. We were hobbling by now; a blister on the back of my heel was bleeding, and I was trembling with a mixture of agony, horror and rage. After at least a mile, we came to an intersection that Patti recognized. We still had a couple of miles to go, and I just wanted to lie down and die right there. The only consolation at that point was that we were no longer lost. We trudged the rest of the way, desolate and weary, and at long last we were lumbering up Aunt Betty’s long driveway just as they were returning from their shopping trip. We hadn’t even been missed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way. Isaiah 53:6
But God is faithful.
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