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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)

TITLE: Whispered Promises
By Racheal Chand


“Still celebrate Christmas.” The words rang loudly in my ears, echoing off the pain and sorrow that had built walls in my heart. Simple promises you make are at times the most difficult to complete. Every time I tried to negotiate the agreement, the words, “You promised,” would glide in on the breeze and rustle the leaves of my conscience.

“Mom, I can’t do this,” I thought. I turned the radio on and twisted the volume button as quickly as my gloved hands could move. I would do anything at this point to avoid the reminder of my words.

Finally I pulled in front of the house, a place so full of memories-both happy and sad; a place where for me solace now lived. I got out of my car and trudged up the stone steps. Once I reached the doorway I could go no further.

The wind blew just then jingling the angel chime my mother had hung up a few short weeks ago. I bit back the tears and reached for the keys in my jacket pocket. Better to get this over with. My hand shook, not from the cold, as I tried to get the key in its home. It was as if the key was ready but my fingers were fighting the task, until suddenly they gave in and unlocked the door.

I gently turned the knob and pushed the portal open. I was afraid to see, to experience, and especially to face the all-to-real fact. Mom was gone and now, because of my promise I had to step into her shoes and make Christmas special. The hinges creaked and with a muffled thud the door hit the entryway table.

The house was dim from the curtains being drawn. It felt empty and cold as if Mom had been gone for years instead of a few short days. The breeze from outside tickled the fabric causing it to silently laugh and bellow out of its sapphire cloak. I closed the door and went to open the curtains. I couldn’t stand the shadows any longer. You could hear the room sigh as the light trickled through and began to greet the room as old friends do with one another.

I surveyed the room. Everything was as Mom had left it. The pain stabbed at my heart as I saw the tree, decorated and bulging with presents. The tears welled in my eyes and poured out like a candle that had been burning too long and the wax puddle finally spilling over the withering walls. I came closer to the tree and in sorrow collapsed in front of the gifts.

“Why!” Shouted and echoed inside me as a sob wrenched from my lips.

“Because He promised,” whispered through-out the room. Just then an ornament fell from the top of the tree and slowly bounced and cascaded off the branches until it landed on the plush carpet in front of me.

Startled, I wiped my eyes with my sleeve and sniffed deeply hoping this would help my built up tears. I picked up the ornament to put it back in its rightful place, but the engraving on the decoration caught my eye. It read: To my Daughter, this year has been a trial, but always remember that God keeps His promises.

My heart fluttered like the wings of a dove that just escaped its cage. A smile curled my lips as the sun from the window peeked through and completely engulfed the room.

An energy lifted my spirits and slowly warmed my body just as the sun began to warm the room, transforming the tomb into a place of happiness again. I hung the trinket back on the tree. There was so much to do before the family arrived. I had to make all of Mom’s famous recipes and get the house warm and welcoming- just like Mom would have done.

Though it is hard to do at times, a promise is a promise and I wasn’t going to break one made with Mom, even if she wasn’t here to see me fulfill it.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/22/08
Oh, that would be so hard! But I think reading this well-written story would be good for anyone who has lost a loved one at Christmas.
Deborah Porter 11/27/08
Racheal, I just wanted to let you know that you did very well in the Challenge this week. Even though you didn't quite make it into the winners' circle, you made it into the highest rankings for Level 1, placing 10th for the level.

The competition is always quite intense in Level 1, so well done. Keep up the great writing.

If you would like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can see them here:


With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)