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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)

TITLE: Faceless Shadow
By Tessy Fuller


I found comfort in the friction of her weathered hand against my much softer one. She led me along a well-traveled path. My gaze fell on the shadow of her slightly stooped frame swashing forward. Though her face was obscured under the outline of her fedora, I could easily envision her face in my mind. A face that held time that was not her own. A face of leathered wrinkles weaved so intricately that when constrained by a smile they rippled downward, one upon another, as if it was indeed a frown instead. Yet, the irony of a frown cupped in a smile would quickly erode as you witnessed the smile drawing upward revealing a chasm of gaps nested amid crooked teeth. If you lingered here, if only for a moment, you may find yourself being swept into a state of empathy but you would be shortchanged. It is crucial to allow your eyes to continue to sweep upward and fully saturate the dark pupils precariously teetering on the rise of her cheeks as she takes in your gaze. Mysteriously stroked upon her irises you will find a wellspring of uncharted emotions. Swirling flecks of soul emerge entwining with yours as if performing a sacred dance. A dance of a sisterhood that is unlimited by language or location. This face, this beautiful face, is seared upon my heart and will never be a faceless shadow.

I sensed we were getting closer now. Her sense of urgency could be seen in the distancing of our footprints. I felt the tremble of anticipation travel across my palm as she clutched it tighter. The contrast of the red coral bracelet against my white skin caught my gaze. She had folded it into the palm of my hand shortly after our emotional reunion. I thought of her gift and her life of simplicity. My eyes started to dampen threatening to spill my heart. I reached up to wipe a tear away, relieved she was completely focused on arriving at our destination. It was then that I noticed her shawl had slipped down from her shoulder due to the increased tempo of our steps. I gingerly reached forward returning it to its proper place. I am not sure if it was my touch or the sound of voices behind us that caused her to pause for a moment and look behind us. The rest of the group was not far behind and the pitch of conversations buzzed with excitement. For some it was the first time to experience a culture other then their own. I breathed in deeply knowing they would leave maimed. Some part of them would be left behind with these people and they would never be the same again.

As we stepped forward to the top of the hill she stopped, her head turning toward me in order to gauge my reaction. This time it was I who was obscured under the outline of four perfect walls holding up a tin roof. I had only dreamed of this church in its completion. Years before I had stood where only grass had been. When I felt her eyes watching me I turned to her and smiled. My mind was flooded with memories of us digging trenches side by side in order to prepare for the foundation. We had been the first mission team that had worked on the project; another had come behind us and finished it. The building was now complete. I watched her take her hand, her eyes locked on mine, and she placed it over her heart. Inhibited tears began to stream down my face as I realized that a much bigger completion had taken place.

Authors Note: A fedora is a soft felt hat that is creased lengthwise down the crown and pinched in the front on both sides.

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Member Date
Gregory Kane02/14/09
wonderfully intense descriptive writing