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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

TITLE: Never Alone
By M. L. Briggs
06/11/09


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I’ve never seen such a spacious hall packed with so many people. They cluster and drone and swerve like bees on honeycomb, only I feel more like an ant in this hive than a bee. Somehow, in a sea of smiling faces, I’m utterly alone, even in this place I long ago called home.

As the finely dressed man at the long table proposes a toast, I, with the others, raise my nearly empty glass, take a final sip, and twist it in my grasp, opting to leave this corner seat to find someone I might know.

In the tight crowd, I’d have spilled my drink long ago had I not drained it before. “Please excuse me,” I say like a chant over the first measures of the waltz. Cheery couples waft their way to the cleared space, and I can’t help but wonder, “Would I be happy too if I had a place to belong as they do?” Am I the only one here so barren of joy but full of care?

How at ease the guests seem in the lively company of family and lifelong friends. They laugh, talk, and gesture with such enthusiasm as I’ve rarely known. So many of the faces I can identify. We’d lived a chapter of our younger lives together once, but we’re as familiar with one another now as oil and water. My accent is not theirs, nor is their culture mine. They are a field of blossoming, clustered sunflowers that swing in the wind, and I’m the scarecrow that can but watch from a distinct distance.

The bride and groom are the main glow of the room, and if their gaze for each other were any brighter or warmer, we’d have no need of the sun. Their guests surround them like stars in the universe.

But this galaxy isn’t mine, and I ache for uninterrupted solitude even more than a friendly conversation. “Father,” my heart cries heavenward as I dodge a staff member and his eye-level platter, “I’m a fish out of water. These people don’t understand me, nor I them. Help me here, please.”

Suddenly, the dull ache around my constricted heart ebbs. My hollowness is filled by an emanating warmth, as if ladled straight from the Father’s hand, and I smile at no one in particular. Even when emotionally bare, I was never truly alone.

“Thank you,” I whisper.


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Verna Cole Mitchell 06/14/09
I like the way you contrasted your narrator's loneliness with the joy of those around here, and really liked the peace she found at the end. Your similes are excellent.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/14/09
And I meant to add that I liked your metaphors: sunflowers and scarecrow. Well done