Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Purple (11/05/09)
TITLE: A Purple Reminder
By Neneng Masaya
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Home was haven, really. My dad and mom rarely mentioned anything about our physical features. It’s not that they didn’t think we were beautiful or handsome; besides, if we kids weren’t, that means Dad and Mom weren’t, right? It’s just that they were more concerned with helping us develop our spiritual lives and moral values, that mentioning much about outward features (apart from looking neat, clean, and respectable) didn’t seem to linger long in their thoughts.
Upon finishing high school at home, I took a college correspondence course, sitting in the campus for a couple subjects. The workload was fine, but the girls at the campus were awful. Each time, I was bombarded on every side with comments on being “cute,” “good-looking,” “handsome,” and “Prince Charming.” Deep inside, I didn’t mind the commendations that much. But still, I was always glad when it was time to escape.
None of them just could compare with Tamara. She was a family friend at church. Tamara to me was the picture of ideal girlhood, with a wealth of wisdom and understanding. And yet, despite my growing interest, she didn’t seem to notice me at all. My stealthy glances across the aisle never seemed to be sensed. They were never reciprocated, that’s for sure. I felt she treated me the same way as she did the other young men in the church. Didn’t she think that I was good-looking?
Well, one day, on a church picnic, I decided to prove to her a little that I was different from the rest. I swung that baseball bat, wacked that volleyball, and endured the sack race. While the other young men were busy discussing their various trades, I delighted the younger children with wrestling, and water fights. In the shade of a large golden elm Tamara sat, soothing to sleep one of the many babies at church, while she and the young mother quietly chatted. Her eyes didn’t follow me, neither did any flash of admiration flicker across her expressive young face.
Toward late afternoon, the children all tugged at my hands, pulling me to the gigantic slide. One by one, or two by two the children tobogganed on their sacks. Timothy, Tamara’s four-year-old brother, was a rather timid little chap, but really wanted to go on the slide. So I sat him on my lap, and boy did he have the time of his life. After several runs, he decided he’d had enough, then ran off to his big sister, bursting with the exciting account of his feat. Happily he plunked himself on her lap, and watched the other children play.
Suddenly, some crazy notion got me. (Well, it didn’t seem that crazy back then). Climbing up the long flight of steps, I kicked off my shoes, and stepped onto the slide with my socked feet. “Go! Go! Go, Lyndon!” the children cheered. I slid upright, without a single mishap. My confidence grew, and I prepared for another run. The second wasn’t as impressive to the kids. Third run. I glanced toward the shade of the golden elm. Ready, set, go! Down, down, down I coasted, and things seemed to be going good. But then…upon hitting the flat portion of the ride, I suddenly became all arms and legs in one huge, mysterious knot. With a heavy CRASH, I fell flat on my stomach, one arm pinned fast under me.
I sure hoped Tamara didn’t see me that time. Actually, I didn’t dare look to see if she’d witnessed my pride fall. I think I’ll just wear long-sleeved tops until this gigantic purple bruise fades away.
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