Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: The Sweater
By Mary Smith
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He grew and grew and suddenly, he was a rambunctious toddler! Always scrambling from one adventure to the next, eager to see what he could learn about each day. His energy was so intense; I would find myself exhausted just watching him. Getting him to nap was a chore, so my sister let him play until he fell asleep in whatever position his body landed in. There were many times he would hang upside down on the couch, laughing and playing. All of the sudden, it would be silent. There, he slept, hanging upside down. She knew better than to move him too soon or he would be wide awake and ready to go again. Halloween came around, and she thought it appropriate to dress him as a bumblebee. Because my nephew was a busy little bumblebee, flying from flower to flower, never resting till his work was done. Busy in yellow, he played the part.
Kindergarten was a new adventure for him. His mind absorbed at a rate faster than his teacher could teach him. He was often bored. When he was bored, he became mischievous. I know he gave his teacher a rough time that year. Ah, but graduation day rolled around. Despite the boredom and the many days of his name on the board and lost privileges, he passed. On this day, he wore red. He wore a bright, shiny red cap and gown and proudly stood on the stage to accept his kindergarten diploma.
Two years later, he lay in a hospital bed, in the intensive care unit. We tried to tell my sister to take him to the doctor. We tried to get her to listen. We all knew something was wrong. As his mother, she knew best, nothing was wrong. There were other excuses. She didn’t have medical insurance, time, or money. But, this day, this day came. We all held our breath. Would he wake? Would the diabetes kill him? His glucose levels were through the roof for his tiny little body. He was in white, this day. As we waited for him to wake, he wore white. He wore the white gown, the white sheets, and his skin was pale enough to be considered white. I didn’t like to see him in white.
He did wake and grew to accept and manage his diabetes well. But, despite the wonderful recovery, his life was not so wonderful. His stepfather dressed him in black and blue. As the black and blue faded to green and yellow, his smiling face turned to a frown. His restful nights turned to nights full of nightmares and sleepwalking. Black and blue were bad colors for him.
The light slowly returned to his eyes as we took him in our home. Money was tight and not so easy to replace a wardrobe he had long grown out of. Instead, some women banded together to provide him with a winter wardrobe. In the bags of clothing was a brown sweater. As he dressed for church the next Sunday, he came to me, wearing the sweater. “Auntie,” he said. “Look at me. I’ve never looked this good in my life!” His brown eyes danced, and I immediately ruffled his already cow-licked brown hair. Yes, brown was a perfect color for him. I loved him in brown.
The years have come and gone. He wore purple at his high school graduation, a stunning gold rope at his college graduation, and a shining black tuxedo at his wedding. He wore green scrubs at the birth of his first baby. Despite the many colors he has worn in his life, none so suited him as brown. Yes, the day he wore brown is a day I will never forget. The day he wore brown, I saw peace begin to settle in his soul.
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