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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)

TITLE: The Proposal
By Beverley Miller


His heart pounded as he withdrew the letter from the mailbox. How long had it been? Six, seven weeks since he’d mailed off his proposal? And, as was the custom of the day, he had had to first ask her father for permission, which meant an additional steam ship crossing of the Atlantic.

Quickly he slid the letter into the front pocket of his pants. He wasn’t ready yet. He needed to be alone. He needed time to read the letter.

He raced back to work, fully conscious of the letter in his pocket. His breathing was strangely different. Anticipation filled his lungs. The letter filled his pocket.

As the afternoon waned, he became familiar with the feel of the letter, the shape of the letter; the weight of the letter. He hadn’t ever directly spoken to Hannah, only to her father. He met her when he was away at college two years ago. His professor had invited him home for Christmas; however, he actually spent the night at the neighbor’s farm, which is where he met her. They were long time neighbours, generational friends. His interest in her, while not overt, was born from his silent spot across the table. Indeed, they did risk quick, invisible glances at each other. At some point, he realized that she too was struggling with her curiosity and attraction to him.

With work finally done, he took leave for home. While on the bus, the pages in his pocket began to shout. Silently, he laid his arm across the letter. It was a calming move.

The quiet, shadow-grey light of his rented room held the dust suspended mutely in the air. He opened the single window and immediately the lighted particles began to dance. He removed his jacket and set it on the back of the wooden chair. He pulled the letter from his pocket.

Sitting on his single bed, he held the letter beneath his nose while taking a long slow breath in. He wondered if she had licked the envelope shut. He thought there might be more than one page, but he wasn’t certain. Carefully, he drew the glued sides away from each other. The inside of the envelope was blue, light blue. How lovely.

The reader unfolded the letter – there were three small, twice folded pages. The ink was black, the writing ever so delicate and precise. The first words caught his breath. A small curl appeared on his lips. The reader fell backwards onto his pillow and let out a big, deep breath.

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This article has been read 273 times
Member Comments
Member Date
angelos2 wark04/22/10
Oh, the splendor of young love!
I like the way you describe the letter as it resides in his pocket. It actually comes alive.
I had to read the third paragraph a few times to clarify who the generational neighbors were?
Good job.
Jackie Wilson04/24/10
Even without dialog, which I usually miss, this story was so engaging, but with a light touch. You did a beautiful job, building the suspense. I think your writing skills will move you on up to the next level soon, and I look forward to reading more of your work.
Jackie Wilson04/24/10
One other thing: I, too, had trouble with the "generational friends." Didn't quite get that.
Joanne Sher 04/28/10
This is an incredibly descriptive piece of writing. You absolutely brought this letter to life, and your MCs feelings. WOnderfully done!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/29/10
I can definitely feel the MC's emotions. Congratulations in placing in the top 15 of your level. Good job!