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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Writer's Challenge (NOT the FaithWriters Challenge) (06/10/10)

TITLE: Replacing What I Can
By Elizabeth Cain


I donít recall everything that happened, but I vaguely remember the pillow hitting my face. I also remember retailing with a swing of my own pillow, and I vividly remember the sound of shattering glass, and the horrified look on my Aunt Rebeccaís face when she saw the blue flowered vase laying in many pieces on the floor. That old vase meant a lot to my aunt. It had once my Grandmotherís. Many memories lay shattered with those white and blue shards. Amazingly though, Aunt Rebecca didnít yell at Kendra or me. She just asked us to go upstairs and play. So we did, but we didnít feel like continuing our pillow war. We didnít feel like talking either. I always liked being at my cousinís house, but now I really hoped Mom would come pick me up soon. Being at the scene of the crime made the guilt so much worse.

A few minutes later Mom did finally come, and she soon learned about the incident. On the way home she scolded me for being so rambunctious around fragile objectsóand indoors nonetheless. I could only tell her that I was sorry. And I really was. But sorry couldnít replace the broken vase.

Fifteen minutes later we were home. My little sister, Abby, greeted us eagerly. I guess she missed me last night. I didnít feel much like talking, though. So my sister talked for both of us. She asked for details of what Kendra and I did last night. When I told her all there was to tell, Abby started talking about the childrenís writing contest Iíd entered in. She seemed convinced Iíd win, but Iím not too sure. Of course Iíd like to win, but Iíve won anything in my life. Least of all money. And first place got one hundred and fifty dollars! In my twelve year old mind that was a fortune. Iíd be able to buy that fancy painting kit Iíd been saving up for, and have plenty left over for other supplies. My skills with a paintbrush were none too shabby. In fact, many of my paintings were hanging on my room. And all my friends adored my handiwork, but my old paints were nearly gone. I needed a new set if I was going to paint more masterpieces.

The next morning, as I ate breakfast, Mom handed me a rather large envelope. It looked very professional, and I opened it very, very carefully. The printing company had replied about the short story Iíd entered. My jaw dropped; I could hardly believe what I was reading. Iíd placed third! My Mom was real happy for me, and my sister was so ecstatic youíd have thought sheíd won.

I strutted merrily through the craft store, twenty-five dollars richer. Soon I located the kit, and I proudly presented it to Mom. The kit cost thirty-five dollars, but the combination of my savings and the contest money totaled to almost fifty dollars. The kit was as good as mine. With the broadest smile Iíd ever had in my life, Mom and I headed for the checkout.

As we waited in line I noticed a rack that held a variety of unpainted vases. I remembered the patterns of the old vase, so perhaps I could decorate one of those plain vases with my new set of paints and give it to my Aunt to replace the one Iíd broken. I hurried over to the rack and found one that looked almost exactly like the other one. My heart sank as I looked at the price tag. The vase was Forty-eight dollars. There was no way Iíd be able to buy both. Maybe I could paint my aunt a picture instead. I glanced down at kit, and then up at the vase. Aunt Rebecca hadnít demanded I replace the broken vase, and I really wanted those paints. Running my hand over the kit, I imagined the feel of the brushes in my hand and the flow of the paint on paper. I turned back to Mom, my decision made.

My sister greeted Mom and I enthusiastically as we stepped inside. Her huge eyes locked on the large bag I was carrying, and I let her see its contents. A simple, white vase would soon be decorated with the bits of paints I had left. I canít replace all that was lost of my Grandmotherís vase, but I can replace at least part of it. And so I will.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 06/20/10
The vase will have more meaning, too, coming from the heart. (:
Mildred Sheldon06/23/10
I truly enjoyed this story. I think the Aunt would cherish that vase just a bit more because it came from a repenten heart of a child. Good job and God bless.