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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)

TITLE: Bitter Fruit
By Garnet Miller
10/13/05


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His palms grew clammy as the ticking of the clock resounded in his ears like the bells of Notre Dame. The clock read 3 p.m. He strained to remember the events of an hour ago.

****
“Settle down, class. I’m passing back the assignments from Monday.” Ms. Simms traversed the maze of desks with a stack of papers. “Most of you did a great job.”

She stopped at Marvin’s desk. Instead of turning the paper down like the others, the scarlet letter “D” remained face up for all to see. “Most did well, but not all.” Her scowl changed into a smile as soon as she left Marvin’s desk.

A commotion across the room drew everyone’s attention. “It’s gone.” A dark-haired girl searched her belongings in a frenzied manner. “Someone stole my bracelet!”

Ms. Simms walked over to her. “Calm down, Sarah. What’s going on?”

“My bracelet is gone!” She pointed across the room. “Marvin took it; he was staring at it earlier.”

Marvin looked up from his paper to find all eyes were on him. Sarah smirked as Ms. Simms bounded across the room in his direction.

“Is this true, Marvin?” He met Ms. Simms’ question with a puzzled look. At that moment, the end of the day bell rang. The sixth grade students scurried to gather their books.

“You may all leave,” she stared at Marvin, “except for you.”

****

Now, they were alone in the classroom waiting for Principal Morgan. Marvin’s mouth tasted like he had swallowed a wad of cotton. He wanted to clear his throat but feared disturbing Ms. Simms.

“Ms. Simms,” his voice had been reduced to a whisper, “can I get a drink of water?”

“No.” She looked up. “I knew you’d be no different than him.”

“Who do-do you mean?” Marvin stammered.

“Your father was a thief and a liar when I knew him and you are no better. Hurting others was a game to him. It was only a matter of time before you got in trouble, too.”

She practically hissed as she spoke and Marvin felt his heart skip a beat. He hadn’t seen his father for two months since the police took him away for hitting Marvin’s mother.

“I didn’t steal Sarah’s bracelet, Ms. Simms. My mother taught me not to steal—it’s against God’s law.”

“Is that right? You can’t fool me. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Rotten stock produces more rotten stock.” She stood up.

Marvin’s eyes darted around the room searching for a route of escape. Seeing his unease, Ms. Simms sat on the corner of her desk with her arms crossed. “Don’t worry, Mr. Tucker; you’ll be leaving soon enough.”

The door opened and Mr. Morgan peeked inside the classroom. “Ms. Simms, can I see you in the hall for a second?” Reluctantly, she walked out of the room.

Reaching into his backpack, Marvin pulled out his Bible. He began carrying it with him when his father left. Hugging the book to his chest, he began to pray.

“God, please help me. My mom and I don’t have much money, but I wouldn’t steal. I’m just a kid who wants to learn. Help Ms. Simms, too. I think something’s wrong with her. Amen.”

He sat silently until the door opened again. Only Mr. Morgan returned. “We found the person who took the bracelet. One of your classmates saw the whole thing and came forward.”

“Mr. Morgan?” Marvin hesitated. “Do you know why Ms. Simms doesn’t like me?”

Mr. Morgan studied Marvin’s face before answering. “I, your father, and Ms. Simms were students here many years ago. She loved your father. He never really cared for her, but pretended to like her so she would do his homework. At the spring dance, she gave him a booklet of poems written for him. Your father showed it to his friends and made fun of her. She ran out, crying. She got hurt, Marvin, and her anger turned to bitterness and poisoned her life. I’m sorry she blamed you.”

“I asked God to help her.” Marvin added, “Mr. Morgan, I’m not like my father.”

He leaned forward and patted Marvin’s shoulder. “I know, Son. Always remember—each person reaps the fruit of his or her own actions. Your heart yields sincerity and goodness. You will be okay, Marvin.”


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This article has been read 1133 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Yolanda Baker10/17/05
THis story shows how easy it is to let bitterness creep inside.thanks for sharing your story!
Cassie Memmer10/18/05
I enjoyed your story. Keep up the good work!
Laurie Glass10/20/05
Great message in your story. Your entry is one that stood out to me this week. Keep up the good work.
Donnah Cole10/20/05
Very sweet and endearing story! Thoroughly enjoyed!
Pat Guy 10/20/05
Sadly these things still happen everyday in school. You captured his dilemma very well and made us feel every moment. Very good job.
Julianne Jones10/21/05
I'm so glad Marvin was 'rescued' in the end. I just wanted to take him home and love him. I liked the contrast between a father who is led by his sinful desires and a godly mother who has trained her son well. Good work.
terri tiffany10/21/05
This was well written. I like how you described how he felt and she acted by the right choice of words. I learned from your style! thank you!
Suzanne R10/21/05
Praise God for mothers like Marvin's.
Deborah Porter 10/24/05
Yay Garnet! Congratulations on your 2nd place in the Level 1 awards, and 3rd place in the Editors' Choice. Well done.

Time to move on up to Level 2.

Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Nina Phillips10/25/05
Garnet, that was a lovely, touching story. It's so true, I found myself thinking about adults that carry childhood memories that effect them all their lives. Thankful for the parent that carefully plants the right seeds in a child's life. This was a great story--well written. Congratulations on your win--well deserved. God bless, littlelight
Karen Treharne10/27/05
Wow. This is a great piece, Garnet. A real contender and deserving of your win. Congratulations. You are a blessing. In Christ's name, Karen
Dixie Phillips 10/28/05
Beautiful story! I can see why this was a contender indeed! Loved the depth of the message.