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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Question (05/24/12)

TITLE: When Love Says Most
By Laura Manley


Lisa woke to a soft breeze rhythmically blowing her bedroom curtains as she stretched her limbs. The smell of sunshine encouraged her still-tired body to throw back the covers and make her way into the bathroom. She pushed the shower curtain to one side and adjusted the faucets to her liking.

As the water began cascading over Lisa’s gym-trimmed body, she focused on the day before her. She was officially on vacation and her mother was arriving in just three hours for a long-overdue visit. Lisa could hardly wait to spend some quality mother/daughter time.

With her long auburn hair dripping droplets of water on the bath mat as she stepped out of the shower, Lisa hurriedly wrapped a towel around her head. Next came her carefully orchestrated makeup routine; she wanted everything to be perfect. She mirrored her girly-girl traits after the wonderful woman she lovingly called mother.

Looking at her large-faced watch, Lisa hurriedly slid the basic black dress over her head. Matching black sling pumps and handbag completed her outfit. She flung her light-weight red sweater over her arm and grabbed her keys hanging from the bracket at the front door. Her hair glistened in the sunlight as she stepped onto the porch.

As Lisa’s car sputtered to life, she noticed the gas gauge. She wouldn’t go far on what it revealed. She made a mental note of what needed to be done before driving to the airport: Drop off dry cleaning, pick up flowers for mother, get gas; she could handle that.

As she weaved in and out of a fair amount of traffic, Lisa mentally began planning the week of her mother’s visit. She barely got to first base with that agenda when her cell phone rang. She clicked it onto speaker. The sweet voice of her mother was on the other end.

“Hello honey! I just boarded and have a moment to talk before we take off. Have you left the house yet?”

“Oh, my, yes,” Lisa said with a little giggle in her voice. “In fact, I’m on my way out to the airport now.”

“I have a surprise for you when I arrive, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. You know me and surprises.”

“Yes, I do, mother. You always could bring the kid out of me and you’ve done it again. Now I’m even more excited about seeing you.”

“Oops…gotta go, dear. I’ll see you in an hour or so.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

As she laid her cell phone on the passenger seat, Lisa wondered what her mother’s surprise could be. It had always been kind of a game between them during Lisa’s childhood, but now she was a grownup. What could the surprise be? She dismissed the thought and continued her drive to the airport in record time. She pulled into the “cell phone” area to wait for her mother’s call.

Her mother’s flight was on time, and the anticipated call came quickly. Lisa’s heart raced with anticipation. As she pulled up along the curb, she noticed a young man standing near the entrance to the airport with a sign covering his face which read: “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” How romantic, she thought; what a lucky girl. She couldn’t imagine her boyfriend of three years ever doing something like that.

Her mother stood statuesque with her luggage sitting next to her like a well-mannered dog. Lisa hopped out of the car and ran over and gave the still-beautiful fiftyish woman a hug-filled welcome. Anxious to get home, Lisa picked up one of her mother’s heavier bags and headed toward the back of her SUV. Her mother followed with the second bag.

Just as Lisa began lifting the heavier of the two suitcases, she heard, “Here, let me help you.” She turned to answer the voice. Lisa whipped herself around to extend a hand of thanks. “Oh, thank you…she began, but the words hung in the air like a misplaced cloud and all she could do was stare. Lisa became weak-kneed and speechless. She took turns glancing at the young man, then her mother.

Lisa somehow found her voice. “Steven, what are…?” She focused on her mother and smiled realizing it was her boyfriend, Steven, who had been holding the sign. He was her surprise! Steven anxiously swept Lisa up into his arms and asked, “Well?” Before she could speak, he knew the look on her face was all the answer he needed.

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This article has been read 324 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/31/12
Awwwwwwwww! I LOVED THIS. I am a romantic at heart, and a "girly-girl" too. So that made my heart smile. That was so beautiful. Great question! Congratulations, and God Bless~
Jody Day 05/31/12
Very well written and spot on the theme. I love your descriptions, although I'm not quite sure about "the smell of sunshine". All five senses were at play in this piece. Good job.

Debra Burchett06/02/12
I very much liked this! Your kept me interested clear to the end, and I feel that is the hardest thing for us new writers to achieve.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/02/12
This is such a sweet story. I figured the sign-holder was her boyfriend but before that I thought Mom's surprise would be a disaster like anew husband for Mom so that was a nice surprise.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/04/12
I enjoyed your sweet love story. I expect you'll move out of beginners territory very soon!
Dannie Hawley 06/05/12
Awe, how heartwarming. You kept my interest all the way through this article and i was trying to second-guess you with each line. I hoped it was the MC's boyfriend and not her mother's super-young boyfriend that was the surprise. One just never knows these days, right? Bet the MC was glad she had dressed nicely to pick her Mom up when she saw the question. Very nicely written. .
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/08/12
Congratulations for ranking 7th in level 1!