Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Banquet - deadline 8-16-12 10 am NY time (08/09/12)
TITLE: Second Best
By Laura Manley
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Nadine pulled her pillow up around her head to drown out the arguing that was an every Friday night event. She could hardly wait until morning when she could go visit her friend across the street.
Saturday morning arrived to find her dad in the living room pouring himself a glass of beer. She crept past the living room and down the hall way into the kitchen. Nothing would ever change; that is until she graduated from high school. College was just around the corner. She had earmarked any money she earned for that purpose way back when.
As she entered the small kitchen, she saw her mother fixing breakfast. Pancakes and eggs were a Saturday delight for Nadine. Her mother never ate breakfast on Saturdays because of the stress she was under. Her dad wouldn’t dream of eating because he was always coddling his beer glass.
“Good morning, mother.”
“Good morning, dear. Did you sleep well?”
“Sure,” Nadine said, know that was what her mother wanted to hear.
“May I go over to Linda’s after breakfast?”
“Sure, honey. You go and have a good time with her.”
After Nadine’s scrumptious breakfast, she went into the hall where the rotary dial phone sat on a small table. “Hi Linda; want some company?” The girls chatted for a few minutes and Nadine went on to her bedroom where she dressed. She scurried out the back door so she could avoid her dad.
Linda came to the side kitchen door and let Nadine in.
“How’s it going?” she asked Nadine.
“Same old thing; my dad is already drinking.” Nadine shared everything with her best friend, Linda, so Linda knew all the things that went on in Nadine’s life. On weekends, Nadine practically lived at Linda’s house. It was her only chance of any semblance of a normal life.
The girls talked all afternoon. Somehow the subject of the Father/Daughter Banquet came up. Linda said her dad was taking her and had even given her money to go buy a new dress for it.
“Hey, you want to go shopping with me for my dress?” Linda asked.
“Sure,” Nadine answered a little less enthusiastic that her counterpart. “Where do you want to shop for it?”
“I thought we’d go to the mall, but not for a couple weeks since the Banquet isn’t until the 23rd of the month. That will give us plenty of time.”
The next two weeks came and went. Nadine was once again sitting in Linda’s bedroom almost hating her friend because she was going to the Father/Daughter Banquet. She still hadn’t asked her dad because it was on a Friday night. She knew from experience what Friday nights brought; she would keep her feelings to herself.
On the Wednesday before the Banquet, Nadine walked to school as usual. But there was no Linda that day. Linda had been sick for a couple days and finally stayed home. When school got out, Nadine immediately called Linda to see how she was feeling.
“Not good,” Linda said sounding like a seal.
The next evening, the telephone rang. Nadine’s mother answered it. Nadine was engrossed in an “I Love Lucy” episode when her mother turned the TV off.
“Hey, I was watching that!” Nadine said with indignation; a tone she didn’t normally use with her mother.
“Just a moment, dear. That was Linda’s mother on the phone. Linda is still very sick and won’t be able to go to the Father/Daughter Banquet with her dad tomorrow evening. Mrs. Clarkson has invited you to go with Mr. Clarkson. What do you think?”
There wasn’t any thinking about it for Nadine. “Wow, are you kidding me? Of course, I want to go.”
“Well, there’s one more thing, Nadine. Linda wants you to wear the dress you and she picked out when you went shopping.”
“Wow; what a friend! I’ve wanted to go to this Banquet for years. Never did I think I’d be going with my best friend’s dad. Can I call Mrs. Clarkson and thank her for the invitation?”
“Of course, her mother answered,” happy her daughter was being able to live one of her high school dreams.
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