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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Clothes (11/02/12)

TITLE: Finding Peace
By Jenna Fowls


The crowd was stifling as Raquel and her new friend Tasha made their way through the mall on a Saturday afternoon. “The first thing I want to do,” announced Tasha, “is to find something cute for my niece.” Making their way past the different stores, they chatted and laughed which hindered Raquel from taking notice of their destination. This was why she stopped and gasped with great surprise and horror as she saw Tasha enter into the nearby children’s clothing store. Tasha turned and was shocked to find her new friend in such a condition. “Raquel? What’s wrong? What happened? Are you hurt?” The wide eyes tore themselves away from the store name and just barely glanced at her friend before the tears started streaming down the pale face. Raquel mumbled an apology and reassured Tasha of her physical soundness and asked if they could find a quiet place to sit down. A few units down was a bookstore and Tasha steered her friend into a back corner and into a cozy leather chair. She then dug out some tissues from her purse, handed them to the mysteriously distraught Raquel and sat in an opposite chair to await the explanation. A new trickle of tears raced to the floor as Raquel started her story. “When I was 16, I got my first job as a clerk working in that store,” she said. “One of my favorite things to do was to dress up the little girl mannequins in the cutest, prettiest, clothes and set them in the window for all to admire. I would pick out outfits that I thought would be perfect for a daughter of mine someday. Then, several years later, in college, I had just gotten an incredible internship opportunity which would really help to launch my career when I found myself pregnant. I was alone and scared and weighed my options-I chose myself and my career which I had been working so hard to obtain. I terminated the pregnancy and murdered my own dream of dressing up a beautiful child. I have since been afraid to go near that store and face my 16 year-old self whose heart would have been broken by my actions.” Her words dimmed to a whisper and she kept her eyes on the floor waiting for her own self-condemnation to be echoed back by her silent audience. A moment passed and Tasha’s gentle voice relieved the tension. “I can’t say that I know what you are feeling and I regret that you have been so tormented,” she said. “Of course there is never a way to go back to the past, but there are many ways to go forward and I think I have an idea that can help to soothe your soul.” She stood up and held out her hand. “It’s going to take a lot of courage, but just trust me.” Raquel moved her eyes from the inviting hand to the determined, caring face and with one last brush to wipe away her tears, she placed her hand in the other’s. Tasha led Raquel out of the bookstore and back to the children’s clothing store. “Alright,” she said, “I want us to go in there and pick out the cutest outfit you can find and we are going to buy it.” Raquel gave a nervous nod and took a deep breath as she crossed the once forbidden threshold. It only took a moment of looking around for her to see the dress she wanted. Ever so gently, she took the dress off of the rack and with encouraging words from Tasha she went to the register and paid for this precious item.
Half-an-hour later, Raquel found herself in a hospital parking lot. Tasha led the way inside and took them to a room a few floors up. There, lying on the bed was a little girl. “This is my niece, Erika,” said Tasha. Raquel needed no more prompting. She walked over to the little girl and introduced herself. “I brought a present for you,” and she reached into her shopping bag. The little girl’s eyes lit up and she gasped with joy as the light mass of swirls and sheen was placed before her. She reached out her little hands immediately for the dress and as Raquel gave it to her, tears began again to stream down her face-but this time was different. A smile came across her face as she recognized this relief. She had finally found peace.

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This article has been read 221 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/10/12
This is an intense and powerful piece. You did a great job with a very difficult subject. I really liked the beginning as it drew my attention in right away.

You may want to break your stories into short paragraphs with double spacing between them as to give the reader that all important white space. Also if you copy and paste your story onto the submission form instead of attaching it, you may be able to get rid of the weird symbols. (Don't worry though, the judges are familiar with this glitch and it won't count against you.) Try hitting the preview button before you hit submit because it will show you the way your story will look to the reader and give you a chance to fix things.

I think you did an outstanding job of writing on topic while still creating an interesting story. The message is great. I really like the not dwelling on the past but move forward part. That is something I need to be reminded of quite often. I also think you did a grand job with the ending.(Though I did think the niece was a newborn and that's why she was in the hospital then I realized she must be older to smile and reach out for the dress) This is one of my favorites this week. :) Keep writing you have some awesome storytelling talent in you.
Randy Foncree11/10/12
This was a little difficult to read...God bless and keep honing your writing abilities...
Myrna Noyes11/14/12
I really enjoyed your story, and it is one of my favorites in Beginners this week! Your dialogue was realistic and your story kept my interest all the way through. I loved the line: "There is never a way to go back to the past, but here are many ways to go forward." There is such truth in this statement! Good job! :)