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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: The Picture In My Wallet
By paula pinto


Everyone always thought of me as Long brown hair, big green eyes, Nancy May. I was the tallest girl in the class since elementary school and the comments I most ften heard was, "You should become a model."
By the time I was thirteen I was slouching to hide my height. I stuck out from the rest of the crowd. Wearning high heels just made me appear taller. I was never thin, in fact I wore a size fourteen from high school through my twenties, and my size increased a bit when I hit thirty. Whenever I said, I'm getting fat." The responses of friends, "no but you're tall," wasn't the naswer I was looking for.
I idealized the lead actors in plays, head musicians, and public speakers. In my eyes they were the daring few that took the spotlight, unlike me who would never dare to step up to the front. As my height always confirmed, the back of the line was where I belonged and although my talents such as playing the piano. The compassion I displayed such as helping friends in need and the gift I was given to write poetry, as my professors proclaimed, were the things I never took credit for, not until my later years.
I was sitting in a chair out on the front lawn last April when my niece came running over to me. Sadness controlled her whole being and couldn't be hidden.
"What is wrong Nina," I said.
The eyes of a sixteen year old, kind hearted teen seemed angry at the world.
"I hate myself," she proclaimed.
Puzzled by her response. I couldn't understand.
"What is it?" What you hate?"
" I went to try on some dresses and none of them fit. All my other friends are thinner. I failed my biology exam and I just feel stupid."
"And what would it mean if you weren't thin?"
"It means I'm fat?"
"And what does fat mean? What does it say about you?"
"It says I'm different! Different then all the other girls that prance around in their size six pants. I stick out!But not in a good way!"
As I looked at Nina's bouncing red curls that swept down her back, her big brown eyes and thought of her smile that often captivates you. I wondered if she ever saw it. I thought of the loving affection she shows when usually she runs up my stairs to hug me and the feeling of 'importance' that she gives everyone she meets.
"So you're not a size six but I'm sure there are many size six girls out there that would take your size eleven in a second, if they could only be somewhat like you."
"Like me?"
"Yes like you! The thing is we often don't see the beauty that others see and that is the greatest injustice we serve ourselves."
"Why what do you liek about me?"
"I like how you just show up sometimes and offer me a hug when I need it. I like how you laugh at the things that I say, when no one else has even caught the joke. I like how you smile and it illuminates a room."
Nina smiled for me and reached out her arms to hug me.
"Now you go on and find something to wear to that event tonight, alomost anything is sure to make you look wonderful."
As she kissed me and walked away from the house, I pulled out my wallet from my purse. I took out an old picture, the one from when I graduated college. It was of me and two friends. I was standing in the middle, a head taller than the other two. My hair was about shoulders length, and my green eyes were the perfect match for the Emerald green cap and gown. It was the first time I ever looked at myself that way, I saw something beautiful and for sure it is a mystery. We spend our teenage years and twenties, either hidding out or trying to fix the things that are wrong with us, only to later discover what it was that everyone else saw.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Myrna Noyes04/13/07
You have a very good message here! Who we really are inside is often a mystery to us as teens and young adults!

A couple writing suggestions I'd like to make are for you to space a bit between sections in your piece for easier reading and to proofread your story carefully, so nothing distracts from what you have to say.

Keep writing and sharing your thoughts and ideas! :)
Connie Pilston Shoemaker04/13/07
Liked what this said, but not sure how it fits the genre. There is truth here all girls should know.
Jacquelyn Horne04/13/07
What a truthful account of how we look at ourselves, and how we should look at ourselves. Good job.