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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: Detours
By Marita Thelander


“You’re such a hypocrite!” Sarah turned and screamed at her dad.

She slammed her door and threw herself onto her bed. She could hear her dad spewing obscenities to an empty room. Bill’s family learned to steer clear of him when this happened, lest they get the brunt of his anger. Bill’s co-workers were also familiar with his language skills, but hey, who among them were any better, right? He fit right in.

In the stillness of the night, Sarah held her breath and listened carefully. She could hear her Dad’s snoring through the walls as she slipped out of bed and pulled on a sweatshirt. With the stealth of a cat burglar, she slid her window open, popped off the screen and lowered herself to the ground.

“Saturday night just got better.” She giggled as she climbed into the black Camero waiting half a block away. Jason pulled her in close for a quick nibble on the neck and was pleased with the squeal in response.

“We’ll have us some fun tonight,” Jason flashed his perfect white teeth in a big school boy grin.

It wasn’t long before they found themselves lounged around a campfire in the middle of the woods with a dozen or so friends. Sipping beers and stupid antics seemed to be the direction this party was headed.

Jason and Sarah excused themselves from the party and said they were headed home before anyone could hand Jason another beer. “Better safe than sorry,” Jason winked at his friends.

Somewhere around three A.M. as Sarah slid back into bed, her mind wandered off to the 'detour' they had taken on the way home. She knew Jason loved her. He told her many times, but the fear of lying to him started to sink in. He had pressured her frequently to go on the pill, but she just didn’t know how to do it without her parent’s knowledge. That was three weekend ‘detours’ ago.

“Sarah, get your…..” Her dad was already at it.

“I’m up. I’m up.” Her head pounded out the rhythm of her Dad’s fist on her door. Attempting to hide the visual signs of her hangover, she ducked into the bathroom. The fact that she had only slept four hours, didn’t help the headache one iota.

“We have thirty minutes before we leave for church.” Bill shouted to the entire household as if he really needed to yell for his wife and daughter to hear him.

Hmph. Church…..whatever. Sarah muttered as she waited for the shower to warm up.

Fifteen minutes later her Dad pounded on the bathroom door and flung a storm of cuss words at Sarah. “Hurry up. We can’t be late.”

Settled into the family pew, Sarah assumed her position: slumped down, feet on the hymnal rack in front of her, and eyes avoiding contact with any of the sisterly saints that attempted to greet her. Her mother glared at her from her spot at the organ.

They really have no clue, do they, Sarah thought to herself. These people don’t see it.

The organ droned on and on and then suddenly stopped. Men in suits filed in and took their seats on the platform.

Here we go. Sarah reached for her mp3 ear buds and stuck one in her right ear and hid the cord with her long hair.

“Shall we stand as we prepare to go before our Lord and Savior this glorious morning?” Sarah could hear the big booming voice over her music. As she stood, she reached in her pocket and hit the volume button to turn it up some more.

“Our gracious heavenly Father…” The booming voice prayed.

“You may be seated” Pastor Jennings instructed as he approached the pulpit. “And thank you, Brother Bill, for such and elegant entrance into our worship service today.”

Sarah rolled her eyes in disgust as she cranked her mp3 volume up as high as it could go. Her dad slid into the seat next to her, smiling like nothing was wrong. Immediately, Sarah felt sick and lunged out of the pew towards the exit.

Unsure if she was finished, Sarah’s hand trembled as she wiped her mouth with her sleeve... Maybe I’m more hung over than I thought. Or maybe it was the sight of that hypocrite Deacon father of mine behind a pulpit. She gagged on the remains of the taste in her mouth. Or maybe it was the three weekend ‘detours’.

Now she really felt sick.

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This article has been read 698 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 02/28/08
Wow! I wonder how many "Christian" houses you just described? You told Sarah's tale very well and I felt for her. I so hope she makes the right choice and keeps the baby. Do you have a second chapter in the works? Hope so! Great writing!
Jacquelyn Horne02/28/08
Sad, sad story! I see a touch of the topic here. I would have liked to have seen a little hope in the end, but life doesn't always bring hope. Keep plugging.
Joanne Sher 03/01/08
So realistic and biting and convicting. Excellent descriptions and characterization. I hope you expand this.
Jan Ackerson 03/01/08
Yikes, so sad! I certainly hope that there are not many homes like this--you definitely put your readers right in the middle of the action, and it was a squirmy place to be! Great writing.
Seema Bagai 03/02/08
Good descriptions in this piece. Keep writing.
Catrina Bradley 03/03/08
Very well written - great descriptions and emotions. Perfect for this topic. We learn more from the actions we see from our parents' more than from their words, huh?
Mandy White03/03/08
Sad, but true for a lot of homes. Good job Marita!
Chely Roach03/03/08
I loved it Marita! In my experience as a pregnancy counselor, it was a sad reality of how many girls were from "solid" but hypocritical Christian homes...good job!
Andrea Hargrove03/03/08
It's amazing that the church accepted Bill as a deacon.
Debbie Wistrom03/03/08
So right on topic with a side twist. So sad for Sarah. Great inner dialog from her.
Keep up the good words.
Lynda Schultz 03/03/08
Yes, I'd like to see this one "resolved" like a piece of good music. Good work.
Joshua Janoski03/05/08
Whoa. Very intense. The scary part of that story is that it's real. Every church has members just as you described, and the children of those parents end up following the example set for them. No wonder the church seems to be hurting as much as the world nowadays. This is a wake up call for all of us.

Marita has done it again! Awesome job! :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/05/08
You described so vividly a sad story of hypocrisy. The reader can easily guess the very unhappy future for your MC.
LauraLee Shaw03/05/08
Wow, what a power-packed piece. I can tell you whole-heartedly that this is the way it looks in many "religious" homes. I can't go so far as to say 'Christian,' but people trying to look Christian for sure. Your piece gives us here at Faithwriters just that much more fuel for our goal of reaching people who are outside the faith, inside the faith and wreaking havoc on the faith. God uses us everywhere! :)
Julie Arduini03/05/08
What an authentic piece on the consequences of religious (vs relational) and detoured homes. Very well done, the dialogue was very good.
Loren T. Lowery03/05/08
If people only understood, truly understood the importance of family our world would be so much better. With role models like hers, no wonder integrity and honesty are unsubstantial. That being said, I'm holding out hope for her...she seems to have a good heart and there's gotta be someone just around the corner, or maybe the next pew.
Sara Harricharan 03/05/08
Wow. Hypocrite doesn't even cover that. I liked the MC-loved her name-lol, but the story was so sad. It was very good with the you-are-there atmosphere and I ached watching the story play out and knowing the end would only bring heartbreak. You crafted this very well. Nice job. ^_^
Lyn Churchyard03/05/08
Great story Marita. Wouldn't you just love to invite the Pastor to the house and not tell the father he was there. Good descriptions and emotions. Well done!
Sherry Castelluccio 03/05/08
Girl, you sure can write. That was awesome in a real, sad way. Very impressive.
Catrina Bradley 03/06/08
Congratulations on your Highly Commended, Marita!! :)
Sara Harricharan 03/06/08
***Congrats on your highly commended! Ya did good! ***
Sheri Gordon03/06/08
Congratulations on your highly commended. Your MC's voice was perfect, and you were right on the topic.
LauraLee Shaw03/06/08
Congratulations on HIghly Commended!