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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: White (10/29/09)

TITLE: Making a choice
By diana kay


“Haven’t you got anything in white?” Even as I ask the question it seems absurd .

An old TV advertisement starts playing in my head. The main character is a difficult and demanding middle-aged lady, who telephones a department store about a dress,

“Have you got a size 14 in the blue?” she asks,

“And what about in the yellow?”

“And do you also have it in a size 16?”

The barrage of questions continues and, although we hear only one side of the conversation, it is clear that the shop assistant’s patience is wearing thin.

“So are you telling me that you have ALL the colours and
ALL the sizes in stock? You have not run out of ANY of them?”

There is pause as the actress listens to the reply and digests it.

Looking at the telephone, she delivers the punch line shouting,

“Well it is Not exactly POPULAR then is it?”

As the advert fades, my head is swimming and I feel a little faint. The whole situation is so surreal; in fact it feels like I am in a movie, that it is not the REAL me sitting on a smart Queen Anne style chair with a carved back and padded velveteen cushion.

I desperately want to change the script , for someone to shout “Cut” and for everything return to normal.

The receptionist is kind and patient, taking my husband and me through the formalities. She hands us a brochure saying,

“I will leave you in peace for a few minutes, take your time. I will be in the back office. Please do ring the bell should you need anything.”

She gestures towards a little silver bell sitting on the large mahogany desk. It is one of those old fashioned items that you see on the front desk in quaint little country hotels.

The room is quiet except for the ticking of the ornate clock on the mantelshelf. I leaf through the brochure obediently. There is nothing in it that seems right for my beautiful daughter. All the items are dark, heavy and old fashioned and she was young and vibrant. I can picture her now in her pink tee-shirt, black leggings and pink and black jazz shoes saying,

“Mum, those are old Grannies’ things. I wouldn’t be seen dead in something like that.”

No, there is nothing in this brochure that will suit her.

The receptionist returns with an order book in her hand. She seems to notice my indecision. She leans towards me and points, with a neatly manicured finger, to a photograph of a dark, highly polished model with ornately decorated brass handles.

“This is one of our most popular ones, but it also comes in a light oak veneer if you prefer.”

It is at this moment that I hear myself asking that impertinent question about whether they have anything in white.

White is the colour for weddings not funerals, but my little girl will never have the opportunity to walk down the aisle.

I want her funeral to be a fitting tribute for her, reflecting her true character, not a dark, sombre occasion.
I want light, colour and warmth: maybe it might help me to hold onto her for just a little longer.

The receptionist looks thoughtful for a moment. It seems clear that this funeral parlour caters mainly for traditional tastes, but she reaches down and opens the bottom drawer of the desk.

“I think I might have something here.” She shuffles through the papers. “Ah, yes, here we are.”

The brochure she now gives us is full of colourful designs: countryside scenes, flowers, golfing scenes and even a steam train. Well, I like them, but they don’t seem right for a teenager.

Then I turn the page and see a beautiful design. It is not white, but a wonderful light blue, like the colour of the sky. Spread across one corner is a rainbow, the colours gradually merging into one another. It seems so right, so fitting, all the colours of the rainbow. This truly reflects the character of my daughter even better than the pure white I have been imagining.

White is a beautiful symbol of purity, but a rainbow speaks of God’s promise to us.

I look at my husband and he nods.

“This one”, I say, “We would like this one.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 11/07/09
I can't imagine planning a child's funeral. This is very touching.