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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: A Rose by Any Other Name
By Joan Campbell


It’s not easy growing up in the shadow of an attractive older sister. Four years my senior, Suzie was the perfect, outgoing blonde and a constant stream of boys on our doorstep attested to her popularity. There were three particularly resilient suitors who, despite Suzie’s feigned aloofness, continued to visit. Every Sunday night Jan, Piet and Adri would arrive, bearing a small gift for Suzie. This was usually a bunch of daffodils or tulips, which, considering that we lived in the middle of the Dutch flower district, didn’t impress Suzie in the slightest. The young men however didn’t seem to notice her lack of enthusiasm and would bustle into the house as if they were the main attraction of the week.

For me, a shy 16-year-old, that’s exactly what they were. I longed for Sunday nights when the whole family, including my two younger sisters, would listen to Jan telling jokes and Piet playing the latest Everly Brothers tune on the piano. However, over time, it was Adri who I most looked forward to seeing. He was tall and dark, with an easy smile. Initially the quietest of the three, he soon warmed up to his largely receptive audience of Barnhart girls. His passion was the past and he could weave the dusty strands from history textbooks into a rich tapestry of stories, which held us all enthralled.

I was falling in love.

I had few illusions that my growing romantic feelings towards Adri would ever be reciprocated. The jokes, piano playing and stories were only to melt Suzie’s heart, or so I thought. It was not until Suzie came home one day with the news that she had been invited to Adri’s 21st birthday party that I had an inkling of things to come.

“Adri said why don’t I bring along ‘Little-Adrie’,” she fumed to my mother, indignant at the thought of having her younger sister tagging along.

Yet my heart raced at this new development. ‘Little-Adrie’ was the term the three young men had coined for me, since nobody called me by my full name, Adriana. “Little” differentiated me from the object of my infatuation, for our two names were pronounced in exactly the same way.

Adri wanted me at his party!

So it was that I nervously arrived at the doorstep of Adri Zandvliet’s house, for his 21st birthday party, with strict instructions to stay as far away from Suzie as I could. I had to fight down the urge to bolt away before Adri could see me. Maybe it was the sight of him, welcoming people at the door. Maybe it was the crowd of sophisticated young adults milling around, looking as if they had every right to be there. Suddenly, despite all my attempts at looking older, I felt like a childish impostor.

I was only two people away from greeting Adri, when somebody tapped me on the shoulder with a loud: “And who is this lovely young lady?”

I sensed heads swivel to look at me, and as the blood rushed to my face, I wished that my whole body could do the opposite and sink into the ground.

“I, I, I’m…” I started, but that most basic stored memory, my name, would not surface.

I was acutely aware that Adri, too, was watching me and I remember thinking ‘pull yourself together’ as I gave it one more attempt.

“I’m Adrie Zandvliet,” I said.

As the laughter and whispers spread, I realised my mistake. Oops! I had just called myself by my host’s name.

“I mean Adrie Barnhart,” I corrected, but only Adri, an amused look on his face, was still listening.

Flustered and unable to make eye contact, I mumbled a ‘happy birthday’ as I reached him. It was then that my mind played its last cruel trick of the evening for I thought I heard a whispered: “Maybe one day….”

Over the next few years, Adri and his friends still regularly visited on Sunday evenings. However, much to Suzie’s chagrin, she was no longer the only object of their attention, for Adri’s flowers would now often end up in my hands.

My most embarrassing ‘faux pas’ eventually turned out to be an unwitting prophecy, for just after my own 21st birthday, I really did become Mrs. Adrie Zandvliet.

This true story is based on my mother and father’s courtship.
Title - partial quote: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

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This article has been read 864 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon01/21/10
I loved the oops moment. It was so tender and sweet. God works in such wonderful ways to bring about the ending he chooses. Thank you for sharing such a lovely story. Keep writing and God bless.
Louise de Beer01/21/10
Wonderfully told. I could'nt help but smile.
harvestgal Ndaguba01/21/10
I loved this story, it made me laugh so hard. I loved the ooops moment.
c clemons01/22/10
Beautifully told and beautifully written, nice tribute to your parents.
Nicole Campbell01/24/10
Well done.This is a very sweet story and I like your description of the "Oops" moment.Lovely!
Shilo Goodson01/25/10
I enjoyed this piece. It's funny and flows well.
Shirley McClay 01/25/10
Awww... I love this story! And the fact that it's based on a true story made it that much sweeter. Excellent writing.
Maria Kana Santos01/26/10
I enjoyed this story. Sweet and charming! It was written well. Thank you.

Jan Ackerson 01/26/10
Very sweet!

My only suggestion would be a different title; the Shakespeare quote is so well-known that your readers might expect a Romeo-and-Juliet type story rather than this delightful young romance.

I've started a thread in the message boards specifically for Beginner and Intermediate writers, and I'd love to have you stop by. http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67

I enjoyed this very much!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/27/10
What a beautiful love story. I had a hard time believing it was a true story, I thought wonderful romances such as theirs existed only in fairy tales. I enjoyed every word. I have goosebumps on my arms. Great job.
Adrie Zandbergen01/27/10
Finally my reaction before judging day!!! Thanks for telling my story so beautifully. It was one of the biggest oops moments of my life with a happy ending. Signed: 'The ADRIES' as we are commonly known since that time!!
Scarlett Farr01/28/10
loved it. Congrats on Placing!
Sharlyn Guthrie01/28/10
Congratulations on your EC! And welcome to Faithwriters!
Patricia Herchenroether01/28/10
This is a beautiful little romance, very well-written.

I have to admit, however, that I passed this by at first due to the title. Needs a catchy one so others don't miss this gem. Patty
Charla Diehl 01/29/10
This is charming, sweet and extra special since it is a true story of romance. Congrats on your level win and EC placement.