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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)

TITLE: Love at First Wipe
By Jesus Puppy


Love at First Wipe

"I need love in my life," Ben stated in a flat tone as he took a seat at the counter of the local café. "A great love. Something special."

"Sorry Kid," Carol dropped the lunch menu before him and poured a cup full of hot coffee. "Special for the day is a BLT with Ham-n-Bean soup."

The normal gathering laughed at the on-going joke. Each day the young man came to lunch and jokingly told others of his sad lonely life, and how he thought a wife would complete that life. The others just laughed and joked about how sad it would be for the wife.

Ben was a good man, a hard worker for the city, doing anything from electrical lines to lawn care. He had been alone most of his adult life, his parents had died when he was only nineteen years old. Being born an only child, there was no other family. Distant cousins somewhere that he had never met, but no close family.

"Just for that Carol, I should marry you."

"Right, Kid," the waitress laughed, "a thirty-five-year old with a fifty-year old waitress.. That's not love, it’s having a servant. Although it could be fun." She smiled as the rest of the counter group laughed.

"Just the Ham and cheese, heavy on the mustard." Ben slid the menu back, taking a sip of his coffee and looked around at those he called his friends. "If I had a wife, I wouldn't be eating lunch here, that's for sure."

From Accountants to Teachers, even a Lawyer sat daily in the café at lunch time, the normal crowd wasting an afternoon hour, eating not just the food but the friendly jests of those gathered. A part of their life as much as any family could be, for some like Ben, the only family they had now.

He looked around the dining room as he sipped his coffee, and noticed the new-comer to the place. A young woman in her mid twenties had been coming for lunch every day that week. As she sat alone reading a Bible in the corner, she marked down notes in an old spiral notebook. She raised her eyes for a moment, as though sensing Ben's look. He nodded his head and raised his cup in a simple greeting, the smile it brought to her face was enough to melt the coldest heart.

He slowly turned back to the counter and glanced at the mirror on the wall. He could still see her, every now and then she would look up, smiling warmly, knowing he was watching her.

"Now that could be special," Ben said to himself, then laughed. "Too young for the likes of you, Ben. Keep your head out of the clouds."

As lunch arrived, he tried to focus on eating, even added a word to the conversation, but his eye could not stop glancing to the mirror. Just as he had built up enough courage to go speak to the young woman, he looked up once more and she was gone. Quickly, he turned to look around the room for one last sight of her, and looked into the deepest set of hazel brown eyes he had ever seen.

As she paid her check, Ben thought to say something, anything, but he was left speechless. Again their eyes met, she smiled warmly as she stood beside him, and the last of Ben's resolve melted away, replaced with fear and embarrassment. Slowly the word formed in his mind, then stumbled out his mouth.

"Uh.. Hello," Ben stammered awkwardly, not daring to take his eyes away for even a moment. She didn't say a word, just smiled and moved slow as a dream, as she reached over with a napkin and wiped a smeared drip of mustard from Ben's chin. She continued to smile as she received her change and turned for the door.

"Now there you go, Ben," Coral said with a soft laugh. "You could talk all you want, and she wouldn't even notice. She is deaf." The others gathered there at the counter joined in with laughter, making small comments as to the silence of the night the two might have together, but Ben could not hear a word of it.

As he looked out the window and watched an angel catch the city bus, Ben's mind knew only two things, something special had come into his life, and she might be back for lunch tomorrow..

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This article has been read 1356 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss05/08/06
A well-told tale. You captured Ben's predicament in the cafe very vividly and I certainly would like to know what would transpire 'tomorrow'.
Virginia Gorg05/08/06
Very well done and rather realistic. My husband is seven years younger than me, so age isn't always an issue. I like your descriptions - makes a picture rather than just words. Nice!
darlene hight05/08/06
Okay I am hooked! I love a love story and this is a doozy!
Jan Ackerson 05/08/06
Oh, this is adorable! Ben's a very lovable character; you've written him very well.
Debbie OConnor05/08/06
Sweet! I liked the lunch crowd, the banter between your main character and the waitress and the end that left us wondering what will happen next. Great job.
Debbie Sickler05/09/06
Great story Pup, I think this is one of your bests that I've read. Good job!
Rachel Rudd 05/09/06
I love it... you drew me right into the story. I, too, what to know what happens the next day!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/09/06
I loved this story. Your characters were so believable. Not only does it show love, but it leaves lots of room for HOPE.
Edy T Johnson 05/09/06
Oh, this is perfect! A thoroughly satisfying first chapter on a heavenly happy-ever-after story of which I want to read more. That surprising interjection of the girl being deaf added a hint of mystery that made the story even better. This goes in my "favorites!"
Garnet Miller 05/09/06
How sweet! Everyone should have a chance at love with a special person. Great story.
Linda Germain 05/09/06
Very sweet story, and well told.Would make a nice novel.:0)
Rita Garcia05/09/06
Always enjoy a love story, this one has all the right elements! Great entry!!
Maxx .05/10/06
OK, Pup ... I'm going to pick on you again this week. First, as always your storyline is fine, your characters are good and your pace is alright. But let me give you an example of what I mentioned last week. Here's your para 3:

"The normal gathering laughed at the on-going joke. Each day the young man came to lunch and jokingly told others of his sad lonely life, and how he thought a wife would complete that life. The others just laughed and joked about how sad it would be for the wife."

What is wrong here? You use a derivation of the word Joke 3 times. You use the word others twice. You use the word wife twice and you use the word life twice. To compound the problem, wife and life rhyme.

In short, roughly 20% of the words in that para are repeats. There's nothing gramatically wrong with that. But is it the strongest way to present your story? I'd say no.

I've said it before... you've got the skills, you've got the creativity, just do a little fine tuning and the EC will be your normal stomping ground.
Edy T Johnson 05/11/06
CONGRATULATIONS, Pup! I am so delighted for you---and very impressed with your story, both creatively and technically. You are a Golden Retriever, after all! God bless you, bless you, bless you!
Ruth Neilson05/11/06
Congrates Pup, I loved every aspect of the story. I can see this being filled out completely into maybe a longer story.
Anita Neuman05/11/06
Hurray, Pup! This is a delightful story!!! You set the scene so well with the playful banter - "Cheers" meets "Friends". Even though we only met 2 of the characters by name, it still felt like we were familiar with everyone. The mustard was the icing on the cake (although I don't recommend icing a cake with mustard).
Debbie Sickler05/11/06
That little blue ribbon looks good on ya Pup!!! Told you this was one of your best yet! Congratulations on the well deserved win. It'll be fun having you up in Advanced! :)
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/11/06
Congratulations! Good on you!
Allen Clupny05/13/06
I'm not much good at critiquing, but the romantic in me sure liked the way this word-picture was being stroked.

P.S. I hope you enjoy your storytelling as you experience it in your heart and mind. For me...it's half the fun of writing.
Brenda Craig07/08/06
So glad I came and read this. What a sweet love story. Absolutely tender hearted. Loved it!
Kaylee Blake 08/01/06
Hehe! I loved it! Great job!
Ivy Strader09/23/10
Aww, this is so cute! Now I want part two! Please Puperoni??