Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)
TITLE: The Palm Reader
By Stephanie Bullard
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At first I was nervous. Everything was so big and new and strange. Fear tickled at the back of my brain, but I tried to shove it down. I followed my friends, but at a distance. I had decided if I was going to do this, go into the Life Fair, I had to do it right. No riding on anyone’s coattails. No clinging to any apron strings. I would do it on my own. I would make new friends. I would live like everyone else in the world.
The sights, the sounds, the smells. They almost overwhelmed me. The first attraction I came across was Smoke and Mirrors. Still a little cautious, but slightly curious, I went in. Girls clustered in small groups around large, glittering mirrors, fully furnished with every assortment of makeup and hair accessories. On the opposite side of the room, guys shared their own view of themselves, swapping combs and arguing over gel and mousse. Shrugging, I made my way over and eased myself between a blond with too much lipstick and a brunette with not enough eye shadow. Once I had finished dressing up my face, I moved to the other side of the room. A guy who may have been cute if he wasn’t trying so hard, handed me a cigarette and lit it for me. I choked at first, but finally got the hang of it. I hung out for a long time, and when I left, I had made several wonderful new friends. Their names were…but never mind.
The next place I found was called Happy Town. I sauntered in this time, much more confident than I had been before. A long wooden counter claimed the attention of countless men and women who occupied three legged stools. I wedged myself into the one spare stool and eyed what the others were drinking. I pointed to one and wrapped my hand around the cool glass. The drink burned with liquid fire and I coughed hard at the sharp pain. But after the first few glasses…or more…it wath tashtin pwetty goold. By the time I stumbled my way out of that…um…place…I had a whole roomful of friends. I can’t remember their names right now.
Staggering about, I ran into the most gorgeous hunk of guy I had ever laid eyes on. Bleary eyes, yes, but even so I could tell he was great. He invited me to ride with him through the Tunnel of Lust. Leaning heavily against him, giggling at the sweet nothings he whispered in my ears, we sailed into the darkness of night together. On the other side of the tunnel, I suddenly found myself in a soiled, crying heap, watching as he walked away…my only real love. Maybe some day I’ll remember his name.
Feeling utterly used and useless I pushed to my feet and crept, bent double, through the laughing crowds. They all seemed so happy and carefree, no one noticing the tears that tacked down my cheeks.
I spotted a sign that read “Palm Reader.” I couldn’t begin to see where my life was heading, so I walked in. A young man sat there. Not an old wrinkled woman. There were no weird lights. No turban. No crystal ball. No incense. Only the young man, who smiled and gestured for me to sit down. I did so, offering my hand to him. But he only shook his head. Instead, he lifted his own to his eyes; began to scan.
“You’ve had a hard life,” he stated. I nodded.
“You’ve fallen into some bad crowds, gotten involved some disturbing areas, seen some horrible things.” The tears slipped down with my nod this time.
“You’re wondering if you can ever find love and forgiveness. If your life can ever have meaning.” I didn’t have to nod this time.
“My child,” he said. “Look up.” I lifted my eyes to see him extending his hand, offering me a glimpse of his palm. It was marred with scars and age-old blood that flowed to cover my indiscretions.
“You are forgiven,” he said. And in that I had found my first Real friend. His name is Jesus.
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