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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: Deep Understanding
By Allison Egley


"Well Ms. Lindel, I believe we are almost done with the interview. Let me read your letters of recommendation and make sure there aren't any questions about those." Dr. Collins carefully read the letters Marie handed her. "It says here, Ms. Lindel, that you are 'very good at reading people,' What, exactly, does that mean?"

Marie cringed inside. This was exactly what she was hoping would not happen. She took a deep breath. "Well, Dr. Collins, some of my past supervisors and co-workers have noticed that I can tell what people are thinking and tell things about their lives from their surroundings and by how they carry themselves. I've found it really helps women open up, so they can speak to the counselors more easily. If I can tell them what they are feeling and tell them about their past, they don't have to be the first ones to bring it up."

"I see. Would you mind demonstrating this 'ability?'" Dr. Collins replied skeptically.

"Well, I... I wouldn't think you'd want me speaking with the women before I'm actually hired for this position...."

Dr. Collins chuckled. "I don't mean them. You need to prove your abilities first. Try them out on me."

"I'm... not sure if that would be appropriate for this interview, Dr. Collins."

"Oh, don't worry. I won't hold anything against you."

"Okay. I'll try." Marie studied her interviewer hard, worried about what she may discover about Dr. Collins. "I can see from the worry lines on your face that you have at least one child. Those lines can only come from parenthood. I can also sense from the way you've been playing with your hair that you feel insecure, despite your high position. You're afraid someone will come along and do better than you, and you'll loose your position.

"Looking at this picture here, I can tell that it's an older picture. I'm going to guess you have at least one teenage son who hates getting his picture taken and hates having his picture on display even more. You respect that, so you don't have a current family picture on your desk."

A look of shock washed over Dr. Collins' face. "Go on. What else can you learn about me?" There was an edge to her words, but also curiosity. Marie plunged ahead.

"I see a bouquet of flowers over there on the windowsill. Either you just had a fight with your husband and he wanted to make up, or you have a very strong relationship with him, and both of you enjoy surprising each other with little gifts for no reason, other than your love for each other. You like to travel, because I can see the souvenirs scattered throughout your office."

Marie took a deep breath. The next thing she read about Dr. Collins was going to be very hard to say. It could cost her the position, if she hadn't lost it already. "Finally, I can tell that you have been hurt by someone. Either someone you love here on earth or God. There isn't any joy in your eyes. There isn't that twinkle that being a mother, wife, and successful executive should bring. For all of your success to not reach your eyes means there is something you are trying to hold deep inside. Something you've only told those closest to you, and maybe not even them."

Marie paused, looking for a reaction. Seeing no change, she forged ahead. "You probably took this job at the crisis center because you thought one of the counselors would see your hurt. You thought someone here would help you, but you didn't want to come in as a patient. Maybe your hurt has nothing to do with the services of this institution, but you're still longing for someone to ask you about your pain. You've been waiting for someone to ask you if you're okay, and wanting...."

"I've... I've had enough of this hogwash, Ms. Marie Lindel," Dr. Collins replied curtly. "This interview is over."

Marie walked to her car, certain she had blown her chance to secure this job.

One week later, as Marie returned home from her women's Bible study, she noticed the light on her answering machine blinking. She pressed the button.

"Ms. Lindel? It's Dr. Collins from Still Waters Women's Center. I'd like to offer you a position here. I really think you could help these women. Could you start on Monday? You can start by helping me."

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This article has been read 1124 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ruth Neilson02/01/07
I loved this story. It is a different take on 'reading.' Very creative--keep up the good work!
Marilyn Schnepp 02/02/07
"Reading" people. What an interesting entry. I liked it. Very well written, and the last part about the Dr. being hurt and needing someone, touched me deeply. Very well done.
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/03/07
I agree, very creative take on the topic. Well done. I like it!
Jan Ackerson 02/03/07
Nicely done--kinda reminded me of the way Sherlock Holmes could read subtle cues from people, but with a modern twist.
Jacquelyn Horne02/05/07
Good job on "reading" people. Maybe if more of us would try to "read" people, we wouldn't be so judgmental.
Pat Guy 02/05/07
WOW! This is GREAT! What a creative take on the subject and you did a fantastic job with the POV and voice of the story. I really enjoyed this.
Jen Davis02/06/07
This was an interesting story and a very creative take on the topic. There really is a lot we can learn about a person when we just pay attention and listen. I liked that your character used this gift of hers to help other people. A really great message here.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/06/07
Marie certainly was courageous, and gifted, too. She must have been able to somewhat "read" her interviewer's likely response as well. Great writing and very creative!
Donna Powers 02/06/07
This is very good. It definitely kept my attention. What a novel idea! Great job and thanks for sharing it