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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ROMANCE genre (04/19/07)

TITLE: Losing Jerry …


Gray clouds opened without mercy drenching the picnickers by the river. Men huddled around the BBQ desperately trying to keep the food dry while it cooked. Children squealed, splashing about in puddles. Ladies put the final touches to the pot-luck lunch table under the covered area. Jerry and his youth group continued to play baseball despite getting soaked. Kyle looked up from the salad she was preparing, smiling broadly as she watched Jerry make a home run. Everyone cheered regardless of what team they were on.

Kylie had met Jerry three years previously when he visited the church she and her parents attended. A few weeks later, she discovered that he worked at the local hospital where she was undergoing her nurse’s training. With similar interests, their friendship grew. Her parents had liked him from the time he’d arrived and often he would share a meal at their home.

Jerry had a heart for youth, developing a youth group over those early months. With the increase in church attendance, Kylie became involved with the music ministry to help out and eventually took over the leadership from her mother. They had worked as a team ever since. Kylie smiled remembering the frustration of teaching him a new song. She recalled a surprise birthday party her parents held for him. His widowed mother secretly flew out for the weekend. Jerry was Kylie’s best friend. She didn’t want to lose him.

In less than three months, Jerry, an already qualified eye surgeon, was going to attend a Bible seminary on the west coast before heading to China. Her heart ached as she thought of losing him. Lord, you have a plan for his life. Don’t let me hold him back.

Jerry waved as he approached the shelter. He had mud smeared down his left side and a single wet curl stuck to his forehead. The rain eased and the clouds evaporated as if on cue. Kylie laughed and wanted to embrace him, but it wasn’t protocol. Their behavior needed to be a witness to the vulnerable young people he instructed. Some were from broken homes. One girl had been abused by a jealous boyfriend.

Throwing Jerry a towel, Pastor Michael laughed. “Jerry, we’re going to miss you.”

Pastor Michael invited Jerry to give thanks for lunch. Kylie bowed her head. Silently she added her own prayer that she may release Jerry into His will and not her own.

A small group of friends from their Bible study class sat talking with Kylie and Jerry at the end of a picnic table. The day had become warm and some of the youth were sitting on the river bank dangling their feet. Jerry kept a tender brotherly watch over a couple in their mid teens who were chatting closely in the shade of a nearby tree. Parents had gathered at the playground with their children while Pastor Michael sat at another table talking to a newly married couple. It was a perfect day.

Pastor Michael joined them at the table, talked briefly to Jerry before sounding his famous whistle to bring his flock together. Kylie always thought of Pastor Michael as a shepherd. He was also like a father to her since her own parents died in a boating accident last summer. I’m losing Jerry too, Lord. Help me to be thankful for this family you have given me.

“Everyone,” the Pastor began. “I’m so glad the Lord allowed the sun to shine on us today. Not only because we would have had a soggy lunch, but we wouldn’t have had the privilege of enjoying each other’s company in such a relaxing way. This is our last picnic before the end of summer, which means it’s also the last church family picnic with Jerry. Although he’ll be with us until the end of fall, I think it’s a good time and place for Jerry to share some of his future plans.”

Jerry stood and stepped forward, a little to the right of Kylie. She smiled, but inwardly her heart ached as she thought of his final weeks with them. She hardly heard the words he spoke. It was like she was stepping into sad dream.

“I have one more thing to add,” she finally heard him say. She looked up to see him retrieve something from his pocket.

He knelt down on one knee. “Kylie, would you do me the honor of being my wife?”

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This article has been read 1063 times
Member Comments
Member Date
James Wood04/26/07
Awesome story. Could not love it more! Superb story-tell, and wonderful last line. That is how you hit a home run. Good job.
Stevie McHugh04/27/07
Terrific story. Love it!
Valora Otis04/27/07
I loved this piece! It was very fluid and as a reader I felt myself there with the others. Good build up. I would have liked more dialog esp. from Jerry. The ending was lovely! How romantic!
Dolores Stohler04/28/07
This was well written from beginning to end. I loved your descriptions of the church picnic. One problem though--I've always felt a proposal should be a private affair. This makes it more romantic. Otherwise, well done.
Julie Arduini04/29/07
This was an emotional read and what restraint you used in keeping Kylie prayerful that whole time. It would have been easy to make her a character who manipulated him to stay or be with her but this played out as God wanted. As a reader, I feel blessed you played it out as you did. Excellent!
Amy Michelle Wiley 04/30/07
Beautiful example of a Godly courtship. Good story. :-)
Rita Garcia04/30/07
Such depth, such detail, such love! Fantastic!
Barbara Hartsook04/30/07
Wonderful story! I kinda' expected the ending, though it still grabbed my emotions when it came. You hit that "homerun" someone before me mentioned with the build-up and Kylie's pursuit of God's Will. No hint of "poor me, whatever will I do?" from her. As I put myself in Kylie's place (via your POV) I was allowed to experience Jerry's gift to her in the last line with the same impact she did.

I don't know if I said this very well; it's my way of saying "Masterful story-telling!"
Joanne Sher 04/30/07
Wonderfully descriptive and lovely. I was so pleased at the ending - you had me rooting for them from the start!
Joanne Sher 04/30/07
Wonderfully descriptive and lovely. I was so pleased at the ending - you had me rooting for them from the start!
Betty Castleberry04/30/07
I love Jerry and Kylie. They seem to be a very sweet couple truly trying to set a good example for today's youth. This was well written.
Sara Harricharan 04/30/07
Wonderful characters! I could easily relate to them and loved the story being told through Kylie! The ending (of course!) was my favorite. Great writing! ^_^
Ed VanDeMark04/30/07
I liked your surprise ending. Good job. I would suggest when you proof read your stories try to eliminate the words "had" and "has" whenever possible. I have to proof read for the over use of the word "that". In fact I just eliminated two unnecessary "that's" from this message.
Pat Guy 04/30/07
I was on pins and needles hoping it would end this way! Wasn't sure because you never know ... ;)

Beautiful writing - really good work.
Loren T. Lowery04/30/07
You painted a wonderfully complete and colorful picture here. Past, present and future - all three coming into play to make this romance so fullfilling.
Great job!
Jess Godwin04/30/07
Loved it! At first, I wondered if Jerry was simply clueless, but to know that he not only had a clue, but a plan--wow!!

Very well done!
Jacquelyn Horne05/01/07
Excellent story. Brave man to propose in front of all that crowd. I really liked this.
Cheri Hardaway 05/01/07
I wanted it to end like this, and you made me wait until the very last second to see if it would! Great way to hold the reader's attention. Awesome writing and good description... Blessings, Cheri
Esther Gellert05/02/07
Oh, how beautiful. I saw the ending coming, but not 'how' it would happen.
As other's have commented, I agree that it makes it more beautiful that she left it to God's timing and didn't try to manipulate the situation.
Pam Carlson-Hetland05/02/07
What a beautiful story, presented well. The title would implying lots of things. Wonderful surprise ending. Loved it. Great job.
Laurie Glass 05/02/07
I so enjoyed reading this. What a wonderful story and I was all a flutter when I read the ending. :)
Edy T Johnson 05/02/07
"God gives His best to those who leave the choices to Him" certainly fits this love story. Well done and special!
Joanney Uthe05/02/07
Wonderful romance. I enjoyed the realistic struggle between what she wanted (to embrace him) and what she knew she needed to do to be a good example to the youth.
I hoped for this ending and was not disappointed.
william price05/02/07
Crissy, girl, you just keep getting better and better. Superb effort. God bless.
Val Clark05/03/07
A delightful story, Chrissy. Wonderful characters. Less backstory at the beginning and it would have been purrrfect. :-)
Laury Hubrich 09/09/07
AAAAWWW! Didn't see that coming!