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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: Alternate End
By Leigh MacKelvey


Merrie threw her fork across the table and made it to the bedroom before she burst into sobs. Throughout dinner, her father had joked about her break-up with Nate, calling it “puppy love.” Her heart felt as though it had been forced through a paper shredder ... a thousand pieces of unreadable scraps. Parents believe teenagers don’t have feelings. She was truly in love with Nate and she knew she would never be okay again. Her stomach felt like she had eaten liver mixed with slimy okra. Will I throw up soon, or worse than that ... feel nauseated forever? How could Nate break up with me just before the Senior Prom? He asked Cara instead!He knows she’s a good friend. We’re both on the yearbook committee. I’ll just die the next time we have a meeting.

“Merrie, can I come in?” Dad knocked softly on her door. “Hey, can you forgive a knuckle-headed father who forgot how he felt at sixteen, in love with a girl who didn’t know he had eyes behind his horn-rimmed glasses? Pumpkin, I’m sorry I made things worse for you with my stupid jokes. I was trying to make you smile and didn’t think before I opened my big trap and let those silly remarks roll out. Can we talk a minute?”

Merrie couldn’t answer. All she could do was make gulping sounds. She opened the door and fell into her father’s arms. She was engulfed in the strong hold of a big ole bear, held so safely she knew no one would be able to harm her. It was nice to know her daddy could still hug her like that. “Oh, Daddy, it hurts so much. Will it ever stop hurting?”

“If I remember correctly, it did. But I’ll be honest and tell you it took awhile. I mooned over that girl for months and then something happened.

“I think I know what you’re going to tell me, Dad.”

“Oh, you do, do you? Yeah, I guess I’ve told about how I met Jesus a few times before.”

“Yeah, Dad, about a thousand. You felt like a geek at school, but one day a friend invited you to youth group and you got saved. ”

“Yes, but I never told you about the girl, right?”

“Uh, uh. You left that part out, Dad.”

“Well, I was in love. As I look back now, it wasn’t real honest to goodness love, but it sure felt like it. I should have known how you feel. After I entered a relationship with Christ, I found He would help me through anything. I trusted that He would make something good out of whatever happened to me, and whenever something ended, He would replace it with something better.”

“Even when Mom died?”

“I admit, that was a hard one. I know where she is, though, and someday I’ll be with her. God has helped me see places I’ve grown since she passed away. I was so scared about the first time you had your heart broken by a young man. Scared that I wouldn’t be able to handle it like your mother would have. That’s why I made the silly joke. But as soon as I said the words, God gave me the right words to say. I think I grew a bit tonight. How ‘bout we pray now for God to give you a way through this hard time?”

Your Choice: Which Ending Do You Prefer?

Ending A:

“Dad, I don’t have the faith you do.”

Jim, a boy Merrie knew from History class, called and invited her to the prom. She turned him down and cried all night. Never did she speak to Cara or Nate again.

Alternate End B:

Years later

“ .... and that’s when I prayed and asked God to make something good come out of my first break-up,” Merrie spoke tenderly to her daughter.

“Mom, thanks for understanding how I feel. Did something good happen? I don’t think I’ll ever find something good out of ending things with Daniel.”

“Later that week, Jim, from my history class called and asked me to the prom. I didn’t feel like going, but I wanted to trust God and show my faith. I went anyway.”

“ Jim? That’s Dad’s name.”

“One and the same. I don’t always know why God takes me through trials, but that time He surely gave me the perfect ending! ”

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Member Comments
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Joanne Sher 06/14/07
I love having the option to pick my ending - I KNOW teens would love that. Very realistic emotions here.
Catrina Bradley 06/14/07
I love this story! This is a great description: "Her heart felt as though it had been forced through a paper shredder". The big ole bear dad was awesome! I didn't see that coming but then my dad wouldn't have done that. He'd still be laughing in the dining room while I wailed in my room. My ending choice is A ... just kidding - it's B of course. I love the fast forward to her sharing her faith with her daughter like her dad did with her. This is a great description: "Her heart felt as though it had been forced through a paper shredder". And an important lesson to boot. Great writing and great job!! :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/15/07
A great teen story. I loved the dad. The second ending is my choice--just rounds it out so nicely!
joe hodson06/18/07
Great story! I definitely choose the second ending. I felt your story was so real and that I could picture everything, and I seemed to relate best to the dad - underestimating the weight of someone's feelings,telling a stupid joke and apologizing for it later. It was an easy read and kept my attention throughout. Great teen drama! Thank you!
Dee Yoder 06/18/07
A story any teen can identify with! I like the two choices at the end. Good writing.
Kristen Hester06/18/07
This was such fun with the two endings. If I read it right, it's not supposed to really be a "choose your own ending". It is supposed to show what happens when you don't give God a chance and have faith. Everyone wants the second ending. Right? I really liked it. Very well done. The dad is great.
Jan Ackerson 06/18/07
The alternate endings were a GREAT device! I'd love to see that expanded...with choices in other parts of the story.

Really well done, and a great, non-preachifying way to get your point across. Lots of great phrases here, and compelling characters.
Benjamin Graber06/18/07
Another great story, I loved the display of the father-daughter relationship here.
I choose ending #2... Still looking forward to what God's going to do... :-)
Loren T. Lowery06/20/07
One of my favorite lines from your story: "Her heart felt as though it had been forced through a paper shredder ... a thousand pieces of unreadable scraps."
This shows so much creative thought and imagination.

I liked the trust the daughter had for her dad and the honesty the dad showed towards his daughter...such a great relationship and something that needs to have more written about.

Of course option "B". That's where your characters and your wrting style all belong. Great job.
Sara Harricharan 06/20/07
I liked the dad. Just like mine. Honest, real and there-for-you. This was a good twist on handling the '1st breakup'. I liked the optional endings too. Of course, I'm going with option B. Option A didn't really sound all that realistic, though it could happen. This was fun. Good title, thanks for sharing this!
Edy T Johnson 06/21/07
I "came calling" to thank you for your welcome comment on my entry, and found your delightful story. It's just beautiful. My only "criticism," since ending B is so obviously the best choice, would be to beef-up ending A (if word count allows). (smile!) That way your teen reader would have to give more thought to the alternative of making wrong choices. But, I love your creative mind, and the happy ending. Double "Thank Yous" are in order.