Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)
TITLE: The Fragrance of God
By Debora Dyess
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Nothing would erase the accident. One minute he and Jen were driving, talking mess about Mr. Henry’s lame science class. The next, there were flashing lights and people shouting … pain and chaos. His injuries were minor, but Jen …
The other driver was flying, witnesses told police. He’d come around the corner with no warning, blowing into the wrong lane. No time for him to react, they said. But it bugged him that he couldn’t remember.
A nurse entered the room. She smiled at him; a weak, watery smile that didn’t mean squat. It sure didn’t mean Jen would be okay. It didn’t mean anything at all. He didn’t return the smile, looking from her into the still, motionless face of his girl. Or at least, the girl he wanted as his.
There were so many things he’d have told her that night, if only he’d known it was maybe their last conversation—things about how he felt; things that amazed and surprised him. Like how her eyes lit up during a good discussion. Like how he’d never seen anyone with such passion about life. Like how he wanted to be with her more every day.
Not anything about Mr. Henry.
He sighed, leaning his head against the top bedrail, peeking between the verticals to watch her.
He’d dreamed of her waking up from the coma, yawning and stretching like she was coming out of a good night’s sleep. He imagined her looking up at him, smiling and saying, “What’s up, Wade?”
“I’ll tell you what’s up,” he said aloud, pretending to answer the unasked question. “I’m waiting on you. And I’m tired of it. Tired of waiting for you to wake up and tell me what makes you so darn special. What keeps that fire lit inside you? Why are you different?”
He thought of her surrounded by kids at school, laughing, chatting; making everyone feel important. He’d witnessed the scene a dozen times each week, and always marveled at her calm charisma. It was what attracted him to her in the first place. Heck, he thought, it was what attracted everyone to her.
He knew she would tell him that what made her special was Jesus, and that Wade was special to Him, too. Jesus was also the reason she wouldn’t date him—not really. Only trips to the store, an occasional stop for sodas, rides to games, stuff like that. She told him she only dated other Christians.
It wasn’t that he didn’t believe in Jesus, Wade thought; there was just no real evidence.
“No evidence?” Jen had arched her eyebrows when he told her that last week. “Evidence is all over, nit-wit. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not around!” She held her wrist to his nose and he breathed in the scent. “What’s that?”
“How do you know?”
“I smell it.”
Jen nodded. “Right. You don’t have to see something to know it’s there. You can’t see God, but you can see His works. There’s such masterful planning and detail that anyone with half a brain understands it can’t be by chance. And I know you have half a brain!”
He’d laughed at her joke. The conversation went unfinished.
That had been three days before the accident.
“I’ve been thinking about what you’ve told me, Jen,” Wade said. “About the God stuff. I started reading the book of John and everyday before I start reading I ask myself, ‘who is Jesus’, like you told me to. I’ve read some pretty interesting stuff so far. Some of it I get, but some of it I just don’t.” He sighed. “I sure wish you’d wake up and explain some of this to me.”
He thought he saw her eyebrow twitch and leaned closer.
“Last night I read about Jesus telling this guy about being born again, like what you told me.”
Jen’s mom walked in.
“She’s moving, Mrs. Coleburn! Her face twitched.”
A tired nod. “They say it might not mean anything.”
“But it might.” Wade sighed. He thought about Jen’s life and her faith. He looked at Jen’s mom. “Mrs. Coleburn,” he asked, “have you ever read John?”
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