Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)
TITLE: Daisy in the Dark
By Jack Taylor
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I cringed as the door creaked. Those footsteps were coming in my direction. Again. Every Saturday it’s the same routine. Just the two of us. But I didn’t need that routine today.
I didn’t need Andy reminding me that us writers don’t live in the real world. That condescending tone really gets to me. “Shelby,” he’ll say as he puts his right foot up on the chair, “the sun’s been up for five hours and you’re still here with the curtains closed.”
My neck knots and shoulder knots pretzel together. Today, I know just what I’ll say. “This laptop doesn’t need any more light to work its magic.” He’ll yank open those chartreuse curtains with that meaty paw of his and stand staring out into the alleyway. I won’t be able to resist getting in my digs. “Andy, you’re no different. Only difference between us is that your dreams are stuck in your head and mine are down where people can enjoy them.”
He’ll boomerang the hatchet right back. “Girl, all you’re doing is throwing words out there to people who don’t even know you. This stuff isn’t real.”
Today, I need to get it clear. “Andy, when I write about babies it’s because I know babies. When I write about flowers it’s because I know flowers. When I write about God it’s because I know God. My stories make life come alive for people.”
Just as the footsteps prepare to cross the threshold into my office the National Anthem erupts with volcanic volume from the phone. “I’ll have to turn that down,” I chide myself. Those worn brown Foamtreads of Andy’s make a detour toward the kitchen. I’ve got another minute.
The notes from my small group catch my eye. I re-read Ella’s for the tenth time. Ella is the soul sister who first walked me into the light and then teased me into putting my soul down on paper. She also talked my daughter Jessie into giving Bible school a try before her internship. I hardly notice the knock at the door. But I know I have a minute.
I reach for the dregs of my instant coffee. The bottom looks like something left over from the Mississippi flood. A new idea pops into my brain. I set the cup back down on the corner of my walnut stained desk and start pounding the keys again.
I mutter under my breath as the story takes shape. “She was a tangled mangle of mesmerizing motion. A whirling dervish of passion and color. A sensation of steel and fabric woven into a tapestry of spinning grace and leaping desperation.”
“While the music pulsated and drove the crowd to their feet in frenzied support the miniature torpedo on ice pirouetted and spun to a mind numbing stop directly on the face-off circle. An unchoreographed roar exploded into bedlam. She remained frozen in place and let it shower down around her. Her final dance was over.”
“While the rosebuds arched like rainbows onto the arena surface Katy unfolded herself like a Monarch emerging and finally dared to breathe. A prayer of thanks escaped from her soul. Before she could take a single step a jolt to her side made her gasp for air.”
I almost seizure as two hands clamp down on my shoulders. “Hey mom, that is so good. I didn’t know you wrote. I totally get what you’re saying.”
I can hardly believe what I’m hearing from my daughter. “You do?”
“Mom, I didn’t go to med-school for nothing. You were really watching my heart while I did all that figure skating. You saw me as a champion. I am so blown away.”
Andy stumbled into the room and endured the cascade of superlatives that Jessie dumped all over me. She wrapped me up and pulled me to my feet for a bear hug. Passion pumped out her pores. “Mom, I brought you a daisy to brighten up your day. We’ve gotta get these curtains open cause daisies don’t grow too good in the dark.”
For some reason the sunshine reached right into my spirit. It warmed me to the core. I felt the kiss of God coming from my daughter’s lips.
I never noticed that kiss when Andy opened those curtains. I could have jumped into my story, laced on Katy’s skates, and done her encore for her. This Daisy had found sunshine. “Who said writers don’t know how to do life?”
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