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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: Wishes and Marshmallow Puffs
By Sara Harricharan


I shouldn’t have watched the procession of feathers and Prada as they walked into the house next door.

I should have closed the bedroom window and started on my homework. My huge, boring, uninteresting, English assignment. Instead of resting my head on the windowsill and watching as twin sisters dash from the moving van to their new home.

They carried in everything I wish I had. Personal TV’s in pink or purple, matching blanket sets, beanbag chairs and moon chairs!

And then computers.

I counted ten.

Each member of that family had a desktop and a laptop.

I made up all sorts of silly excuses for such extravagance, but watched, spell-bound as the sisters decided they’d had enough of work and sat down on their moon chairs on the lawn, laptops in hand.

Wireless internet.

Oh how I envy them.

Within minutes their heads are bowed, eyes glued to the screen, lost in their own digital worlds.

They are oblivious to the workmen stacking boxes around them and the fancy lady shrieking for them to help.

She must be the mother. Everything she’s wearing sparkles. I wince as sunlight bounces off one of many shiny things around her neck, wrists and ears. She rushes to the sidewalk as a red Ferrari pulls up to the curb.

Her high-pitched voice makes my pooch, Max, whine and burrow under my pillow. She gushes over something I cannot see and greets the driver with promises of Chinese takeout.

For a moment, I imagine they are movie stars and then I wonder where the paparazzi is. There are no cameras anywhere in sight.

A skinny teen in punk leather joins the group, sliding out from the back of the car. He teases the twins, reluctantly helping the workmen lift a heavy couch. The mother scolds him and the father seems busy on his cellphone.

“Whatcha watchin’ Maddie?” Little sister Sue wriggles into place beside me. Her eyes grow wide at the soap opera unfolding outside.

“Sue!” Vanessa’s whine fades as she promptly inserts herself between the two of us. “Who are they?” She breathes with the reverence reserved for marshmallow puffs, our family’s signature desert.

“Aliens from another planet!” Alex exclaims from the doorway. His hair skims the doorjamb as he ducks inside. “Man, I’m home from college for three days and nothing can stay the same.” He flops down on the floor. “That’s a lot of stuff.” He whistles as the home sound system is carried in. “Sure are lucky.”

I stare at him.

My mind is twisting and turning in a feeble attempt to figure out why.

Does having stuff make you lucky?

I wish I had a pink moon chair, and a new computer. Laptop or desktop. I’m not picky. Wireless internet would be great too.

Alex suddenly leans forward and shuts the window. He wrinkles his nose. “Don’t have to listen to all of that yelling.” He explains, with a glance at Sue.

I watch her sucking her thumb.

Why can’t I be lucky? I’m a straight-A student, I passed my driver’s test, I have my own room and cellphone. I have two parents who have been happily married for almost thirty years, an older brother who doesn’t torture me to tears, younger sisters who think I’m the coolest and a pet dog named Max. I also got the job I prayed for at the Youth Retreat.

I rolled over and slid off the bed. “We’re plenty lucky, Al.” I shove my feet into fluffy pink slippers. “Anyone wanna play dominoes?”

“Are we really lucky?” Sue slides off the bed, taking my hand.

“We’re blessed.” I grab the tin of dominoes off my desk. “We’ve got each other and marshmallow puffs. I think that’s pretty cool.”

Copyright 2008

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This article has been read 1239 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 01/17/08
I really like your title and how it fit into your story! Very good staying on topic. Great job!
LauraLee Shaw01/17/08
Good descriptions here and a wonderful message on contentment.
Jan Ackerson 01/18/08
Great title, perfect application of the proverb, wonderful job with the narrator's voice.

A few tense switches here and there, but almost fitting with the casual narration here, so it's not a big deal.

Holly Westefeld01/22/08
What a wise big brother! I also liked your title.
Hanne Moon 01/22/08
I love your title, and it's a great story. You switched tenses in the story, but it didn't really interrupt the flow. I loved the picture you painted with this. Great read!
Joy Faire Stewart01/22/08
Excellent story telling and right on topic. I enjoyed the story ending with contentment.
Debbie Roome 01/22/08
The second paragraph is a little clumsy. Otherwise it is a good story and I like the way you summarised it at the end.
Catrina Bradley 01/22/08
Great illustration of the topic, and a cute story with an an awesome message.
Dee Yoder 01/23/08
I had to read this-the title is alluring! The story is lovely, too. I like the manner in which the MC makes her decision that having things is not the only way to be blessed. Love the voice of the MC.
Lisa Graham01/23/08
Very realistic dialogue and the message is perfectly on topic. Excellent writing!
Rita Garcia01/23/08
I love your title! The story was as delightful as your title promised! Great take on the topic!
Loren T. Lowery01/23/08
An inventory of our blessings, can anything bring us more down to earth and let us know how thankful we should be. The dialogue, thoughts expressed and interaction between the characters all seemed genuine and authentic. Nicely done !
Beckie Stewart01/23/08
I enjoyed your story and how the MC realized how much she really did have without the "stuff".
Pam Carlson-Hetland01/23/08
This is a great story. It fits the topic by showing appreciation for the truly good things vs. material things wished for. Great story-telling.
Sheri Gordon01/23/08
This is a very realistic example of the proverb. The dialogue is very believable. Great job with the topic.
Patty Wysong01/23/08
Good one!! Good way to contrast the two sides and showing, not just telling (Al lowering the window because of the yelling). Great job!
Sally Hanan01/24/08
I really liked this--the analogies, the short sentences, the wistfulness--it was all good.
Joanne Sher 01/26/08
I was definitely engaged in this - great descriptions. You put me right there. Very nice job, Sara.