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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: Red-faced Realization
By Chrissi Dunn


“‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus…….”

The piano plays the next three bars, but my voice refuses to cooperate. Sure, I open my dry, sticky mouth. But no sound comes out. Mrs. Richardson stops playing, then begins the introduction for the second time.

Hot sweat seems to ooze from every pore in my body, as I observe the expectant congregation below. Some dear old ladies, smile encouragingly, others stare at their shoes uncomfortably. The entire back pew literally shakes with stifled giggles, as Michael and Andy Evans keep nudging Aaron Newman, whose face seems to be bright red. The embarrassment must be spreading.

Finally my legs which seem glued to the stage are able to move. I start to run. I don’t stop until I’ve made it through the church doors, reaching Daddy’s jeep. Thankfully, the back door is open. I climb in, and slouch down, wishing I could disappear. Tears threaten to fall, but a tap at the window makes me jump.

“Aren’t you coming back in?” My Dad opens the door and places a hand on my shoulder. “It’s okay, you know.”

“I don’t even want to talk about it!” I cut him off before he can ‘comfort’ me further.

“Come on. We’ll slip in at the back. No-one will notice.”

Seeing that he won’t take no for an answer, and not wanting to make a further scene, I step down onto the car park gravel.

“I’m never going to sing a solo again!” I hiss before opening the door, hiding behind Daddy into the back row, where the Evans boys stare and snigger.

Not one word of the pastor’s sermon is going in this morning. As soon as the service ends, we get up quickly before anyone starts a conversation. Somehow Pastor James makes it to the door before us.

“Same piece next week?” he offers, as he shakes my hand. I look at him as though he has two heads. “I’m preaching on trusting Jesus, next week. The words would fit perfectly. I guess God wanted that song saved ‘til then.” he winks.

My face burns like a beacon, and I can’t look at him. I want to tell him that the song is going to be ‘saved’ for a long time - never to be erased from my memory no matter how hard I try! Instead I find myself saying “I’ll think about it.”

Silence permeates the journey home, and at the table as we demolish the Sunday roast dinner. I wash the dishes speechlessly, as Daddy dries them. I’m just about to stomp off to my room when there’s a knock at the door.

I roll my eyes as Dad opens the door. Old Mrs. Newman’s crackly voice greets him pleasantly.

“Here’s just a little something for you both.” She hands him a tin, no doubt filled with home baking. I cringe, as I notice she’s accompanied by her grandson - Aaron Newman! Now what’s he doing here?

“Put that in the kitchen, honey.” Dad hands me the tin, and I just look at them both. Aaron is still blushing. Well it can’t have been that bad!

I wonder if I have to stay and talk to them. I guess it would be polite to.

“Well I didn’t make it out this morning, and I was so disappointed.” Mrs. Newman comments. “Why, I missed your first performance, Olivia.”

Why didn’t I stay in my room?

“Aaron says you did a great job with the first line.”

I now glare at Aaron, whose face is becoming redder.

“Well,” Dad speaks up bravely, “if you’re feeling well enough next week, Mrs. Newman, you might just get another opportunity to hear it.”

I’m now fuming. “Dad - I’m not doing it again! There’s just no way!” I jump up from the settee, and start to make my way upstairs.

“Wait!” Aaron calls. “I’d like to hear you too. Everyone makes mistakes, Olivia, and no-one thinks anything worse of you. When you sing next week, just close your eyes. Don’t look at all those people in front of you. Look to Him. Think about who you’re singing those words to.”

It’s my turn to redden. I stare at Aaron in disbelief. Somehow this boy who I once thought of as a bumbling idiot seems different.

“Thanks.” I mumble, though continue up the stairs. Making my way into my room, I pick up the telephone at my bedside and punch in a number.

“Hello. Pastor James?”

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This article has been read 683 times
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Sara Harricharan 02/14/08
Heehee, a red face indeed. This read like an actual memory-slice of life, kinda. I'm glad that Olivia decided to give it another go again, it's amazing what stage fright can do-you know? Nice job and I liked how her perspective of Aaron changed. Nice job. ^_^
Joanne Sher 02/14/08
Nice characterization especially. Good fit for the topic. This read as very realistic. Good job.
Seema Bagai 02/15/08
Great piece. I loved the dialogue and descriptions.
Jacquelyn Horne02/15/08
Maybe not in this particular way, but I would imagine that we've all "been there, done that" at on time or another. Good example.
Laury Hubrich 02/16/08
Very good story and do I see a little hint of a childhood romance in the making?
william price02/18/08
This is what I have been missing. Very good illustration of the topic. Great characterization I could feel all of the emotions. Hope to read more from you. God bless.
LauraLee Shaw02/18/08
OH, boy, can I relate to this story. I can't tell you how many times I squeaked through the special music at church. It certainly made my skin thicker. YOur ending melted my heart. Not only the romance of it, but the message of WHO it is that we sing to in the first place. It's not about US--it's about HIM. Great job!
Lyn Churchyard02/19/08
Kit, you captured the MC's feelings perfectly. Oh yes, the back pew in church... all the goofballs sit there. Is that a world-wide phenomenon I wonder?
I'm glad she decided to give it another go. This really covered the topic perfectly. Well done!
Jan Ackerson 02/19/08
Very, very well-done, this really captures the feeling, and also a certain nostalgic atmosphere.
Patty Wysong02/19/08
I could feel her embarrassment (I still can't spell that word!! grrrr) and dread of going back in. I loved how he said she'd done a great job on the first line. *grin*
Lynda Schultz 02/19/08
Can't we all feel this kind of pain? We've all done something similar, I'm sure. Nice work.
Sally Hanan02/20/08
You described her agony well by showing it to us. The story was a little unrealistic--I don't know anyone who would have another go at singing after that! Regardless, you drew us in and made us feel bad with her.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/20/08
I could definitely relate to this! I really appreciate the advice to focus on who you're singing to. That always helps me.
Henry Clemmons02/21/08
Very well done. I also believe there is a poet in a you as well. Some very well crafted and delivered lines. Great heart and soul. I truely enjoyed this.
Peter Stone02/21/08
What a great ending - took me completely by surprise.