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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)

TITLE: Double The Irony
By LauraLee Shaw


How ironic, I dare say. My cross necklace, which represented my newly found freedom in Christ, was tangled up in knots. I slammed the heirloom piece down on the bathroom counter and looked up at my blurry face in the mirror. Just like your life, Sandy. It’s your senior year. You’re supposed to be having the time of your life, but instead, your life’s a mess.

That was the day I decided I wouldn’t hide the truth any longer. The difficult part, though, would be convincing my friend Tamara to do the same. We'd both shared the same secret for two years, and that meant we’d shared each other’s pain as well. So it was double the knots. But I’d heard on the Christian radio that morning, “And the Truth shall set you free...” I was desperate to be free.

“No way, Sandy. I won’t tell anyone about it. And if you do, our friendship is done, ya hear?”

After an hour of heartfelt pleading, she refused to budge. I sighed with frustration. “How can you say that? After all we’ve been through? Tamara, I love you. I just can’t live this way anymore.”

Tamara had a comeback for everything. “Well, you think you’re bad-off now, just wait until you tell. You’re going to make everything worse.”

Tamara was right. Just five days later, I wanted to kill myself. I chose to tell the truth, and all that came back at me were accusations. Wishing I were a roly poly so that I could curl up even tighter, I sobbed on my bed. Alone. My foster parents didn’t believe me, and my best friend had abandoned me. Once again, I was an outcast. And the jerk gets off the hook. Of course he does, he coaches the winning volleyball team in the state. "So much for the truth setting me free."

Over the next several months, I survived while Tamara thrived. I quit the volleyball team. Tamara became captain. My grades went down. Hers went up. I was the school freak. She was the Homecoming queen candidate. She had dared to keep the secret, while I'd opted to tell the truth, and it was obvious that her dare had trumped the truth.

It was double the pain.

My loneliness led me back to the one place where, years before, I had felt accepted: my youth group. Completely broken, I felt I had nothing to lose. “I have a prayer request,” I squeaked. There I was, asking for something when I had ignored multiple attempts by different members of the group to befriend me in the past.

They, without hesitation, surrounded me. As warm hands touched my shoulders, my arms and my sides, one of my peers prayed, “Lord, give Sandy your strength. Keep her close to You. And Lord, please untangle the mess of this whole situation.” Near strangers shed tears with me, and none of us could have been more shocked with the moments following.

“Hey everyone. Everyone, could I ask you to listen to Jaimee for a minute? She has something to say,” our youth group leader announced.

Waves of “Sure,” “Absolutely,” “Of course,” rippled through the air before thick silence consumed the room.

Jaimee, who I had always considered a self-assured person, looked horribly unsure of her decision to speak. Several thick swallows later, her words tumbled out clumsily. “I—I—Ohh.…” She looked down at her sneakers, stole a deep breath and said, “I need to tell you all that I was also harassed by Coach Daniels. I just never had the courage to tell anyone. Until now…and I know there have been several others—at least.” A bright blue mascara trail streamed down her cheeks.

I couldn’t breathe. Then the thought occurred to me. That’s why she quit the team last year. It had nothing to do with her grades. Then, several others? Could it be true?

All of us gathered round Jaimee the same way everyone had surrounded me earlier. This time, I prayed. Right in front of her, I grabbed both of her clammy hands and prayed the best I knew how. “Oh God, thank you for Jaimee. Thank you, that even knowing how much it may cost her, she has dared to tell the truth. And Lord, may the truth bring peace—and—freedom. For both of us."

As I opened my eyes after the final Amen, I couldn’t help but notice the cross necklace Jaimee wore. It didn’t have a single knot. I dare say, how ironic.

Reference: John 8:32

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This article has been read 976 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 09/04/08
I love how you tied (literally) the cross into your story. Great message. Well done.
Joanne Sher 09/06/08
Wonderful storytelling with very realistic characterization. The interior monologue, especially, was exceptionally good. Very well written.
Beckie Stewart09/06/08
This is fantastic. Well done.
Betty Castleberry09/08/08
Good, tight writing that also addresses an important subject. Believable dialog, too. Very well done.
Kristen Hester09/08/08
I love the believable voice in this entry. I, too, love the image of the cross necklance in the beginning and end. Wonderful touch and very symbolic. This is wonderful for this topic and very, very powerful. Love it!
Chely Roach09/08/08
What an inspirational story...great dialogue. Well done!
Lauryn Abbott09/08/08
Wow, what a great story here. The reality of this type of situation is what makes it so believabe. The diaglog was right on. Great job!
Catrina Bradley 09/08/08
Very believable voice - you choked me up when the youth group gathered around her, and then again when they surrounded Jaimee. I love the imagery of the tangled cross, and the "free" cross. Just wonderful!
Pamela Kliewer09/08/08
What a wonderful piece. Telling the truth did free her, because it lead her back to the youth group, where she found acceptance. Were that all youth groups were like that... Kudos on a well written, believable piece.
Shirley McClay 09/08/08
Very moving! I liked the necklace being tangled and then free. Great story!
Jan Ackerson 09/08/08
Very, very well-written, and quite realistic, both the situation and the narrator's voice. This is an excellent story!
Sharlyn Guthrie09/08/08
I like this story. The contrast between the truth-teller and the secret-keeper was very realistic. I'm glad it ended on a positive, hopeful note.
Sheri Gordon09/08/08
The voice of this is very good--it sounds just like a teenager. And the topic is, unfortunately, very relevant.

The only part I question is the use of roly-poly. I know the picture you were trying to get across, but that term almost seems to give a lightness to a very serious piece. (I always smile when I read or hear "roly-poly.")

Powerful message...this would be great for youth groups. Nice job.
Beth LaBuff 09/08/08
This sad/tragic story is written so well. My heart goes out to your MC. Looking forward to the day when "all will be made right."
Marlene Austin09/08/08
So glad Sandy had a "youth group" to go to, so many youth don't. Glad she was made aware that she was not alone - such an important fear for teens. :)
Joy Faire Stewart09/09/08
I enjoyed the way the cross was woven through story. Also, excellent job of showing that results of doing what is right, isn't always instantaneous.
Tim Pickl09/09/08
I love the line "Thank you, that even knowing how much it may cost her, she has dared to tell the truth." I feel the truth setting all the youth free at the end. Doubly excellent!
Laura Anne Harrison09/11/08
WOW! This is wonderful! And excelently writtes!