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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Snap (09/04/08)

TITLE: At About Forty
By Kristen Hester


The expansion of my mid-section was gradual. I was able to deny the facts for a while, convincing myself my clothes were shrinking in the dryer. But when I could barely snap my favorite pair of jeans, I finally had to face reality.

I laid on my bed and wiggled like a snake having a seizure as I tugged and pulled on the faded denim. Once I had the pants past my hips, I sucked in and snapped them closed. My voice rose an octave and I was a tad dizzy, but they were up. Victory.

As I drove to meet my two best friends for lunch, I debated about whether or not to unsnap my pants in the car. I finally endured the pain and left them closed. To be honest, I was too afraid I wouldn’t be able to shut them again.

“What’s wrong with you?” my best friend, Carrie, asked as soon as she saw me. Evidently my discomfort was obvious.

I wasn’t ready to admit my problem, so I denied anything was amiss. She looked at me skeptically, but thankfully we were interrupted by the waiter.

“Can I take your order?”

“I want ice water and a side salad. Hold the dressing.” As soon as I spoke the words, I felt the surprised stares of Carrie and Leslie.

“Where is my friend and what have you done with her?” Leslie asked me.

“There’s no law that says I have to order a burger with french fries every time we come here, is there?” My mouth begin to water as I said the words. I was craving meat in the worst way.

“There may not be a law, but the day you don’t want the Cowboy Burger is the day I quit dying my hair.” Carrie flipped her red hair with a grin.

Leslie turned to Carrie. “I meant to compliment this week’s color. Very nice.”

“It’s in honor of Autumn.”

I was thankful Carrie’s newest hair color had distracted them from my menu choice. Leslie ordered Cajun Lime Tilapia, as usual. Then it was Carrie’s turn.

“Hmmmm. Let’s see.” She stared at the menu as she touched her finger to her lips. “I’d like the appetizer sampler, but I want to substitute the onion rings for the spinach and artichoke dip. And can I please have a side of just chips without the salsa? And I also need some lemons for my water.”

The young waiter wrote furiously, then quickly made his exit.

Carrie looked at me. Apparently, we hadn’t dropped the subject. “So, why the salad? Are you on a diet?”

“My jeans are a little tight,” I finally admitted. “I don’t know why. I’m not doing anything different.”

“That’s the problem,” said Leslie who read health magazines for fun and loved imparting her knowledge on the less educated. “When you reach a certain age, you will gain weight if you don’t increase your exercise or decrease your calorie intake.”

“What age? I’m only forty.”

“Well,” Leslie said as she stared into her drink and avoided eye contact, “at about forty.”

I frowned. “Oh.” That was not the news I wanted. Just then I heard the very depressing sound of my snap popping open. Ahhhh. The extra room in my pants felt really nice. Maybe I would order the Cowboy Burger after all.

The next day I ran an extra mile on the treadmill and started counting calories. However, the skipped meals made me nauseated and the additional exercise made me sleepy. Despite my best efforts, my jeans got tighter and tighter. Soon it was impossible to snap them no matter how much I sucked in.

When it was time for my annual gynecologists appointment, I complained to my doctor. “I’m gaining weight and it’s really frustrating. I think you need to prescribe me some diet pills. If you won’t prescribe diet pills, then I’ll need something to help with my depression.” I wasn’t totally serious about the pills, but I was trying to make conversation to distract me from the unpleasant examination.

Dr. Daniels pulled off his rubber gloves and looked at me. “I’m going to prescribe something, but it won’t be diet pills or anti-depressants. How do prenatal vitamins sound?”

I stared at Dr. Daniels in shock. After fifteen years of marriage, I was finally going to be a mother, a dream I’d given up long ago. Not being able to snap my jeans turned out to be very good news.

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This article has been read 959 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharlyn Guthrie09/11/08
Wow! What a surprise that would be. Your story is so much fun and your voice authentic. Nice take on the topic.
Leah Nichols 09/12/08
I wondered if it was that in the beginning, then believed the line about her age....loved the twist in the end. Have had several patients having their first at 39-42 - they're very excited and happy. Nice job!
Joanne Sher 09/13/08
I was also curious toward the beginning if that was the issue too - but you did a great job keeping me interested (and making me forget my original suspicions after a bit!).
Lynda Schultz 09/13/08
I suspected, but you made sure nothing was too obvious right to the end—very good.
Jan Ackerson 09/14/08
Well, I didn't suspect at all--you totally got me with the ending. Very, very well-written--I enjoyed every bit of it!
Yvonne Blake 09/14/08
Funny...'at about forty' I got my first eyeglasses, plus many other symptoms that told me that I wasn't a kids anymore!
Shelley Ledfors 09/14/08
Very nice entry! A charming story with great dialogue.
Beth LaBuff 09/15/08
A super enjoyable story to read, plus a great twist.
Celeste Ammirata09/16/08
I love the dialogue in this. Great writing and flow throughout. Isn't it something, the way God's timing can take us completely by surprise. :-)
Talk about a 'snap' moment. Well done!
Scott Sheets09/16/08
You got me on that one! The internal and external dialogue effectively conveyed the angst of the mc. Nice Job!
Valarie Sullivan09/16/08
Oh, oh! That was too funny! Being in the back half of forty, I can relate to the weight issue. But having a baby?? Oh, my!
Joy Faire Stewart09/16/08
Though I suspected, the story kept my interest to the end. Good job with topic.
LauraLee Shaw09/17/08
Now I know all about not being able to snap my pants, but thank goodness, it's not because I'm pregnant again. Imagine! Love this masterfully written piece.
Gerald Shuler 09/17/08
I have trouble snapping my pants, too. But I'm a man so your story holds no comfort for me. It's a great entry, though.
Karlene Jacobsen09/17/08
Forty huh? That explains a lot. (lol) Seriously, this is a great take on the topic. I didn't expect the surprise ending until about midway into it.
Laury Hubrich 09/17/08
I had a feeling that's where you were going with this! Fun story and I can certainly relate except it is NOT because of pregnancy that I have weight gain. Well, actually it is, all the weight I gained during 3 pregnancies. Ugh! Love this story!
Pamela Kliewer09/17/08
I was wondering if it was leading to her being pregnant, but then you threw in the bit about 'at about forty' - so then I was pleasantly surprised! Nice take on the topic... :)
Beckie Stewart09/17/08
Oh wow, that took a turn I didn't expect. Neat!
Kristi Peifer09/17/08
Loved it! Great dialogue. I enjoyed the descriptions in the first few paragraphs! I have a few years to go until 40, but after giving birth, I can certainly relate to the expanding mid-section!

One very minor thing that I would consider changing--the "rubber gloves" on the doctor. Don't most docs use latex gloves now? When I read rubber, I was thinking dishpan hands or mad scientist industrial-strength gloves. Not a major thing at all--I knew what you were getting at!

Nice job!
T. F. Chezum09/17/08
Great story, great dialogue, great ending. I liked this story very much.
Joshua Janoski09/17/08
It's funny because when I started reading this, I thought for sure it was about her being pregnant. Then you sidetracked me with the weight thing, and the ending surprised me after all. As always, a very well written entry. :)
Lyn Churchyard09/17/08
Never suspected the pregnancy, but did suspect the jeans would snap their poppers... or should that be pop their snappers??? Loved the dialogue between the friends. It was just as it should be. Great story, loved it!
Pam Carlson-Hetland09/18/08
Loved this. I laughed. I sympathized - done the mid-section expansion at 40 routine - but the surprise ending was great. Cleverly written. Great job. And congrats on your EC win.
LauraLee Shaw09/18/08
Congratulations on your Editor's Choice!!!! So happy for you! ;)
Catrina Bradley 09/19/08
Awesome! Congrats, Kristen. :) Cat
Chely Roach09/19/08
Super cute story...loved it! Congrats on your EC!
Betsy Markman09/24/08
Oh boy, can I relate...except I don't have the same excuse she has!
Come to think of it, I'm glad I don't have the same excuse...
Three is enough at 43!
A fun read, good descriptive language, very enjoyable.