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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)

TITLE: Drawn to Him
By Shirley McClay


“One teaspoon of Guanaco blood contains about 68 million red blood cells.” Sean sat next to me on my colorful handmade blanket. “It’s how they survive the low oxygen levels found at these high altitudes… that’s more than four times the amount we have.”

I just stared at the fire. It was the only day of rest on our six week wilderness trek through Peru and Bolivia. Three weeks into the trip and three weeks of being pursued by this handsome Irishman. I wasn’t interested in him but he wasn’t getting the message.

“It’s the mid-point of our Wilderness trek. Less than a month and we’ve: hiked in the Andes, explored reed islands of Lake Titicaca, slept under the stars of the Southern Hemisphere, walked through the cloud forest on pre-Columbian trails, passed through hidden valleys, and met the locals. What’re you planning for today?” His lilting accent fit his cheerful personality.

“It’s a rest day. I’m going to rest.” I hated that my voice was snippy. I moved away and tossed a stick on the fire.

“Some of us are going to the hot springs later. Want to come?” I winced at the optimistic hope in his voice.

“I’ll see.” I stood and returned to my tent. Lying on my stomach I opened my Bible. My journal was more than two-thirds filled from all my thoughts of the last three weeks. I came on this trip to get away from stuff, from myself, even from God. It didn’t accomplish what I planned. Instead I ran straight into His arms. And fell in love. My Bible had become my love letter from Him and I couldn’t get enough of it.

I woke and sat up. I’d dozed off with my face mashed into the pages of my Bible. I ran a brush through my hair and straightened my shirt. A glance at my watch showed that an hour had passed. A couple of people were sitting by the fire as I stepped out of my tent.

Sean loped toward me with two sandwiches in his hands and a couple of water bottles tucked under his arm. That Irishman was the most stubborn person I’d ever met. Mom would be appalled at how I’d treated the guy, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Now, more than ever, I didn’t want to get involved with anything that wouldn’t please my Heavenly Daddy. No way did He want me to be involved with someone who didn’t love Him, too. Sean was kind, intelligent and drop-dead gorgeous, but I had never seen him read a Bible or speak about God.

I took the sandwich and squared off for a firm and final confrontation. “Thanks, Sean. You’re a nice guy, but I need to tell you something. I’m not interested in a relationship with you.” A herd of alpacas, or maybe vicunas, grazed on a nearby hill. “I love my God. He doesn’t take second place in my life for anyone.” I shifted my eyes back to meet his baby blues. A breeze lifted one of his blond curls and dropped it across his forehead.

His grin crinkled the corner of his eyes. I sighed in frustration. He had the nerve to chuckle. “I have no desire to take His place. That’s why I can’t stay away from you. I see your love for Him and it draws me.”

I felt silly when I realized that my jaw had actually dropped open. Didn’t that only happen in sappy love stories?

“I wouldn’t be interested in you if you weren’t His.”

I had to know for sure. “You’re a Christian?

“Yes. You didn’t know?” His lifted eyebrows made wrinkles near his hairline.

“How would I know? I’ve never seen you with a Bible or heard you talk about God.” My hands gripped the sandwich and bottle and settled on my hips.

“Don’t get scrappy, you’re smashing your sandwich.” His tanned hands rested on his slender hips as he mocked my stance. “Think about it. I’m up long before you… and you never hang out with me. How would you know what I talk about?”

I felt the blood rush to my face. “I’ve been awful to you.” Tears blurred my vision.

“I hadn’t noticed.” A saucy wink made me smile. “I noticed some Andean Flamingos at the lake. Want to get some pictures?”

I looked down at my flattened sandwich. “I’ll grab my camera.” I knew I would need that second journal I brought.

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Laury Hubrich 02/12/09
What an awesome love story - two-in-one even:) Very good writing! Loved it!
Chely Roach02/13/09
What a sweet story. Makes me all mushy inside;)Loved it!
Lynda Schultz 02/13/09
Great story and some great lessons here about judging others, too.
Eliza Evans 02/14/09
Nice story.

I ADORE the opening line. Very clever and excellent, excellent "setting the scene" and showing character.

I like Sean. :) I sorta think I am in love with him, actually. :-D

"Sean loped toward me with two sandwiches" I just love that line! .. It is so in keeping with the way you've characterized him.

Personally though, I wouldn't have said he is handsome or drop dead grogeous. That's cliche. Let his inner gorgeous-ness speak for itself. :)

Question. Just a nit-picky. Why would she bring her bible on the trek if she was trying to get away from herself and God?
Instead, why not have her going on the trek because she wanted to reignite her love for God? That would line up better with her determination to put God first and foremost.

Just a thought. Just my opinion.

Thanks for sharing. :)
Swoon Swoon. ;)
Joanne Sher 02/16/09
Love the double love story. Nicely done!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/17/09
One of my favorites--You have a gifted pen.
Jan Ackerson 02/17/09
Love the double meaning in your title!
Mona Purvis02/18/09
Very natural and interesting. Easy to follow and identify with the characters. Flows well. I enjoyed!
Dee Yoder 02/18/09
A love story! I love love stories and especially so on this gloomy day. Very sweet character in that man...she'd be a silly gal to pass him up!
Eliza Evans 02/18/09
I hope you don't mind me commenting again but I feel sort of invested in this story! :P

Why Irishman? There is nothing that actually [i]shows[/i] him to be an Irishman, so it feels like a tag on ... and readers stumble at tag ons.(sometimes enough to stop reading)

You [b]tell[/b] us he's Irish, and you [b]tell[/b] us about his lilting accent but it doesn't come across because you don't [b]show[/b] it in the rest of the piece, in his speech, mannerisms, etc. I think we as writers have to be careful about throwing out specifics like that if we are not prepared to flesh them out. Just a thought. :)

Can I say again how much I love the way you set this up? Just *GREAT* writing. So enjoyable and memorable and fun. Thank you!
Eliza Evans 02/18/09
And here I thought I was being so clever with my italics and bolding. Groooan.
Bryan Ridenour02/18/09
Excellent writing. I'm sure that many could see this as the setting for a Hallmark channel love story!! Great Job!
Connie Dixon02/18/09
Oh yeah, sometimes we're so busy wavin' our Bibles around that we don't even recognize the love of God flowing through his children. Great story. Been there!
LauraLee Shaw02/19/09
Congratulations on your Editor's Choice! Creative and well-written.
Sharon Kane02/25/09
Beautifully written. Some powerful emotions going on, and your under-stating them makes them even more powerful. The setting is not mine the story could be. I've also loved an Irishman for the last 20 years and was drawn to him and closer to Jesus in one big rolled up seismic life change! Great writing and congratulations on a well-deserved EC.