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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: India (02/12/09)

TITLE: Cross Roads
By Linda Germain


Emily Jones was so engrossed in her research at the university library she was unaware of the person who sat across the table. When the familiar neck ache reminded her it was time for a break, she looked up to meet the eyes of an exceptionally handsome young man. His dazzling white teeth were framed by a gentle smile--even the more beautiful because of the light mahogany hue of his unblemished skin. She had seen him before.

“Hello,” he ventured in a quiet voice, “I believe we were once in the same class.

“Oh yes… I remember, Bible as Literature. That was so interesting. Are you an English major?”

He was serene and precise in his speech. The depth of his dark brown eyes made her want to continue any conversation with him. He seemed more than willing.

“My major is in international studies with a minor in world religions. What about you?”

Emily was happy to share her scholastic ambitions.

“I’m working towards a degree in theology with an emphasis in foreign missions.”

He closed his book and raised his brows.

“Really? How interesting. I would like to hear more about that. Could I tempt you with a cup of cafeteria coffee?”

He leaned across the table. I am from India. My name is Chetan Vivek. You may call me Chet.”

She extended her hand, “And mine is Emily. You may call me, well… I guess that would be just plain Emily.”

His voice was as smooth as silk. She wanted him to keep speaking. He did not disappoint her.

“I’m happy to meet you, Emily, but never would plain be a word to describe you.”

She hoped he did not see the embarrassment she was certain radiated from her simple features. With cups of steaming coffee in hand they wandered back towards the library, talking all the way. He wanted to know about her interest in theology.

“May I ask if you are a Christian?”

“I am, Chet. In fact, my father is Pastor of a local church. Have you studied much about Christianity?”

“I have read a lot, but all the approaches to your religion become somewhat blurry to my mind. Perhaps I could visit a service conducted by your father?”

With very little encouragement, Chet became a fixture in her family. He was always invited to dinner after church on Sundays. As Emily’s dad and her new Indian friend exchanged information and ideas on the porch after meals, she was astounded at Chet’s grasp of almost anything North American.

She loved the stunning word pictures he painted of his homeland with its beauty and traditions and its rather diffuse embracing of a multitude of gods and goddesses--the main religion of India being Hinduism. He tried to explain the rigid caste system in which he had been raised, and how India’s ancient history dates back to 1700 BC. It was almost too much to process, but his smooth delivery, honey-like voice, and devastating good looks kept her rapt attention.

Chet had questions about the Holy Bible her father had given him. He admitted he wrestled with the concept of One True God, even after hearing the message-filled sermons of Pastor Jones.

The more she came to consider this noble and handsome man as a real friend, in spite of their deep philosophical and religious differences, the more she prayed for his conversion.

Chet had never been anything but a perfect gentleman in her presence but she could see a longing in his eyes that matched hers. When he asked to speak to her in private, his tone sounded serious.

“My dear Emily, you and your family have become so special to me.”

There were tears in his eyes. He cleared his throat and continued.

Thank you all for being honest and open about this Jesus, and how you believe He died for our sins. You know, for a Hindu-raised man, that is a most difficult belief. I want you to know, I will continue to investigate this wondrous thing.

The last time sweet Emily saw handsome Chet he waved goodbye to her from the steps of Indian Airlines. She watched him disappear into the night sky and prayed that a tiny seed had been planted in his heart that would grow to embrace the ultimate Truth.

He wondered if she would forget him. He prayed she wouldn’t. She wondered if he would study his Bible. She prayed he would.

Both prayers were answered.

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This article has been read 648 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 02/19/09
I liked this piece. There are lots of good character descriptions.

A couple of notes on India. Names are tough to choose. Vivek is a first name, not last. Also, Indian Airlines is a domestic carrier. The international counterpart is Air India.

The last line is perfect for the story.
Lynda Schultz 02/21/09
Yes, that last bit held out just enough hope. Nicely done.
Karlene Jacobsen02/23/09
This was a sweet story of love and hope. I too, loved the last line, leaving me hopeful for both of them.
Joanne Sher 02/23/09
Just beautiful storytelling. I was very engaged in this piece, and loved the characterization.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge02/24/09
Sweet and romantic! I think the second to last paragraph might be better split into two...his feelings...then her feelings. As it is I had to reread it to make sure I had gotten the message. Great last line.
Lori Othouse 02/25/09
Love the ending! It hints at what was to come, while allowing the reader to use his imagination. Great job!