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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: Through Cracked Glass
By Brian Russell
05/06/09


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The crack in my windshield grows a little bit each day. It’s like the roots of a young sapling, sprawling to find water. I didn’t think it’d get this bad. It started with a chip, which started from a pebble. I swear if it were quiet enough, I’d hear it creak as the glass pulled apart.

I hate coming out here, but it’s what I do. My world is filled with watching people go in and out of buildings. Stores, restaurants, houses. In and out.

Oh, there’s the happy couple now. I fling my sunglasses into the passenger seat and pull the camera to my eye. These’ll be good.

She looks happy wearing a red pair of shoes she didn’t have before walking into the store, and he looks excited. His sunglasses were on before he came outside, and his jeans have strategically placed holes. She’s got a headband to match the shoes, I imagine, and khaki capris.

In each picture, they’re a freeze frame of perfect happiness. In each picture, they’re a snapshot of how her marriage should be.

In and out of stores, there’s sure to be a restaurant stop soon. Maybe then I can get some grub. I’m lucky my job doesn’t normally require me to drive fast. This windshield’s going to shatter someday soon. It’s only a matter of time.

This lady, I’ll call her Helen for her privacy sake, she probably just got bored. Bored with her housekeeping life, bored with her husband’s workaholism, bored with everything. But this new guy, he buys her gifts, takes her on dates. To Chili’s? She must’ve been pretty bored.

The people I watch mimic their actions. Popping in and out of these relationships. In and out of love. It’s amazing how quickly people can become shallow, empty hulls of the fruit, I’m sure, they once were.

A knock startles me. It’s a knock on my passenger window. I push the button and roll the window down a few inches. “Can I help you?”

His eyes are watery. It’s the client. I didn’t recognize him. “Stop. Just stop.”

I unlock the door. “Get in.”

“I can’t take it anymore.” He slumps in the seat. “She doesn’t deserve this.”

“What do you mean? She’s cheating on you.”

He sniffles. “I know. I’ve gotten the pictures. But, I realize now that I wasn’t providing for her.”

This is an interesting turn. It’s never happened to me before. “What are you going to do? Confront her?”

“No.” He straightens up in his chair, breathes in deep through his nose. “I’m going to go home, and do some laundry.” He sighs. “I’m going to earn her back.”

I set my camera down and stare at the client. He’s looking right back at me. “So, why the change of heart?” What else am I supposed to say?

He smirks. “First Corinthians. I’d heard it a million times, but seeing my wife with another man… it… The message used to go in one ear and out the other. You know?”

“Yeah, I get that.” In and out, people do it all the time.

“You might want to check it out too. It’s amazing what small things can have such a big impact.” His nose twitches as he gets out of the car.

The sprawling crack in my windshield creaks, I can’t hear it, but I see the glass splinter a bit more. All this damage from a pebble. “Yeah, I get that too.”


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This article has been read 493 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Benjamin Graber05/07/09
Oh, wow... I didn't expect this, and it surprised me in a really good way... :-) Great thoughts here!
Sharon Kane05/08/09
Cleverly written. I liked the attention to detail which was perfect for a private detective. A good moral tale told in a light hearted way.
Myrna Noyes05/10/09
Excellent writing, with an important message told through both the main story about the couple and the "side story" of the crack in the windshield!! Very clever! :)
Janice Fitzpatrick05/12/09
Very well done! I lke the symbolism and detail here. Also the latter part is a suprise to the reader, or at least I didn't expect this. Good job!!
Dolores Stohler05/14/09
I liked the cracked windshield and the description in the 1st paragraph. Well told. I was wondering where this would lead.
Lollie Hofer 05/14/09
Congratulations on your third place recognition. Sensitive topic to tell in a story but you did a great job. Well done!
Chely Roach05/14/09
Oooo, this was good. Outstanding last line! Congrats on the EC!
Rhonda Schrock05/19/09
Very creative take on the topic - I really like it. Good thinking!