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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)

TITLE: Agnes and I
By Melanie Kerr


Agnes, St Agnes that is, and I have just two things in common. We are both called Agnes for one thing. And we are both thirteen years oldÖwell, I mean to say, I am thirteen and she was thirteen, many years ago.

I donít even know where my parents came up with the name Agnes. It hasnít featured in the top one hundred popular girlís names for ages. I suppose it could be worse. I could have been christened Moon Unit or Dweezil.

Where we have two things in common, we have a million things that are different.
She was beautiful and had admirers tripping over themselves with marriage proposals. Beauty isnít really a word that would apply to me. Not all ugly ducklings turn into swans. Some just stay ugly! I had hoped that hitting my teenage years might soften some of the angles in my face, but it hasnít happened. I shouldnít be surprised as my sister seems to have grabbed all the beautiful genes long before I was born. As for admirers, the last person that looked at me with admiration was Garry Helmsdale when we compared scars behind the bike shed at West Meedon Infant School.

St. Agnes was Italian, a girl from Rome. I have never been to Rome. The furthest I have been from where I live was Clacton-on-Sea with the Brownies.

She had made a promise to God never to stain her purity. I just canít help attracting stains. I envy those girls that turn up to parties fashionably late, perfectly manicured down to the last strand of hair. The lights swirl around in rainbow colours, the floor shakes to the beat of the song and bodies gyrate, but do they break out in a sweat? Absolutely not. I look like I have been stuck in a sauna, with sweat stains blossoming underneath my armpits!

Agnesí admirer was a boy called Procop, the Governor's son. He went slightly mental when she turned him down. He plied her with gifts and promises and the only answer she gave him was, "I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!"

Gifts and promises sound quite nice to me, although the story doesnít say exactly what Procop looked like. Maybe he was ugly. I think it would be most unfair to my potential offspring if I was to marry someone ugly. Two sets of ugly genes should be forbidden by law from procreating.

Once spurned, Procop turned Terminator. He accused her of being a Christian. That was a bad thing in those days. These days, people just snigger a little and think you are living in the dark ages if you say you are a Christian.

Procopís pa, the Governor, promised Agnes wonderful gifts if she would only deny God, but Agnes refused. He had her put in chains, but instead of looking miserable, she looked radiant. Tradition has it, he sent her to a place of sin. One cannot help but wonder exactly where that was. My sister once had a summer holiday job working in a crisp factory. The workers were allowed to nibble on the job. Anita, note that she got a nice name, nibbled. A whole summer of nibbling salt and vinegar crisps had some of the most undesirable effects, the worst of which, in my opinion, was to put her off crisps for life. Wherever Agnes was sent, probably not to a Golden Wonder crisp factory in Long Buckby, an angel protected her.

Eventually she was condemned to death. The watching crowd sobbed to see such a young and beautiful girl going to death. Agnes didnít shed a tear. She beamed like a bride on her wedding day. Then she prayed and bowed her head and they chopped it off with a sword.

Agnes set a really high standard when it comes to relationships. Promising yourself to the Lord of the Universe, even as a temporary measure until Mr Right shows up, is a hard thing to do.

Purity is such a struggle. TV programmes and magazines, specially the ones aimed at my age group, tantalise and titillate and lure you into a whole area that is frankly anything but pure. And then of course thereís Garry Helmsdale, grown up and looking so delicious!

Whereís my protecting angel in this place of sin?

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 07/23/09
This was a nice piece of history. I liked the contrasts between the two girls. Nice job.
Seema Bagai 07/23/09
Interesting story of two contrasting girls. I liked the parallels you drew in this piece.
Sharon Kane07/26/09
I too liked the parallels you drew. I enjoyed the way she was exploring life and all its possibilities. I felt it ended a bit abruptly. I wasn't sure how the modern Agnes WANTED the tale to continue. But perhaps she wasn't sure either?
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/29/09
Excellent in comparison and contrast with a strong voice. Well done.
Amy Michelle Wiley 07/29/09
I like the way you tie in a bit of history in a realistic way. I did find the ending to be not quite satisfying, but otherwise good job.
Sara Harricharan 07/29/09
Love the slivers of culture in this place, it was simply beautiful. I enjoyed the read-thanks for sharing.