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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)

TITLE: Expectations
By Marita Thelander
09/02/09


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I used to love autumn; the cool crisp nights and the warm midday sun.

My feet ached as I stood in my Sunday best. Preacher said amen and I realized I hadn’t closed my eyes. Adam reached for my hand. Such public displays of affection were considered improper, but I suppose now it is appropriate.

I struggled to focus on Preacher’s words. My mind continued to wander backward in time. Perhaps I wanted to avoid the future, but how silly is that? Regardless of how ridiculous it seemed, I couldn’t keep my mind on the present.

My mind raced back to that day Adam snuck up on me while I picked berries for Mama in the warmth of the autumn sun. I plum near lost my entire pail…

***
“Marry me,” Adam begged; his arms wrapped around my waist.

“I am marrying you, Adam,” I scolded and proceeded to pick up the spilled berries. “Next spring.”

The heavy dew had already soaked the hem of my skirts so I gave in and knelt in the wet meadow grass. Adam squatted and attempted to assist me.

“Don’t manhandle them, please.” I couldn’t hide the irritation in my voice. “Mama wants whole berries for pies, not smashed ones.”

“I can’t help it; after all I am a man.” His breath warmed my skin when he leaned in for a peck on my cheek. “A man that desires to be married before the first snow. I can’t bear the thought of a long cold winter alone.” He winked and my stomach fell to my toes.

The only son and youngest child of the Larson family, Adam had been accustomed to getting whatever he wanted. I, on the other hand, am the middle of my mother’s brood; two older sisters, two younger brothers.

Now that both Eunice and Elizabeth were married, that left me home with Elijah and Ezekiel. The boys were loud and mischievous. The thought of being trapped all winter with them caused me to answer Adam a bit too impulsively.

“All right then. Where will we live?” It really hadn’t been intended to be an agreement, just a statement of fact. “It’s the middle of harvest season and the snow will start in a couple months.”

Adam whooped and hollered and took off on a dead run.

“Where will we live?” I shouted. I truly did want to know.

Everyone expected us to marry. Best friends, our mamas were with child at the same time. I think they had hoped for this event from the moment our fathers picked our names. Papa chose mine to fit the Bible name pattern he had started. As long as I could remember our names were always said simultaneously. Adam and Eve…we were destined to be together.

Papa’s land joined the Larson spread at Buckner Creek. Both fathers agreed to parcel off five acres along the borders for me and Adam when we began to court.

The news of our changed wedding plans spread around the township faster than the current on the upper fork could spill over Buckner falls into the lower fork. I could hardly believe the excitement. The men-folk in the valley set aside two days from their busy harvest for a cabin-raising. The women were a-buzz in their efforts to supply the homey touches.

Lickety-split, just like that, the little cabin had everything a young bride could ever want. The cupboards were filled with preserves from gardens all around the county. There were curtains for all the windows and a wedding ring pattern quilt for the four poster bed.

I placed my hand on the bedpost and a shiver ran down my spine. The first fall frost had caused the grass to glisten like diamonds, but somehow I don’t think the walk to the cabin in the nippy air caused me to shudder.

***

Oh dear, what did Preacher say?

Adam’s eager eyes searched my face.

Preacher stared at me. Had I missed something?

Papa cleared his throat. Confused, I turned and looked across the congregation. They waited with bated breath. I did miss something. My mind had wandered and I failed to hear what Preacher said.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered.

“Do you, Eve, take Adam to be your lawful wedded husband…?”

My eyes drifted towards the back doors and I simply said, “No.”

I walked out of the church into the sunshine and inhaled deeply. No more expectations.

I used to love autumn; the cool crisp nights and the warm midday sun…


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This article has been read 675 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 09/03/09
Your end was truly a surprise even though you left us hints about Adam and Eve's relationship. Such a good story. The twist at the end really sealed it. Good job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/03/09
Your title was an omen for the ending, even though I wasn't expecting it. Your story made it clear though that these were everyone else's expectations for Eve. You showed there was no joy for her in the planning. Very well done.
Colin Nielsen 09/03/09
Nice writing. It flowed really well. It might be a Personal preference of mine: I really hated the ending. Leaving a husband-to-be at the alter would have to be one of the cruellest things anyone could do. All my respect and sympathy for your MC vanished at your ending. Had I paid for this story as a novel, I would not be buying another.
Catrina Bradley 09/04/09
I didn't pick up on the hints, but fell full-on into the romance. My heart is still in my stomach - your ending was a complete surprise to me. A 2nd read brought it into perspective. Nice work!
Charla Diehl 09/04/09
I caught the hints, but still didn't expect the ending--so sorry for Adam. Sometimes we do get trapped into expectations others set for us--and it takes courage to break free from them. Too bad Eve's courage didn't come sooner. Having said all that, I did like this story and think a sequel is in order. What lies in their futures?
Allen Stark09/09/09
Wow! That one floored me! It came to an end all too soon. It also makes me want to know more about the main characters, supporting characters, sub-plots, in-depth reasoning, introspection of both main characters, and of course what happened afterward? Any desire to make this into a full-blown novel?
Mariane Holbrook09/10/09
I happened to LIKE the ending. It was perfect!

What a great piece of work. You'll place high with this one! Kudos!
Karlene Jacobsen 09/10/09
I did not expect that! I can relate though. With a daughter who feels trapped by others' expectations of her, this resonated with me.

Excellent writing.
Karlene Jacobsen 09/10/09
BTW a huge congrats and hugs on 5th place EC!!
Lisa Johnson 09/10/09
Wow! I have to admit to being completely surprised by the ending...maybe 'cause I've been up all night...but I thought the story was very well written. Congratulations on your highly commended level placing, and your EC.
Chelsie May09/10/09
Lol...I couldn't help but laugh at the ending. Very well done!
Bryan Ridenour09/10/09
Excellent writing with a super surprising twist at the end. Well done and congrats on the EC!
Loren T. Lowery09/10/09
Perfect pacing throughout this piece with the truth written between the lines - so obvious it was easy to overlook and not be taken by surprise when she said, "No." Well done and well deserved recognition from the judges. Congratulations.
Diana Dart 09/10/09
Fantastic, I applaud your MC (or would I guess ;-)) and even though my heart broke at the end (yah, THEN I saw the hints), it was the braver, tougher thing to do. Nice, nice job making the reader care deeply about your characters.