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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)

TITLE: Did You See That?
By Karen Shell
11/25/09


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Jeremy hung up the phone. That made three attempts at contacting Tom and June Craiger, his deacon and choir director, both of whom the young pastor had relied on since taking over the church only two years before. “Kate, would you go by their house with me this afternoon? It’s just not like them to miss two services in a row without calling. Something must be wrong. Maybe they were offended at something. You know how proud she is,” he added, glancing around the room as if that last comment was a national secret.

“Of course. The choir really missed June yesterday morning, too,” Kate answered with a you-know-what-I-mean look.

When they arrived at the Craigers’ home, June opened the door. Kate tried to silence her gasp as she immediately understood the reason for the absence. She only glanced at Jeremy, but could see his expression from the corner of her eye. Rolling her eyes, she wondered how he always knew the appropriate words to say in every situation from marriage counseling to funeral preparations. So why, at this most awkward moment, he chose to stand in this doorway, jaw dropped almost to his chest, leaving her to find the proper thing to say, was beyond her.

As if that weren’t enough, out of the blue, before Kate could possibly anticipate the next embarrassing moment, three-year-old Justin blurted out “Mommy, look at her hair. Do you see her hair?” She now wanted to send both of her guys back to the van with a lecture on when to speak, and when to keep quiet, then crawl under the concrete porch beneath her feet. But this wasn’t the time. Kate settled for a look that sent Jeremy to their vehicle, Justin in his arms, both out of trouble. She could at least attempt damage control.

Kate looked June directly in the eyes this time, smiling weakly, beginning an apology, but was stopped in mid-sentence.

“It’s O.K. Kate. I had the same reaction when I looked in the mirror, only I couldn’t run away.” Tears filled her eyes as she continued helplessly, “You understand now, why I’m in hiding; why I couldn’t even try to explain how bad it was by phone, don’t you? What should I do? Do you have any suggestions?”

“It’ll be O.K.,” she assured her, then gently touched June’s arm as she made her way into the kitchen of the Craigers’ home. “We’ll figure it out together,” Kate added with a positive voice. “May I use your phone?”

As Kate was dialing the number for her hair stylist, Tom Craiger walked into the room. “Hello, Kate. I guess you and Jeremy have been wondering where we’ve been the last few days. As you can see, “Annie” hasn’t been singing much. Kate appreciated Tom’s sense of humor, but held back all but a slight snicker for June’s sake. She couldn’t help but wonder how many bad jokes had been conceived from this unfortunate incident, especially after noticing the look that sent Tom into another part of the house, he also a victim of helplessness in this personal crisis.

Kate hung up the phone, thankful to announce that Marcy assured her she had seen it all, and was willing to see her right away.

When Kate arrived home, Jeremy looked at her sheepishly. “I’m sorry. I just couldn’t find any words of comfort, or consolation, or even understanding. I just lost it all. Was she angry with me?”

“No, she couldn’t be angry,” Kate reassured. “Her situation didn’t require words. She needed a solution. Quickly,” she added with a laugh. “I just can’t imagine looking in the mirror and seeing that hair. Orange as a pumpkin.”


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Phee Paradise 12/01/09
I love the way you made the orange hair obvious without telling. Kate and Jeremy's relationship was a little confusing at first. I assumed she was his secretary until she called him one of her guys. Fun story.