Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: It's a Colorful World (12/03/09)
TITLE: Plain Peace
By Kellie Henningsen
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“I…uh…I can’t Christie. You know that!” Rebecca nervously arranged the faceless dolls in front of her while watching her mom help a customer.
“Sure you can. Just sneak out your window. No,” Christie held up a finger, “don’t even try to tell me you haven’t done that before. So slip out and meet us down by the bridge.”
“Let’s go Christie,” her mom called after making her weekly purchases of Amish pies and fresh baked bread.
“Eight o’clock!” Christie mouthed as she followed her mom out the door; her bright orange scarf blowing behind her.
Rebecca often thought about the outside world. It sounded so vibrant and full of excitement! The plainness of the Amish life was all she knew. She dressed in the traditional style. Her wardrobe consisted of three colors not including her white aprons and bonnets. Even their homes were meant to be too plain to be noticed with their white clapboard siding and lack of shutters.
As the afternoon wore on, Rebecca overcame her inner struggle and decided she would go for it. At just fourteen years of age, rumspringa seemed a lifetime away. She ached to see the world now and this was her chance.
That night she listened as her parents knelt by their bed saying their prayers. When the house was completely still, Rebecca lifted the window and slipped out into the night.
“Becky! Becky!” Christie called from the window of the blue sedan that slowed to a stop along their road moments later.
With no further thought, Rebecca emerged from the trees and ran towards the car. The girls giggled the whole way to the mall as Christie explained what Rebecca was about to experience.
“Oh, there will be Christmas decorations hanging from the ceiling and a tree at least three stories high and Santa will be there too, of course!”
Rebecca, completely confused by it all, just nodded her head in agreement. To her, Christmas was a peaceful time filled with family gatherings, baking cookies, and special church services. Lights, Santa, decorations, and elaborate gifts were an unknown to her.
At last, they arrived at the mall and the boys split off to do their own thing promising to meet up with the girls later.
Christie took Rebecca’s hand and guided her toward the mall entrance. With great flair, she flung open the door and they stepped into the warm interior.
Rebecca froze. A tree bigger than any in the forest behind her house stood in the middle of the building! Ornaments of every color – more than she knew even existed – hung from the boughs. The tree glittered with blinking white lights while gold garland looped around it in perfect form. At the base of the tree were smaller trees – each one decorated with large colored balls. There were oversized packages on the floor wrapped in paper with colorful pictures and patterns on them. Large bows of gold topped them off.
“Becky?” Christie nudged her friend. “You alright?”
“It’s…it’s…I’m speechless!” Rebecca stuttered without looking at Christie. “I just need to take it all in!”
Pulling her eyes away from the tree, Rebecca noticed the people who pushed by her. They wore bright festive sweaters, colorful scarves, and jewelry that made them glitter a bit like the tree in the room.
Rebecca had never seen such outlandish things in her life. Her eyes hurt from feasting on the color banquet before her. Where was the peace in this strange world?
The colors, the music, the crowds, the flurry of activity all made Rebecca dizzy by the time the night ended. She sat silently on the drive home despite Christie’s attempts at conversation.
When they arrived back at the bridge, Rebecca thanked her friend politely and set off towards her bedroom window. With the help of a strategically placed log, she climbed back into the serenity of her simple room.
Pulling back her quilt, she slid her tired body under its warmth. As she thought back over the events of the evening, her eyes rested upon the dull hues in the room around her. Within them, she found a peace she never knew she would appreciate so much.
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