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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)

TITLE: Why Me?
By Sarah Elisabeth


Movie is half over and I allow a content sigh to slouch me further into my cushioned seat. Trina leans her head against me as I rest my arm around her shoulder. She tenses slightly as the hero’s car flies over the cliff….


Mutters follow the exclamation from the end of our row. My mouth twists to one side. “It’s no big deal,” Trina’s breath tickles my ear. I force myself to relax.

Sirens blare over the surround sound and I concentrate on the intense scene.


This shout is louder and draws “shhh’s” around us. My agitation is growing.


I struggle to not add my own “shhh” to the hisses filling the theater.

Heads turn as focus is drawn to a figure stumbling into the aisle. I hear a choking sound come from the small frame.

Go. The quiet voice nudges me.

Why me?

The reply is strong. Why not you?

“Be right back,” I mutter to Trina.

I push open the door to the lobby and approach the popcorn vender. “The person who just came out, did you see where they went?” I ask.

“The kid ran in there,” the man nods his head toward the men’s restroom.

Entering the restroom my eyes adjust to the brighter light and the sight of the figure standing with his back to me. One hand is poking the tiled wall, his shoulders hunching up.

I touch his arm. “Hey, son, are you okay?”

He turns to me and his head jerks to one side.

“Leave me alone.” In spite of the curt words, I see his lips quiver and wet streaks mark his face.

Why me?

“Just thought I would see if you were all right.” My voice lacks sympathy. “Sounded like you were choking when you ran out.”

The boy, about thirteen years old, pokes my chest with his finger.

“Just leave me alone, okay?”

I bite back my sarcasm as I study his face. His eyes refuse to meet mine and understanding begins to dawn on me.

“Ayah!” The outburst reverberates off the walls of the small enclosure and rings in my ears. He turns back to the wall and slams a fist into the hand dryer. His knuckles dent the metal.

I gather courage to speak. “My name is Robert. What’s your name, son?”


“Alan, you have Tourettes Syndrome, don’t you?”

Alan’s smile is almost cynical as he turns back to me. “How’d you guess?”

Why me, Lord? I have nothing profound to say. What do I know about this anyway, other than what I’ve seen on TV? What can I do?

“Well, Alan, I guess that must get frustrating.” Way to knock a home run Robert.

A home run. Hmmm…

“When I was growing up, I wanted to play for the Red Sox. I didn’t care about anything else.”

Alan’s stare is too much. I have to talk fast or bolt.

“I played my heart out until high school. That’s when the coaches said I didn’t have the physical capabilities to play professionally.”

I watch Alan’s concentration as he looks into my eyes. “But you did?”

Our conversation is coming close to home. I meet Alan’s eyes as I reply, “No, son, I never played again. I let everyone convince me to give up. It made me very angry for a long time - until I met the Lord Jesus. He helped me get my life in order. Now I have a career I love and I married the greatest lady on earth. We hope someday to have children. That wouldn’t have been if not for the Lord.”

My fingers wrap around Alan’s. I hold them as I say, “God loves you, Alan. And if you let Him, He will bring joy and peace into your life.”

I see his eyes hold on to the doubt. It’s okay. I’ve stood in that place.

“Our church is having a movie night next Saturday. Maybe you and your parents would like to come.”

Alan pulls his fingers from mine and starts poking again. “My parents don’t like taking me anywhere. They get embarrassed when people tell me to be quiet.”

I still his chin with my gentle grip. My voice is husky as I ask, “Where would you like to go, Alan?”

“Someplace my yelling won’t bother people.”

Two weeks after we met, I sit with Alan and Trina as we yell and scream, watching the Boston Red Sox win their first game of the season.

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This article has been read 866 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/25/10
What wonderful things can happen when we answer God's call. This was very touching and a good read from beginning to end.
Joan Campbell02/28/10
Lovely, well-written message.
Seema Bagai 03/01/10
Well-written with a good message about tolerance and caring. Good job.
Noel Mitaxa 03/02/10
Loved that inner dialogue, and MC's willingness to respond - to reach a kid on the margins. A great creative close.
Ada Nett03/02/10
Very interesting storyline that carried a profound message.

"Why not me?"

I only hope I can continue to mature in my own walk with God that I will be obedient to serve Him as you MC was willing to do anywhere anytime.
Mona Purvis03/02/10
I love your characters and your writing introduced them well to the reader.
In this fearful world we live in, I worried a bit about an adult following a kid into the bathroom. Wish that thought wasn't intrusive.
Enjoyable read.

Rachel Phelps03/02/10
Loved your opening paragraph - excellent! You have a gift for finding such creative and meaningful stories, and this one is no exception. Loved the message.
Ruth Stromquist03/02/10
I liked this a lot. It got me thinking much. Thanks for an excellent piece!
c clemons03/02/10
I agree with one of the other commenters about an adult male follwing a child into the men's room and touching them also. I know it was innocent but unfortunately too many times it is not. I applauded your innocence in the writing.
Virgil Youngblood 03/02/10
Great message in this well written story. I applaud risk takers - those willing to ignore political correctness to offer help to those in need. This boy, as it turns out, wasn't choking. Determining the true need, the MC was just as helpful.
Beth LaBuff 03/02/10
You've taken a tough subject and written a beautiful heart-warming story with a superb message! You kept my attention throughout! Nice work!
Edmond Ng 03/03/10
Understanding the reason for one's behavior is so important! Under normal circumstances, we would have jumped to conclusion Alan's behavior. We certainly need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to know what God would have us do in such a situation. Thank you for sharing this. A very good read indeed.
Loren T. Lowery03/03/10
I think you handled the first person wonderfully. The story felt sincere and it was easy to see the MC's heart. There was a lot to get to in the word limitation, but you did well in relaying your message.
Tessy Fuller03/03/10
I really liked this story in all and think it would of been better if more words could of been written. It felt just a bit rushed. The overall story was very convicting. So many times we take the easy way out and do not listen to God's whisper to reach out.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/03/10
You did fine with present tense--made the characters real--and gave me a real appreciation for your MC. Good story.
Rachel Dorsey03/03/10

Aw, Sarah Elisabeth! I liked this story so much.

I liked the present tense for this story, I think it fit the tone very well.

The ending was fantastic!
Lisha Hunnicutt03/03/10
I liked this piece. If the Holy Spirit tells us to go, then we go - even if it means entering the restroom. Goodness! At that point, I thought the kid was choking and heaven forbid that someone would not follow him into the restroom because of "Political Correctness". I know our world has dangers, but I did not see any danger in this piece.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/04/10
Congratulations on the win. This was one of my favorites.
Bryan Rudolph03/04/10
My, oh, my . . . a terrific delivery of the topic: creative and convincing.

My heart was moved for Alan and Robert, in that wonderful exchange between them. The confession of weakness made strong, in Christ, was appropriate and appealing. Robert, Trina, and Alan enjoyed the Red Sox game, and I enjoyed this hit-out-of-the- park winner.

Congratulations, Sarah, on your 1st Place Win; thank you, for such a delightful entry.

Jackie Wilson03/04/10
Congratulations on your win! Wonderful story.
Lisa Johnson03/04/10
Awesome story. Extremely good handling of a very sensitive subject. Well written with a good message. Congratulations on a much deserved win.
stanley Bednarz03/04/10
Congratulations Sarah!

I'm one of your fans. I love how you create a truly dynamic story of depth, with a wholesome spiritual application.

Noel Mitaxa 03/04/10
Congratulations on your win.
Carol Penhorwood 03/04/10
Congratulations, Sarah, this was a winner, for sure! What a moving, sensitive piece. Very thought-provoking as well. Fantastic!
Eileen Knowles03/04/10
Nicely done! Congratulations on the win!
Steven Kellen03/05/10
Tourettes is a tough subject. I have a friend who us a fabulous baseball player and considered going on to try to play pro ball. He instead went on to work on his masters in music and has a powerful opera style tenor voice. He has Tourettes and lots of frustrations with it, but he never gives up. Support is very important. Your story got the essence of that need.

Amanda Brogan03/06/10
Beautiful ending for a beautiful story! Congrats on the win, Sarah! You deserve it! First place! Woohoo!!!! :D You're a Master now. ;)
Jan Ackerson 06/03/10
Sarah, I love this powerful story, and I'm going to feature it in the Front Page Showcase for the week of June 7th. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page...and congratulations!