Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hmph! (03/04/10)
TITLE: Beauty Is Fleeting But...
By Linda Boulanger
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Cassandra could have argued with Bess. She could have told the young caretaker that she was wrong. She could have…if she could speak. That gift had been stripped from her as well.
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, she thought. A smile tickled at her wrinkled old thinning lips. It was a mouth that used to wow the world with its smile. No more. Bess was right. No one wanted to look at her and no one even wanted her. That was evidenced by the fact that she was where she was; in a home for people who had been struck with age induced illnesses. She’d had a stroke. Now she was relegated to a life of someone else tending to her needs. Even the most mundane tasks were nearly impossible for her. But her brain was still intact. People often forgot that. They said mean and hurtful things. She was trapped, the beautiful, sought-after starlet in the body of a decaying old woman. Hell had found her right there on earth.
Cassandra’s sleep that night was tormented. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, her mind kept taunting. Extravagantly beautiful girls danced around her, reminding her of what she’d once been. They laughed and jeered until Cassandra could take no more. She collapsed on the floor within their circle. She sobbed.
“I want to die!” she screamed.
A hand reached forth and grasped her upper arm, lifting her with ease to stand before him. She knew instinctively it was the Lord.
“I have plans for you, Cassandra,” he said to her.
“I’m not worthy,” she told him. Shame for the way she had lived her life pouring forth.
“No one is,” he told her. “Please finish the scripture you quoted earlier today.”
Cassandra wracked her brain. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who…” She could not.
“A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” He tilted her chin up to make her look upon his face. “Receive me, Cassandra. Make me your Lord and Savior. Allow that praise to rain down upon you.”
“I can’t. My life has been so far from you,” she told him as she shook her head.
“Then begin anew. Begin to live for me, right now,” he coaxed.
Cassandra looked at him. “Can I do that? Just leave it all behind?” It seemed too good to be true.
Jesus smiled and nodded. “Of course. That’s why I came.” She looked so hopeful that it filled his heart with joy.
“Will you show me how?”
Together they knelt and Cassandra accepted the Lord into her heart at the age of 93.
The next morning Bess walked into Cassandra’s room amidst the talk of miraculous events that had taken place. She stared in open-mouthed surprise as she took in Cassandra sitting in a chair by the window. She smiled serenely. Her hair was combed, make-up on, her back straight, no humiliating strands of drool ran from the corners of her mouth.
“Good morning, Bess,” the older woman said.
“What happened to you? Where’s my Cassandra?” the portly caretaker asked in the same rough manner she always used.
Cassandra laughed. “He had plans for me, Bess. He always has. I’ve got more work to do because I didn’t get it all done when I was supposed to.”
“And I suppose the first thing you’re gonna do is get me fired?” Bess said with a snort.
“Oh no, dear. You’re my first assignment.” Cassandra patted the chair she’d asked them to leave next to hers. “Let me tell you a story about a good friend of mine. He visited me last night…”
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