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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)

TITLE: A CLASS ACT for MRS OWENS
By Lillian Rhoades
09/01/10


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“Want one?" Bruce held out one of his

Oreo cookies to Katy who sat beside him

at the lunch table in the school

dining hall.

“No thanks," Katy answered, and

abruptly turned her back to Bruce.

Bruce tried again.

Reaching into his lunch bag, he pulled

out a small green ball and forced

himself to tap Katy on the shoulder.

“Would you like to play catch ball

during recess?”

“Not really, Bruce.” Once again she

quickly turned to talk with her best

friend, Angela.

The sickening thought rose from deep

inside of him.

His new school was going to be just

like his old school.

Bruce slowly put the green ball back

into his lunch bag, took a final sip of

his juice box and waited for the

teacher to announce dismissal from the

dining hall.

As the students marched out, each one

dumped their empty lunch bags into the

open garbage container.

One bag held a green ball.

Sitting alone by the entrance to the

back door, Bruce watched as the other

students joined their friends or

formed play teams. Tears slowly filled

his eyes . Hanging his head so no one

could see, he blinked fiercely to

keep the tears from spilling over, and

thought about Joey.

Earlier that day, Joey, who sat at the

desk in front of him, had peered at his

upper lip.

“Why do you look like that?”

“I was born with a cleft palate,” Bruce

explained.

“Oh,” Joey replied, “It sure looks

funny.”

His words echoed in Bruce's mind. It

sure looks funny. It's sure looked

funny.


When the whistle blew signaling the end

of recess, Bruce walked slowly, head

down towards his class

and took his usual place at the back of

the line.

As she always did everyday after

recess, their teacher, Mrs. Owens,

directed the class to take out their

homework assignment book.

“For today's assignment, she

began, “You will need to choose a

partner.”

Bruce's heart sank.

“Just a minute," Mrs Owens continued.

"Before you choose your partner, I want to tell you a story.”

“One summer, when I was a little girl

just about your age, my mother, father

and two sisters died in a terrible

fire that destroyed our home. My

brother and I were the only ones to

escape, but my face was badly burned.

During the summer I had several

operations to try to repair the burns

on my face. When the summer was over, I

returned to school with a big red scar

on the side of my face. Of course, all

the kids noticed

it. After a while, I got tired of

answering the same question over and

over again.

Every day for a long time at least one

student in the school would ask, “What

happened to your face?”

And each day, when school was over, I

would rush home, never wanting to go

back to school again.

I felt ugly, lonely and different.

Joey raised his hand.

“I don't see any scars on your face,

Mrs Owens.”

“No," Amy piped in, what happened to

the scars?”

“Doctors can do wonderful things," Mrs.

Owens explained.

“After many surgeries, the scar is

barely visible, and what's left I cover

over with make-up," she said, almost

sheepishly.

“But, let me finish my story.”

“The doctors were able to remove most

of my scars, but the scars on my

heart took a little longer to go away.

For long a time I continued to feel

ugly and unaccepted.

After Mrs Owens finished, no one said a

word. A few students shifted in their

seat.

Finally, Mrs. Owens broke the silence.

“Now, back to your assignment. I want

every one to choose a partner.”

Bruce stiffened in his seat, afraid to

look around. Suddenly, he felt a

tap on his shoulder, and he turned to

see Katy smiling at him.

“Will you be my partner? ”

A smile played at the corners of

Bruce's disfigured upper lip.

“Sure, if you want me to.”

Yes! Mrs. Owens almost shouted, as she watched from behind her desk. Mission accomplished!


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This article has been read 411 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/02/10
This is a wonderful story. You need to check your quotation marks. If the same speaker is talking in the next paragraph you don't end the paragraph with quotes, but you do start the new paragraph with quotes to show it is the same speaker. Other than that, it was a fantastic story that really covered the emotion of embarrassment. I really understood what the teacher meant when she said the scars on the inside take longer to heal.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/09/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 15 of your level and in the top 40 overall.