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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: A Whisper of Hope
By Jesus Puppy


All day, Rachel thought about the young man; how would he feel when he found out the truth. She tried to send text messages, but each time she started typing, her heart faltered. Being born with a hearing disability had never presented a problem, until now.

From the moment she saw him, she knew she was trapped. Even to the point of dragging her friend to the shop with her every day. When he had spoken, Rachel wished she had taken her brother instead. None of her family members were deaf, but they all knew sign language, and he was acting as her interpreter for school anyway.

As her brother told her the class was at an end, and handed her a list of books needed for the next week's assignments, he noticed her distraction and asked if she was okay. Rachel simply nodded her head as she gathered her things.

Is it that obvious?

He caught her attention, told her he needed to get on to work, and again ask if she was all right. Rachel nearly broke, telling him everything, but she knew what his response would be, and just smiled and signed, “See you later.”

Waiting for the bus, she thought to send the text messages she had written, but chickened out again. Her experience with people who could not use sign language was embarrassing, to say the least.

Disastrous, more like it, she thought as she boarded the bus. Rachel felt the ride to the seldom-used city library would give her time to think. She knew how he would react once he found he could not speak with her like most people.

The last guy to ask her out felt the same way and quickly lost interest, and that one didn't fill her mind the way Jim did. His shy manners, quiet behavior-- he seemed different in ways she couldn’t understand. If he turned away once he learned she could not hear. . .

Her mind fixed on the truth of it and she decided the best course was to forget the whole thing. Resignation set in only when she took out her phone and deleted the "Save file" from her text messages.

The nearest stop to the city library was a block away, and the cool autumn breeze helped clear her mind. Her disability had never been a real problem for her, she had her friends, and her family had always supported her, but with this week's trials she realized what she really wanted was that deeper relationship.

Head out of the clouds, she grumbled mentally.

The tricks life normally seemed to play were bad enough, but this week was devastating, made worse as she saw the lost look on Jim's face as he sat behind the counter.

Of all places. Rachel nearly ran in fright, barely hiding behind a column in time to not be seen. What do I do now?

She faced the embarrassment of her worst fear, and she sat down on the floor in defeat. As she looked up towards the door, and escape, Rachel could just make out his reflection in the glass. The pain she saw was exactly how her own heart felt.

Give me strength Lord, she prayed, dug through her knapsack for a notebook, and quickly jotted down a simple letter.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


I am sorry I didn't reply to you this afternoon, it is not that I didn't want to, but I couldn't speak. You see, I was born with a disorder that caused total hearing lost by the age of five.

I couldn't read your lips well enough to know what you said. I know this makes it hard to communicate, and understand if you don't want to speak to me again, but I felt you should know.

You are a kind and attractive man, and I hope you find someone special.

Prayerfully, your friend, Rachel.

P.S. You could always text me. 555-3212

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

She folded the page, marked his name on it, and watched the reflection in the glass doors.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jim returned to the front desk, still discouraged from lunch. As he took a seat on the stool behind the counter he saw the slip of paper-- addressed to him.

Puzzled, he opened the letter and read carefully, his expression changed from lingering sorrow, to astonished confusion. Jim looked up in time to catch sight of a dark-haired, young lady leaving the building, and hurriedly dug through his jacket for his phone.

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This article has been read 518 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
I love it!! I'm so glad you decided to continue the story. I know that was a gutsy move. This is a nice smooth read, you did a great job. I can't wait to see what happens next!
AnneRene' Capp10/30/10
You gripped my heart with feeling so bad for Rachel. I kept thinking 'poor little thing' and all because she couldn't hear. What a tremendous weight to feel so different from others that a person would feel unwanted because of it. I loved how Jim scrambled for his phone at the end. It gave me even more than a whisper of hope! :)
Barbara Lynn Culler10/30/10
Awwwww! I have goosebumps! Great story and glad it was not too much of a cliff-hanger.

Please continue another installment?
Nancy Sullivan 10/31/10
Your title is perfect for this sensitive piece. It sounds like your characters have a very interested audience. Count me in ;)
Jan Ackerson 11/02/10
Oh, how sweet!

I'm intrigued by the continuation of this story, but a bit worried that it'll no longer by truly 'anonymous' to the many who will follow Jim and Rachel with keen interest. (And I'm definitely one of them).

Jim is something rare in FW entries--a totally sympathetic male character. I love it!