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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)

TITLE: Ninth Commandment Woes


missed connections, m4w

Girl who sat behind me at Deb's Diner last Thursday...
To be honest, you got on my nerves from the second I sat down in the booth next to yours. You were blabbing on your cell phone loud enough for everyone in the place to hear. It's not our business you lost your job. We don't care what your parents are going to think. It grated my cheese. You weren't the only one having a rough day.

When it came time to pay your tab, you couldn't find your wallet. I handed the waitress that ten so I could finish my burger in peace. I didn't do it to be nice. But you were so thankful that you practically climbed over the booth and grabbed my hands. You wouldn't let go.

That's when I took my first real look at you. You've got the widest forehead I've ever seen, but your blue eyes run its length. I loved how they tapered downward when you promised to repay me. It sounds stupid, but I felt some sort of connection with you—in all your loud and clumsy sincerity. But then the waitress interrupted us, asking if I needed change. At almost the same moment, you asked for my number.

Girl who sat behind me at Deb's, you won't be able to reach me—just when everything was going right between us, I lied. I have no idea why. Regret pesters me. Or maybe that's my grandmother. Advice, lectures, filibusters—it's all the same to her.

Yet, I really wish I hadn't given you erroneous information.

What are the odds you'll ever see this so I can make it right?

My only hope is that God’s a romantic. If so, tell me the color of the sweater I was wearing, so I’ll know it’s you. It was a present from the pestering grandmother—you couldn’t have missed it.

Boy with the chip on his shoulder...
Your sweater was mustard yellow.
Your disposition was sour.
I actually wanted to switch tables as the scent of your aftershave was completely stifling.

When you footed my bill, it floored me. I turned and knelt in my booth until you finally acknowledged my personhood. I leaned down to take—not grab your hands. They were so cold.

And I thought that maybe all you needed was someone to warm them.

So I waited two days before dialing your alleged number. You know, so you wouldn't feel like I was hounding you. Like I was cool enough to sort of forget you for a minute, but responsible enough to keep track of my debts.

Turns out I was calling an elderly person.

Big thanks.

Girl who is responsible with debt…
The aftershave was my grandfather's, which I wore in his honor. Bad choice, but what can I say? Funerals make you forget yourself. And, yes, there really was a funeral—I’m not in the habit of breaking the ninth commandment. There were songs, videos, poetic readings, and extemporaneous speeches, both in the church and at the graveside—we’re talking the whole schmear.

I needed some quiet when I walked into Deb's.

Your hands were warm and ultra soft. I hate the idea of your index finger punching in a bogus number.

How do you feel about second chances?

Boy with the dearly-departed grandfather…
Perhaps I should scan the obituaries to confirm this story?

Oh, all right, I relent. You've got one more chance. But as I'm still unemployed, you're paying for dinner, and I'm not holding back any inner dialog.

I'll meet you at Deb's—say seven? We'll eat, drink, and converse. You may expound on the virtues of my facial structure. At the end of those activities, I'll give you a seven-digit number that may or may not connect you to my mobile device. You'll just have to wait and see.

P.S. Please wear the sweater again. I liked it.

Girl with good taste…
Seven works for me. As would six or five or midnight.
I’m soaking the sweater, per my grandmother's instructions, as I write. She wasn't fond of the aftershave, either. Not one whiff of offending odor will meet your nasal passages.

I'll be waiting for you.
No more missed connections.
Of these words, you can be certain.
God really is a romantic.

Boy who is remarkably clueless,
I don't know if God is a romantic or not, but your grandmother is.
That's whose phone number you gave me.

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This article has been read 1220 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Henry Clemmons12/23/10
What a touching story to read first thing in the morning. I loved it to pieces. The characters are so real. I was honestly disappointed there were no more words. I really wanted to know how their date went. And giving grandmother's phone number was priceless.
Sarah Heywood12/23/10
This was incredible - so cute, so romantic, so sweet...I could go on and on. Loved it and I want to know the "rest of the story"!
Mona Purvis12/23/10
A pleasure to read. Has the "Sleepless in Seattle' feel to it. Very good indeed.
Margaret Kearley 12/24/10
Fantastic. What a wonderful story. Right on its way to be saved as one of my favourites! Many thanks.
Colin Nielsen12/26/10
Cute story. Loved the killer twist at the end. Very very well written
Edmond Ng 12/26/10
An interesting read out of the usual! One thing's for sure—there'll never be missed connections with God!
Michael Throne12/26/10
Fun story in a clever form. I enjoyed it. Your characters felt real. Great finish!
Cheryl Harrison12/27/10
Hehe - loved your romantic comedy! Great ending.
Virgil Youngblood 12/27/10
Delightful with great character development. Love that grandmother.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/27/10
Wonderfully creative short-story writing. It's all here: character development, humor, clever plot, romance, even a twist at the end. My favorite this week.
Loren T. Lowery12/27/10
As I was reading this I was getting flashbacks of the witty dialogue found in "The Shop Around the Corner", "In the Good Ole Summertime" and "You've Got Mail" I hope it works out as well for these two as it did for the cast of those other romantic tales.
Noel Mitaxa 12/27/10
Great light and shade in the verbal table-tennis and the suspense of this entry. I loved the twist at the end - or is this to be continued???
Melanie Kerr 12/28/10
I loved the end - the revelation of whose number he gave her. I liked the gentle progression of the story. It was well written - not autobiographical by any chance?
Gregory Kane12/28/10
Delightful. I had to google craigslist to see what it was but that's merely a cultural blip. Excellent, captivating writing.
Catrina Bradley 12/28/10
I thoroughly enjoyed this - it got better and better as I read on, and the ending is PERFECT! Congrats on a writing a winner, in my book. :)
Colin Swann12/29/10
What a unique and creative take on the topic. Most excellent writing!
Sara Harricharan 12/29/10
I loved the way this came about, the formatting made it fun to read, like mini-chapters and the differing POV's really added a good twist to this. Nicely done!
Sarah Elisabeth 12/29/10
Cute romance :-) Nice touch at the end
Margaret Kearley 12/30/10
Congratulations Lisa - this SO deserved to win. A wonderful story, beautifully written , loved nby us all I think judging by the number of comments! Congrats again - and a Happy New Year!
Margaret Kearley 12/30/10
Congratulations Lisa - this SO deserved to win. A wonderful story, beautifully written , loved nby us all I think judging by the number of comments! Congrats again - and a Happy New Year!
Kimberly Russell12/30/10
Congrats on your well-deserved first place. I totally loved this one! Yay for you!
Barbara Lynn Culler12/30/10
Congrats on your win-well deserved! LOVED the ending!!!
Rita Garcia12/30/10
Congratulations! Loved this story! You certainly know how to grab the readers attention and hold it until, The End!
Connie Dixon12/30/10
Congrats Lisa. Your creativity and wit never seems to end. Loved this, loved the characters, the interaction, the end, all of it. Great job!
Joy Bach 12/30/10
Congratulations, Lisa. Everything Connie said. Loved it.
Amanda Brogan12/30/10
Oh-ho! LOVE this! (I am definitely a romantic, and believe God is too. ;) )

BIG congrates on your very well-deserved First Place Master's and Editor's Choice Award!
Henry Clemmons12/30/10
Congrats. This would have been first place in my heart even if the judges didn't rank it TOPS! Super job.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/30/10
I'm so happy to see you at the top of the winners' circle with this wonderful story.
Joan Campbell12/30/10
Congrats Lisa. Another story with such believable characters and oh-so romantic premise - lovely!
Sheri Gordon12/30/10
Woo Hoo. So excited for you. I was cracking up through this whole thing...even the serious parts. I could picture this whole scene taking place. You are such a talented writer.
Cheryl Harrison12/30/10
Lisa - I knew this was a winner the first time I read it. Congrats on your placing.
Hanne Moon 12/30/10
Lisa, this SOOOO deserved the win! This is awesome, and I love the ending! Wonderfully written! :)
Sharlyn Guthrie12/30/10
I like all the facets of this story of interlopers. :) Great job!
Laury Hubrich 12/30/10
Congratulations, Lisa! Awesome story:) wooooo:)
Beth LaBuff 12/30/10
I loved every back and forth exchange in this... with just the right amount of new information revealed each time. Simply stunning writing, Lisa! Congrats, friend!
Yvonne Blake 12/30/10
Great story! I absolutely LOVE the ending...and I'm very particular about them.
Terri Schroeder12/30/10
That was a great story. Very engaging and well-written. I can see why it won first place in Masters and EC!
Edmond Ng 12/30/10
Congratulations on your winning first place for EC and masters' level!
Chely Roach12/30/10
I'll say it again...I loved this story. Congrats, Lisa!
Betty Castleberry12/30/10
They were right. This *is* a must read. I loved every word. Great going, Lisa!
Amy Michelle Wiley 12/31/10
Hehe, I guessed who the phone number was for. Very cute story!
Troy Manning12/31/10
Dear Lisa,
As Sarah H., Mona, Margaret, Colin N., Edmond, Michael, Cheryl, Virgil, Verna, Loren, Noel, Melanie, Gregory, Chrissy, Catrina, Colin S., Sara H., Sarah E., Margaret, Kathryn, Barbara, Rita, Connie, Joy, Amanda, Joan, Sheri, Hanne, Sharlyn, Laury, Beth, Yvonne, Terri, Michele, Betty, Amy, & the editors said, you really did a great job with this! :)
Norma-Anne Hough01/02/11
Hi there,
Well done on First place. very deserving.
Enjoyed the read.
The characters were very good as was your story line.
You kept me in suspense until I read the final parfagraph.
Well done.
Carol Penhorwood 01/02/11
Words escape me. And I admit to being a tinge "green". Loved the creativity, the dialogue, the romance...oh, I just LOVED it all! Congratulations! Wow!
Dee Yoder 01/05/11
I love this story, Lisa! Sooo romantic and sweet. Congratulations on your first place win!! Yay!!!
Emily Carlson01/16/11
Awww--loved this! What a cute idea. I started smiling when I read the first few words and didn't stop the whole way through. (BTW-did they end up together?)
PamFord Davis 06/02/11
Best of the Best Contender...
WOW; that is a challenge and YOU are up to it!