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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)

TITLE: A Story About Imperfection
By Kate Oliver Webb


Hauling her naked self out of the bathtub, Virgee glanced at the full-length mirror, bringing again the reminder of her less-than-perfect body and misshapen leg.

Okay, so she’d lived with this condition all of her life—had, from time to time, even come to bless the accident that left its signature in her skin and bones. It served to strengthen the faith gifted her by her heavenly Father, she knew that His grace was, indeed, made perfect in her weakness.

Lorene, Virgee’s mother, had instilled in her daughter a sense of personal value and worth. When kids became cruel and bullying, Lorene took the time and effort to remind her special daughter that God had a plan and purpose for her. When seemingly accidental things twist and scar, God already had in His grand scheme of things put together a life which would glorify Him.

But realities came, many in the form of rejection. Not only did she not get picked first when teams were chosen, she was excluded from playing, period. When she was the last girl standing against the wall at the school dance, the sympathetic chaperone made the embarrassment worse when she came and stood beside her, highlighting her plight.

As she grew into womanhood, Virgee found her life’s passion: medicine. She excelled in it, grew to adore it, and put its knowledge to work not only in discovering how and what occurred when she was accidently damaged so long ago, but in attempting to prevent such occurrences to other people’s bodies.

While those years brought satisfaction, something else was beginning to push that first love aside. It astounded her when she realized that, although she had reached the pinnacle of success in her field, had received so many “Outstanding” awards she’d lost count, in one area of her life she began to feel a failure.

It came at a crisis point, when she was approached at her mother’s deathbed by the family doctor who asked, “Can you call one of your friends to come and be with you for a while?” She opened her mouth to respond with a name, when she realized that she had no real friends, only colleagues. They knew her mother and were aware of this pending death from a long illness; but there were none she felt could share this mourning with her.

In all her research and discovery, she had not learned this about herself: she was not a stand-out at friendship.

She allowed the people whose professions dealt with such things to handle the details surrounding the finalities of Lorene’s life and death. But when the hoopla and noise died down, Virgee was forced to deal with the fact that her life’s passion, while fulfilling and satisfying, could not produce for her the needed intimacy which God had planned for his human creation, and which was beginning to stir in her.

Her disability and disfigurement had kept her not only from expecting attention from men; it had kept even girlish friendships normal to growing-up years from happening to her.

Now she felt that lack strongly. But she had so long hidden behind a façade of complete acceptance of her appearance and awkward gait, she knew no way to reveal the self behind it.

A chance meeting was all it took. But nothing in the life of a Christian happens by chance.

On that Easter Sunday morning, when Virgee was running late, she was aware that she would be blessed indeed to find even one seat empty in the popular church. The usher at the closed door raised his eyebrows doubtfully as he attempted to seat her.

Ah, he breathed thankfully, and she followed meekly behind him to a seat between two men she’d never seen before. Leaving behind her distressing and painful week, her recently gained knowledge of her own less than stellar talent for friendship, she enjoyed the celebratory music and joyous message of Christ’s resurrection and life.

Following the benediction, she turned to gather her things and met the eyes of the man to her left, who said, “Hi, I’m Daniel. You look familiar. Have you been here before?” Smiling at the well-known boy-meets-girl phrasing, she relaxed and gave him her name. Because of the noisy crowd all trying at once to reach the exits, they spoke only a few words. He said, “I’m here, right here in this general area, every Sunday. Look for me; maybe we can talk some more?”

Smiling broadly, Virgee thought, “Outstanding!”

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This article has been read 451 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 04/29/11
Gently-paced pilgrimage with a promise of romance. And chapter two??
Anita van der Elst04/29/11
Oh, my, this story caught at my heart. To be friendless is such a hurtful thing and I wish more could’ve been done to insure friendships early on. Glad the MC seems to be embarking on one by the end of the story. Although maybe a little light on the topic, nicely done!
Sharlyn Guthrie05/01/11
Well-constructed story. I'm so glad Virgee found friendship at last. One suggestion -I think you could add more energy and interest to your story by showing rather than telling.
Beth LaBuff 05/04/11
I think it's very clever, the way you incorporated both meanings of the word "outstanding" in your story. Beside the regular meaning, you also used the aspect of "pending." You drew a lot of emotion from this reader. Very nice work!
Laury Hubrich 05/06/11
What a sad thing to wake up and realize you have no true friends. Very nice story. The title is weak, though. Try to pack a punch in those titles to draw your readers:)
Kathleen Langridge05/06/11
Kate, a heart rending story with a very hopeful ending. I agree that the title could have had more zing. Every story can be improved but this one is beautifully woven and touches the reality of accomplishment replacing relationship. Hope your kiester is well kicked! =)