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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)

TITLE: Carolyn's Persistent Love
By annie keys


Carolyn stands on tippy toes as we watch the milk being steamed into froth. I step out of her way; she is much shorter than I, though both of us are full grown women. We watch the rich chocolate join the foamy milk as they are carefully married by experienced hands.

Enrapt in anticipation, we watch as the barista uses a wire whisk to whip thick cream. With a flourish, she piles white whipped to an ethereal lightness on top of the liquid chocolate. A comforting hot beverage made extravagantly rich enough to pamper queens, placed humbly in our outstretched hands. We giggle as both of us simultaneously stick our tongue into the cream.

My friend has hair the color of hay made strawberry red in the sunshine. Her personality is voluptuous, her laughter melodious as it bubbles from her bright red lips. She exudes an inner strength and determination that adds another layer of richness to her extravagant personality.

We sit at the wrought iron table on the patio of the coffee shop and drink the hot chocolate, each laughing at well told stories of the otherís foibles. How can we allow so much time to pass between our meetings when we love each other so easily?

We grow silent, basking in the simple joy of fellowship. Carolyn reaches across the table and takes my hand. Uncomfortable with the insistent touch, I know what is coming and avert my eyes away. She persistently embraces my hand until I raise my face and look at hers. She whispers, ďItís time, dear friend, stop running and come home.Ē

I once more avert my eyes but she squeezes my fingers and Iím forced by the heart strings of friendship to raise my eyes to her again. Itís like she is looking into my soul, opening every door of my heart, pulling out into the light every wayward deed Iíve ever done. I blush at the awareness of her knowledge of the things Iíve participated in. Unable to look deliberately away, I look down at my cocoa.

We may never meet again; life can be unpredictable. Oh, we will continue to write, certainly. It was, in fact, a note from her that brought us together today. But, we will each go our separate way, each to live our lives according to our own will as usual.

Every time I write to her, I talk about how exciting my life is, reveling in my independence. Her response has always been to send me a note about Jesus. Not a, ďGod bless you and keep you,Ē kind of note. Rather, a reminder of childhood church friendships and a heart touching witness of Christ and what He had been to her through the years. This time, what she had said woke a burning in my heart that I thought had been totally quenched by my life choices.

Of all my friends, dear Carolyn is the only one that has never backed down in her pursuit of Christ. Sheís told me again and again about Christianity not being a religion, but a relationship. I always make a reciprocal wave of my hand acknowledging her commitment and postponing the certain to follow words of persuasion about my personal need for a savior. Promising to stay in touch, Iíd run from my friend and her Jesus.

But, today is different, this time she has a sense of urgency Iíd not noticed before. Puzzled that she was even more insistent after all these years, I pulled my hand away and jumped to my feet. Impatiently turning to face her as I leave, I see her lips moving in silent prayer, and I see her eyes glisten with tears. All of this, for me; Iím stunned at her genuine love. I sit back down.

There is no way she could have known about the cancer growing inside of me, yet, how could she have this sense of urgency if she didnít know? Isnít it wrong to wait till the last possible moment, when youíre sick and staring death straight on? Certainly a dangerous game to play and seeking salvation now would be, presumptuous, wouldnít it?

Yet, death is eminent at any moment in our lives; the dark specter that stalks us all. Reaching across the table, I wiggle my hand up under her hand that is laying in limp defeat. I take a deep breath and whisper, ďTell me about Jesus, Iím ready to listen.Ē


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This article has been read 406 times
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/03/12
This is a great story. You drew me in and made me want to keep reading. It reminded me of the girl scout song we used to sing Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. Friendship is indeed a measure of real wealth.
Marina Rojas05/03/12
Hmmm...the beauty of a life-long friendship that transcends all things is a true gem!

Your story made me think of my very best friend, who I see very little and not very often, but with whom I share a trusted friendship because she loves me with the love of God.

A very rich story of that which is golden, lasting, forever.
C D Swanson 05/04/12
Beautiful story that made me think of my "late best friend." This was a lovely story and touched me so much. Thank you for this.

Great story. GOd bless~
Graham Insley05/06/12
You hooked me right from the start and I felt your ending, while not a surprise, was believable.

A very enjoyable read. Thank you.
Laury Hubrich 05/06/12
Well written story. Very good job. I love your description at the beginning.
Colin Swann05/06/12
I really found your story interesting and meaningful - I thought it was real life until I saw your footnote.
Thank you so much for reminding us of the value of true friendship!
Donna Wilcher05/06/12

You obviously have a heart for the lost. I pray He uses you and this article to touch many lives for Christ.

It's never too late!

Love this!
Hiram Claudio05/07/12
This was awesome! I felt like cheering at the end. The interaction between these two friends was so well written and the MC's friend (the one who needed the Lord) was so presented and so realistic. I felt like I was there in that coffee shop with them. Wonderfully done!
Dannie Hawley 05/07/12
First you made my mouth water to join the ladies, then you made my eyes water and I felt the urgency. Excellent hjob and it very well could be someone's true story.
Genia Gilbert05/07/12
I enjoyed this very much. The chocolate was appealing and so was Carolyn! Good job.
Laura Hawbaker05/07/12
You caught my attention right away with a strong beginning. A few phrases could have been tightened a bit. For example: "enrapt in anticipation" could shortened to "enrapt, we..." "Avert my eyes" would be better than "Avert my eyes away" I can still see my highschool creative writing teachers red ink as he scratched unnecessary words out of my stories!
Helen Curtis05/08/12
What a wonderful story of love and determination. You have used beautiful phrases and descriptions, bringing the scene to life in my mind. The MCs sense of shame is clearly conveyed; I love the sentence that suggests it's 'presumptuous' to accept Jesus when starting death in the face. I can relate to that; not the dying part, but the feeling of not being worthy of Christ's forgiveness when I have intentionally gone off track. You did an excellent job with this story, really well done. Blessings.
Leola Ogle 05/08/12
I love this story. I felt the friendship between the two, and enjoyed their rich fellowship. So happy that Carolyn kept the door open and continued to share Jesus. Well written, kept my interest, had a great beginning, middle and end. God bless!
lynn gipson 05/08/12
I was at that point three years ago when I was told I was about to die from cancer. thats when I gave my life to Jesus and he saved me, in life and from death. I loved this story and one Im gonna be able to write like that...God willing....absolutely beautiful.
Edmond Ng 05/10/12
Such a risk for those who wait until it is too late! A very well crafted piece with a message that comes through very well, much true to life. Well done!
Hiram Claudio05/10/12
Congratulations on your 3rd place finish!
Genia Gilbert05/10/12
Not at all surprised that this placed well. Good entry! Congratulations.
C D Swanson 05/10/12
Congratulations and God Bless~
Leola Ogle 05/10/12
Congratulations Annie! Great job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/14/12
Congratulations for placing 16 overall!