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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fame (05/10/12)

TITLE: Absolution at the Diner
By Linda Germain


Early on a nippy foggy morning I step off the bus
Aching from the long ride, scared about coming here again
Not ready to face the future…or the past
I push open the familiar old door to Two Sisters Café on Main Street

Nothing’s changed

Bacon frying, biscuits baking and coffee perking just as I remembered
Tall booths with fake leather seats look the way they did back when
I won that talent show and headed for the big time and had it all
And lost it all and fell into a hole of my own making but who’d know now?

Everything’s changed

Scarf around my different colored hair, shades on my eyes, there’s
No resemblance to that movie star who smiled from the glossy covers of
Magazines and did, or didn’t do, all the things they printed but ended up
Paying too high a price anyway in a tinsel town that didn’t care

Emma Sue looks the same

Only with a few wrinkles in her sweet face topped by hair once dark but
Now a natural gray has edged it out she’s the older of the two and as I
Recall the nicest but she won’t know who I am and that’s okay since
I won’t be staying in a place that wouldn’t want the likes of me around

“You look familiar…”

Emma Sue says as she puts the water and a paper placemat down and
Pulls a stubby pencil from behind her ear prepared to take my order
But not seeming nosy, only friendly, so I smile and ask for coffee with
No cream or sugar and some toast but nothing else

She pushes on

And tells me there was a lovely girl who left this town many years ago and
Made it big but crashed and burned and turned into a lush, or maybe it was
Another addict of some kind she couldn’t remember but didn’t believe
Everything she read, knowing how those types of people are out there

I ask, sincerely

Wonder what happened to her, does she have a family here and what if
She came back, would they recognize her now or has she become another
Person no one would talk to or want to know since there was that
Reputation touted by the gossip news and paparazzi

Emma Sue sets my coffee down

And brings some lovely toast with homemade jelly made by her cousin
Belle who used to go to school with the movie queen who went away and
Messed things up and disappeared and no one knows what happened
To her but of course they’d be glad to see her back to open up the house

I know

Before she tells me who all have passed and about the old homestead
That Daddy built with his own hands and plowed the ground and kept us
Fed, and hated when I left because it broke my mama’s heart and she died
And he let things go until they put him in a place where he followed soon


Emma Sue continues as if we had a conversation going except I was only
Fishing for some truth but she has to say her piece and keeps right on until I
Hear how glad they’d be to see restoration at the farm down the road and
Be happy to welcome back a wanderer who had started life right here

We’ve all stumbled

She wants me to know if that prodigal daughter came back, in shame or not,
She’d take her place as one of them and Cousin Belle would be thrilled to see
Her old friend from their youth and the ladies at the church could help to
Clean and men could make repairs and she’d have folks who cared

I don’t think

She knows me until I’m nearly out the door and hear Ethel June whisper
Loud and clear, “You know who that was, don’t you Sister?” and Emma
Sue responds that of course she does, she isn’t dumb, but she didn’t
Want me to get scared and run again since fame doesn’t really matter

Some things change

And some things stay the same, and knowing I have come full circle from
The world of make-believe that didn’t do me any good but now I have a
Chance to be the person I was meant to be before my face was painted
And my soul forced into a mold that didn’t fit, I’m so relieved to be just ME

And home again


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This article has been read 818 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/18/12
I loved this contemporary piece. It held a ring of truth...and it was told with conviction. Nice job withe dialogue and internal feelings. I really enjoyed it. It was bittersweet.

Thanks. God bless~
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/19/12
I like the arrangement of this narrative poem--as well as the story.
Cheryl von Drehle05/21/12
Narrative poem form is very effective with this story. Kind of knew they knew but still you held the tension well. Title, opening and ending are all creative and satisfying.
Theresa Santy 05/21/12
Loved the flow, like the soft roll of a boat in calm waters. Sweet, and poignant, and I too, loved the narrative-poem arrangement.
Margaret Kearley 05/24/12
Wonderful, a great story and very well deserving of its placing. Many congratulations.
Helen Curtis05/24/12
Just beautiful. Congratulations!
C D Swanson 05/24/12
Congratulations! Nicely done. God Bless~
Francy Judge 05/24/12
Congratulations on first place! I enjoyed your story and getting to know your character. You told it in a creative way that kept me interested. Beautiful work!
Nancy Bucca05/24/12
Great job with this. Congratulations!
Sherry Castelluccio 05/24/12
Congratulations on your win! This was so captivating and inspiring. Well done!
BethMcLendonMiller McLendon-Miller05/24/12
What a beautiful tearjerker! Everyone wants to be accepted and loved. This is the perfect story to illustrate that fact.
Theresa Santy 05/24/12
This was a masterpiece, and one of my all time favorites. Congratulations!
Pat Guy 05/24/12
Way too awesome!!! And I have the privilege of saying you are a fabulously old, old FW friend! Awesome . . .
Catrina Bradley 05/24/12
I didn't realize I was holding my breath until I started breathing again. Marvelous!
Carol Penhorwood 05/24/12
Another prodigal welcomed home! I loved this story and the chance to redeem ourselves in the lives of those who know us. Well told!
Linda Germain 05/24/12
Author's note: WHOA, Pat! One "old" would have been plenty! :0)

Thanks for all the lovely comments. I appreciate and cherish each one. LG~