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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)

TITLE: Gone With the Wind
By Sally Hanan
10/30/05


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His old shirt was practically shoved up her nose; she breathed in intensely. It had almost faded, but she could still smell his aftershave: “Gone With the Wind”. It was appropriately named.

Mike was such a gentleman. I was not a lady - that’s why I still have his shirt! She stroked the checkered flannel as she draped it around her buxom torso. If only he could be as close as this.

The material didn’t drape far - Maggie was not what one would call petite. Despite her measuring 5’1”, her clothes were a size 20. Her tailor was a busy woman.

***

Maggie stood once again in Susan’s cramped family room, this time getting Mike’s shirt tailored to fit her. She had quite the collection at this point. Susan knew every name, every detail of Maggie’s love life. It was not that she wanted to know any of it, but the talkers of this world tend to conveniently dump their life history on one as quiet as Susan. This time however, Susan had had enough. She moved behind Maggie so that she didn’t have to look at her, and pulled on the fabric.

“ Maggie, why do you do this?” she mumbled breathlessly around the metal pins filling her mouth.

“What?”

“Drag out everything when a boyfriend is obviously gone. Why do you obsess about his smell, the things he said or didn’t say, the places you visited with him?” Susan then trembled, afraid she had said too much.

Maggie exhaled deeply. “You know what, I clean forgot that I had to run by the pharmacy before they close. I’m sorry Susan, we’ll have to reschedule, maybe next Tuesday?” She ran out the door, the faint whiff of “Gone with the Wind” trailing behind her as Susan stooped to rub her leg - where a falling pin had landed.

***

Maggie’s back held up the inside of her apartment door, her mind awhirl with emotions. She didn’t understand why, but she began to cry. Desperate to find something that would make her happy again she walked into her spare room. Box after box was pulled out and its contents rummaged through. Shirt after shirt was wrapped around her … She smelt, she touched, she searched until there was nothing left to search through, and then Maggie cried all over again.

***

Gwyneth, Maggie needs your prayers.

Gwyneth was sitting in her living room, watching the news, when He called her name. Putting her china teacup back on its saucer with the slight tremor of old age, she bowed her head and clasped her gnarled hands together.

“Dear Lord, thank-you for bringing my dear grand-daughter, Maggie, to mind today. I feel that she is in trouble Lord, and I pray that it is You at work in her heart. I pray, as always, that You would open her eyes and her ears to Your truth. Bring her to the end of herself, so that she can find the beginning of You. Amen.”

She went on to pray for some other names and faces as they came to her mind, and then, smiling in absolute trust, Gwyneth leaned back in her armchair to catch the end of the news.

***

A heavenly messenger was sent to Maggie’s apartment to whisper in her ear. Your grandma would know. She always understood you, even when you didn’t.

***

Three hours later Gwyneth’s doorbell rang. Standing on the doorstep was Maggie, Mike’s shirt still on her, her eyes squinting and red. Not surprised at all to see her, Gwyneth’s arms opened wide and Maggie stepped into them. After a few loving minutes her grandma sat her down with the cat.

"I'm going to switch on your electric blanket and make some tea." Lord, open her eyes and ears to the truth.

***

Maggie smelt the fragrance of chamomile wafting from the kitchen. It was the smell of comfort, the smell of calmness, yet something was marring its beauty. She knew immediately who the culprit was, and she knew immediately what she was about to do.

She removed the shirt as she walked through the kitchen and out the back door, revealing a hot, vibrant mix of undershirt colors that shouted out her personality. The wind had started up a bit. Maggie wrapped the shirt collar around the clothesline and pegged it fast. The wind whipped through the shirt weave, pushing out the last wisp of Mike’s fragrance.

Maggie turned and walked back into the kitchen...


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This article has been read 1352 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Crista Darr11/01/05
You've created a beautiful picture of the Wind (Holy Spirit) blowing the scent of sin away. Well written with a very lovely ending:)
Debbie Sickler11/02/05
I really like this. It has a good message, but isn't preachy. I liked the portrayal of the grandma.

So many great lines too like:
"...but the talkers of this world tend to conveniently dump their life history on one as quiet as Susan."

"Maggie’s back held up the inside of her apartment door,..."

"She smelt, she touched, she searched until there was nothing left to search through, and then Maggie cried all over again."

This was my favorite line:
"Bring her to the end of herself, so that she can find the beginning of You." This should be the prayer of all our hearts. Good job!
Lauren Bombardier11/02/05
Well-written with a good message. I think many of us have been in that situation to some respect.
terri tiffany11/02/05
I loved your style and how you presented this message. Very nicely done.
Jan Ackerson 11/02/05
I feel as if I know Maggie, just by the few words you've written here. Masterful.
Cassie Memmer11/02/05
You got a lot into that word limit! Where would any of us be without praying Grandmas or other loved ones? I enjoyed your story. And glad she/we can turn loose of those things that hold us away from what God has for us. I really enjoyed this story! Thanks!
Garnet Miller 11/03/05
How courageous of her! Letting go is the first and hardest step. Great story:)
Joanne Malley11/03/05
Interesting approach to the subject. Enjoyed reading it. :)
Linda Watson Owen11/03/05
What a touching and winsome story. I agree about those lines being great quotes. Well done indeed!
Shari Armstrong 11/03/05
Well told! great job!
B Brenton11/04/05
Well done. I really got to know the characters. It was original and intriguing. Has to be a winner!
Julianne Jones11/04/05
What an incredible allegory of the hold sin has over us and our reluctance to leave it behind. Well done.
Debbie OConnor11/04/05
Awesome writing. I could see Maggie, Susan and Gwenyth. Especially Gwenyth! I love her. I agree with the comment about the great lines, too. You have a way with words! :)
Nina Phillips11/05/05
Great story, and I love the title with it. You described each charactor so well that I felt as though they were real, and people that I can associate with. Endearing message. Good work! God bless ya, littlelight
Val Clark11/06/05
Particularly loved: 'Gwyneth, Maggie needs your prayers' and Gwyneth's immediated obedience. Also the well written thumbnail sketches of all your characters that made them come alive.