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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Flat (01/03/13)

TITLE: Divine Effervescence
By Mary Annthipie Bane


Maggie felt a tear slide down her cheek as she looked at an old photo. She saw the picture of a smiling girl, so happy she seemed to sparkle with joy. How different from the sad expression that she felt on her own face. The girl in the photo had something that Maggie had lost, yet the face in the photo was hers.

Maggie was home alone once again. She was waiting for her husband Kyle. He was working late and she knew it would be hours before he returned. “More married to his job than to me” she often thought and had accused in endless rants.

“My marriage is one long argument” Maggie realized. “I need to get out of this house” she thought, deciding to go for a drive.

It was now eight o’clock. She knew that Kyle would not be home until ten, which was the norm these days. She knew he was working to provide a better life, but all Maggie wanted was more time together. She so disliked the time apart. She decided to drive across town to the neighborhood where she grew up. She listened to music on the Christian radio station.

“Why do I feel, discouraged, why do the shadows fall”, that was just how Maggie felt, discouraged. She wished she could turn back the pages of her life to a happier time, to feel like the girl in the photo.

Maggie drove to the diner and upon entering was greeted by the aroma of fresh coffee, baked goods and french fried potatoes. A slight smile appeared on her face but quickly faded as she looked at a group of giggling teens. “Those were the days my friend”, she muttered. Maggie sat down at the counter, felt the soft padding of the red vinyl cushion and swiveled in the seat.

“What can I get ya?” the waitress asked.

“Not sure.” Maggie answered with a sigh and as she looked up was surprised to see the face of an old friend.

“Fran is that you?” Maggie asked.

“Well I should say it’s me the question is, is it you? Maggie, I haven’t seen you in ages.”

“Oh, it’s me, but I don’t feel very much like myself these days.”

“Now that you mention it Maggie you do look a little down, I’d know that pretty face anywhere but you look like you've lost your best friend.”

Maggie did feel like she was losing her best friend, she felt so lonesome.

“I’m just not myself these days Frannie.”

“Well then how about a nice cup of coffee and some girl talk” Fran offered.

Maggie was grateful to have found someone to confide in.

Over several cups of coffee, in between Fran helping other customers, Maggie shared her story.

“You know Maggie, I’m sorry for your trouble, you look as low as anyone I've ever seen. If you don’t mind my saying so, it seems to me that you've put your hopes in the wrong person. It sounds like Kyle is working hard to provide for you both, maybe he’s gone overboard a bit, but maybe you've gone a bit overboard yourself.”

“What do you mean Frannie?”

“You’re so busy being mad and resentful. Instead, how about you try to encourage Kyle. Have you thanked him, and most importantly have you prayed for him?”

Maggie realized that the answer was no.

“When we put our trust in anyone but God for happiness we’re bound to be disappointed.”

Maggie knew this was true.

“Mags, you need a dose of divine effervescence, you’re flat my friend, like yesterday’s soda pop. You need to reconnect to the source of all joy, you won’t find that anywhere but in God alone. He will provide what you need and what you need is to change your perspective and to look at your situation through the eyes of the Lord.”

After spending about an hour with Fran and promising to come back “real soon”, Maggie drove home. While she drove she prayed and sang along to the radio “heaven came down and glory filled my soul.”

Divine effervescence, she had tapped into the source once again, she felt changed and she was ready to give her marriage a fresh start. When Kyle arrived home Maggie gave a hug, a kiss, a thank you and an apology for not being a friend, to him. Maggie felt once again like the girl in the photo.

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This article has been read 377 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dannie Hawley 01/10/13
Beautifully done! I love this story and wish it could be sent to every wife of a working man around the globe. You've really put things in the proper perspective here and given an answer to the flat feelings. Indeed, God is the answer to our loneliness and unfulfilled expectations. You've captured the essence of the situation in so few words! Brilliant!
Lori Dixon01/10/13
Great story! One thing I've been working on is showing instead of telling. I bought a great quick read on the topic, 'Bring your writing to life' by Amy Wiley if you're interested.
Nicely done!
Theresa Santy 01/11/13
Awe! That ending made my eyes well up.

You did a great job setting the mood with your choice of phrasing. When I was plodding along with Maggie, I felt her low energy, her lack of joy. With Fran, with every word or action she took, I felt her high energy. I felt her 'soda pop' effervesence. And even though Fran was inn-your-face about Jesus, it felt real, deep, and not in-your-face. It felt loving.

Great message. Great application of theme.

My only comment is this: When you are expressing a thought process like this,

“My marriage is one long argument” Maggie realized. “I need to get out of this house” she thought, deciding to go for a drive...

Consider writing it something like this,

Her marriage is one long argument. She needed to get out of the house, so she went for a drive.
Eddie Snipes01/11/13
Great message. Very true and a good reminder that our hopes should never be in a person - other than Christ.
Lollie Hofer01/11/13
This is an excellent story with a great message. Your first paragraph grabbed my interest right away. The pace of the story was strong with believable dialogue. Extremely well done in my humble opinion.
C D Swanson 01/12/13
Wow - this was a powerful entry. It touched me. Nicely done. God bless~
lynn gipson 01/16/13
Just goes to show that old friends are the best friends. She helped Maggie find herself. I really enjoyed this. Super job. You write with feeling and have a great way of sharing them.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/16/13
This is a powerful story. You did a nice job with the topic. I saw her flat affect right away and was drawn in.

I noticed some missing punctuation, especially in the dialog. Instead of using taglines like she said, try to paint a picture. She hung her head as her shoulders drooped. "I've been feeling flat." That way you can identify the speaker while developing the characters.

I could so relate to the MC. I'm sure many people can these days too. Life isn't easy. Some think if you are a Christian, then you don't have problems. But we know it means that God gives us the strength we need, along with a friend to boost our spirits. I really enjoyed this piece.
Bea Edwards 01/16/13
I really enjoyed this piece and especially how you tied the topic to Divine Effervescence-interesting and well done!