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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Tie (02/28/13)

TITLE: The Date
By Leola Ogle


Jonathan struggled for the third time to get the knot right in the tie before giving up and throwing it on the bed. “I just won’t wear a tie,” he grumbled.

“What?” he growled in response to a knock on the door.

“It’s us, Jonny. Can we come in?”

“Yeah, sure,” Jonathan responded to his twin sisters, Bella and Lola. They bounced into the room and hopped onto the bed, giggling as only eight-year-olds can.

“Jonny’s going on a date,” Bella sang, Lola joining in.

“Stop, or I’ll make you leave.” Jonathan shook his finger as he grabbed the tie.

“Whatcha wearing a tie for?” Lola asked, putting her hands over her mouth and giggling.

“Cause,” he answered, giving up after one more try.

“How come we can’t go on a date? Ask Mommy if we can go on a date,” Bella said, getting on her knees and bouncing.

Jonathan sighed, rummaging through the closet in pursuit of a clip-on tie. “No, you can’t go. You’re both too young for dates. Besides, this is special.”

“What you gonna do on your date?”

“Go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Maybe I’ll order a hamburger, though. What do think about that?” Jonathan grinned at his sisters. He used to consider them pests, but during the past six months, he’d tried to be more patient with them.

The girls watched as he sorted through several clip-on ties. “My friend Caroline says people kiss on dates,” Bella said, and Lola giggled.

“Don’t be silly. You’re both silly-heads. What do you like better? The blue striped or the gray plain?” Jonathan held up two ties for his sisters’ inspection.

“Blue,” both girls said at once.

“Blue it is then.” Jonathan clipped it on and looked at himself in the full length mirror. Turning around to face the girls, he asked, “So? Do I look handsome?”

“You look funny. That’s Daddy’s suit.” Bella puckered out her lower lip.

“Yes, Daddy’s suit. It makes me sad,” Lola said, moving closer to Bella and taking her hand.

Jonathan glanced at his sisters, afraid they would start crying. He just couldn’t deal with his sisters crying today. “Okay, let’s play a game. Tell me fun things to do on a date. Bella, you start.”

The girls spent five minutes going back and forth picking things like a movie, playing in the park, going to the zoo, shopping for toys, and going ice skating. When they tired of it, they looked bored, and then pensive.

“How old can we be to go on a date, Jonny?” Bella asked.

“Yeah, Jonny, how old?” Lola chimed in.

“Thirty!” Jonathan replied, grinning from ear to ear. It produced what he wanted. Both girls rolled on the bed in laughter.

“Caroline’s sister said boys that don’t drive aren’t fun dates. You don’t drive, Jonny. You’re fifteen,” Bella said.

“Yeah, Jonny. You don’t drive. Who’s driving on your date?” Lola asked, placing her hands on her hips.

Jonathan ran his hands through his hair. “Duh! Mom’s driving.” He stood to look at himself in the mirror again, studying his reflection. The suit was a little big, but not too much. It felt awkward and uncomfortable, and he considered changing, but decided not to.

When he turned to look at his sisters, he saw they both were crying. “No, no, don’t cry. Please. It will make Mom sad.”

“You look like Daddy,” Lola said, her chin quivering.

“I miss Daddy. I want him to come back. We both want him to come home,” Bella said, wiping her hand under her nose.

Jonathan stood, feeling the tears brimming in his own eyes. He sat next to his sisters and pulled them close. “I miss Dad, too. I wish he could come back, but he can’t. You both know that. Today is a special day. It’s Mom’s birthday. Dad asked me if I could be the one to take her on a date to their special restaurant. He knew he couldn’t, knew he wouldn’t be here. He bought her a gift. You want to see?”

The girls nodded, so Jonathan went to a drawer and pulled out a small brightly wrapped box. “I don’t want to mess up the wrapping. Dad did himself. It’s a gold heart necklace. Think Mom will be happy?”

The girls nodded. “Can you show us again Afghanistan on the map so we can see where Daddy is?” Lola asked. “And tell us how many days til he comes home.”

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This article has been read 495 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen03/07/13
Wow, first you had me totally captivated with the prepping and primping and then you had me in tears… and then had me smiling again at the end! This was such a wonderfully written story that evoked one emotion after another with its twists and turns! Terrific job!
Noel Mitaxa 03/08/13
Have to agree with Linda. You so skilfully pulled back the dust that has gathered in heavy layers over the memories of the stress of teenage years. But the twist at the end was a real winner! Great work.
Margaret Kearley 03/08/13
This is wonderful, what a story and what a surprise ending. Your descriptions of the two eight year olds is spot on! Just lovely to read, - moving, humerous, touching, full of love and care. Thank you for such a great story.
Cheryl Harrison03/08/13
Awwww ... this brought tears to my eyes. Lovely, touching story. Good job.
Allen Povenmire 03/09/13
Such fine writing and you stuck the landing! The finish was a surprise and an emotional one at the. Very nice.
Allison Egley 03/09/13
Oh wow. I loved this. I especially loved the ending, knowing that Dad is still alive. You did a great job building emotion.
Virgil Youngblood 03/09/13
You did a great job of building suspense with a delightful story and throwing a great curve ball ending. Excellent.
Alicia Renkema03/10/13
With the sister's remark about kissing on dates as well as some of the other dialogue, I was totally convinced for most of the story that the date was with a girl, a peer,. There were so many wonderful twists and turns in your story... The dialogue with the sisters was priceless, their energy and giggles one moment and tears at missing their dad the next. The MC's wanting to look just perfect. And the end, was the best, the dad was still alive. He wasn't in the safest of places but there was still hope that he would come home to his family who missed him so much! How wonderful too at the thoughtfulness of this husband / father who thought to prepare in advance this special gift and evening with their sweet son. Wonderful, imaginative writing. Thanks for such a clever and fun read.
Vince Martella03/10/13
Very nice job. The twists and turns were so well done and the playful dialogue was a pleasure to read. Good writing.
Danielle King 03/10/13
Oh this is priceless. You kept us all guessing and wow, what an ending. Great writing.
Judith Gayle Smith03/10/13
Thank you for melting my heart. Giggles, struggles, poignancy and sheer sweetness. Great job.
Francy Judge 03/11/13
I loved this from beginning to end. And of course I had tears too. This was so well written and lovely to read.
Bea Edwards 03/12/13
Great writing...I had no idea that Jonny was preparing for a date with his mom. Then I assumed their dad had been killed.
Your happy ending was perfect! All around original and fun story. Well done.
Christina Banks 03/14/13
Wow! Let me brush the tears off my cheeks so I can see what I'm typing. This was a very moving piece. I loved the character of the children and their emotions of missing their father. I have a brother who has done two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, so this story really spoke to me. Congratulations on your EC!
Alicia Renkema03/14/13
A well deserved win, congratulations, this was a special piece!
C D Swanson 03/14/13
Congratulations Leola!
God bless~
Linda Goergen03/14/13
Congratulations on your EC Leola...so well deserved!
Danielle King 03/16/13
Congratulations Leola. This is a well deserved win.
Charla Diehl 03/20/13
I have to echo all the comments above--I truly enjoyed the MC and the twists and turns of emotions. Congrats on placing 4th with this true-to-life piece.