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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bark is Worse than His/Her Bite (10/17/13)

TITLE: The Mirror Doesn't Lie and Neither Does the Pastor
By
10/21/13


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The visage countering my own has many wrinkles. There are five parallel above the eyebrows. They are deep-set and extend all the way across the forehead. Between the narrow eyes are two vertical lines. These must have been caused from years of squinting. Three shorter lines at the outside corners of each eye indicate an upward movement of the facial muscles such as what occurs with smiling or laughter. A long vertical wrinkle also appears on each side of the mouth and thus would further indicate this person smiles and laughs with frequency.

“Strange.” I say.

Further examination of the clothing reveals more of the personality. The sweatshirt is a simple grey type as one would see a jogger wearing on a brisk winter day. The pants are a loose but moderately fitted denim variety. The feet are dressed in a round toe purple and plaid flat shoe. The only jewelry is small square studs in each ear. The lack of a wedding ring indicates singularity.

“Strange. Strange.” I say.

The door behind me opens and my pastor enters.

“Good afternoon Ms. Nell. What can I do for you today?” He is jovial and from the dusty look of his attire must have been working in his wood shop.

I continue to stare into the gilded mirror hanging on the wall to the right of his desk. I rub my neck and lean in a little closer.

“Pastor, if I were to die right now, what would you say about me at my funeral?” I can hear the joy escape him like air from a balloon.

His chair squeaks as he leans back into it. He rubs his chin and looks at me over his eyeglasses as if to say, “Are you serious?”

I turn and sit across from him. He is a large man with nary a wrinkle. His face has a pink tone to it that matches nicely with his silver hair. His hands are clasped now in his lap. I notice his ring finger is swollen so that it looks like his wedding band is cutting off his circulation. There is saw dust on his pants leg and part of me wants to reach out and swat it off. I sustain and wait for his answer.

“Ms. Nell, you know what I would say about you. I’d talk about how long you have a member of our church and how you baked the very best coconut cake. I’d tell everyone how much you loved Jesus.”

He seems very satisfied with his answer. However it’s not enough for me.

“Phooey.” I say.

“Pardon me, Nell?” He stammers.

“I said phooey. Everyone knows already that I have been a member here for over fifty years and Lord knows how many coconut cakes I’ve made over the years for every bake sale. If I didn’t love Jesus, I wouldn’t be at church for this long or making that many cakes. What I want to know is would you tell folks how I really am?” By now, my blood pressure is starting to rise.

“Ok, Nell. Here is what I’ll tell them. I’ll tell them that Nell was a cranky old lady that hung around here for fifty years. The only thing sweet about her was the delicious coconut cakes she made for every bake sale. I’d tell them that if you ever asked her to do anything, she’d complain and say she couldn’t. Then, the next thing you know, she had done it in secret. I’d tell them that we had to ask her to stop teaching Children’s Church because she yelled too much at the kids. Then I would remind them how she got the most Valentine’s cards from the kids every year. At last, I’d tell them that although she despised driving to church at night because she couldn’t see well, she would do it anyway because she loved Jesus.” His face is slightly redder now than it had been a few minutes ago.

“That’s perfect.” I say.

On my way out, I take one final glance in the mirror and smile. This time the visage indicates a satisfied woman that knows on her last day here on earth, at least the pastor will tell the story just like the lines read.


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This article has been read 128 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Rose Hudson10/25/13
That was a wonderful piece, thank you!
Danielle King 10/25/13
An out of the box story, well told. I love all the little details and the way your story unfolds. You're correct in saying the mirror doesn't lie. For that reason I stopped looking into one years ago!
Judith Gayle Smith10/25/13
Most enjoyable! Gave me a greater appreciation of wrinkles. They are not only frown or smile lines - they are untold stories waiting to be unfolded. Thank you.
CD Swanson 10/27/13
Loved it. I've often heard my patients/clients who live in nursing homes, that they've earned each and every wrinkle and how they embrace them. This story touched me.

Thank you. God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/27/13
This is a great piece. I love how you took a fresh and original take on the topic. It left me smiling and nodding my head.

For me, the beginning was a tad slow. I think it might have been the sentence structures. For example the line starting with Between is an incomplete sentence. Also I might have rearranged the opener to clarify and tighten it up. I had to read it a couple of times Ex:The visage countering my own has five wrinkles running parallel above my eyebrows.
Also remember when using taglines, you should use a comma instead of a period inside the quote . Ex: "I'm going home," he said.

Once I got into the story, I was totally hooked. I wasn't sure where you were going and found myself hanging onto every word, eager to see where you were taking me. This is one of my favorites this week. It really stands out. It also makes me look at myself in a different way. Excellent writing.
CD Swanson 10/31/13
Jennifer,

Congratulations on your lovely story. It was an amazing piece.

God bless you~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/02/13
Congratulations on placing 4th in your level and 12th overall!