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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Like Living in a Goldfish Bowl (11/07/13)

TITLE: Behind Closed Curtains
By Ann Menschel


Julie stood on the tiny porch waving good bye as the final car pulled out of the drive. She opened the door to her little bungalow and stepped into the living room. She put the folding chairs into the coat closet and retrieved the coffee cups scattered around the room, placing them in the kitchen sink. Gathering her pile of books, she stacked them neatly on the small desk in the corner of the room. Then she drew the curtains closed.

Sharon muted the commercial blaring on the TV. “Looks like the her Bible study is over for another week.”

Jeff looked up from the newspaper to glance across the street into Julie’s house. “Uh huh.”

“And now the curtains go closed, just like every evening,” Sharon added.

“Julie’s a woman of routine and order. Maybe you could learn something from that,” he said, pointedly looking around their cluttered living room.

Sharon unmuted the TV, ignoring the dig and continued to occasionally glance across the street.

An hour passed. The curtains opened. Julie picked up the phone, chatted for a while and then turned on the evening news. At the end of the broadcast, she switched off the TV and the living room lights, heading to the bedroom. The curtains were left open.

“I don’t get it,” said Sharon as she switched off their TV. “Why does she leave the living room curtains open day and night – like she doesn’t know or doesn’t care that people are watching – except for that hour or so every evening. It’s driving me crazy. What do you suppose she does behind those closed curtains?”

“If it bothers you that much, why don’t you just ask her?”

“If I ask her, she’ll know we watch what she’s doing.”

“We?” Jeff mocked.

“Well, if you ever did anything besides read want ads, maybe you would be curious too.”

“Okay, it does seem a little odd. It’s like she’s inviting the whole neighborhood to watch her life – except the time behind the curtains. Maybe that’s when she does her binge eating, or watches her soap operas or exercises in a skimpy spandex outfit,” Jeff speculated.

Sharon threw a pillow at Jeff and they headed to bed.

The next evening Julie fixed supper, dusted the living room, talked on the phone and watched a couple programs on TV. Sharon kept an eye on events across the street as usual. About nine o’clock, the curtains went closed.

“There she goes again,” Sharon said.

“Uh huh,” came the response from behind the newspaper.

With the curtains drawn, Julie sat down on the couch, a small journal in her hands. Before opening it, she closed her eyes. “Heavenly Father, as I come into Your sacred presence tonight, I continue to desire to be Your light to this community in which You have placed me. I ask that You use my life to show Your love to each of my neighbors. Please help Sharon and Jeff to . . . “

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This article has been read 207 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Rice 11/14/13
Nice approach to the topic and a nice story, too.

Lots of truth and human nature revealed in your story.

Thanks for sharing.
C D Swanson 11/15/13
Hauntingly beautiful and touching in many aspects. I loved the sentiment and the emotions of this well written piece.

I especially loved the closing prayer.

Good job!

God bless~
Don V. Standeford11/16/13
Mystery solved. Nice story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/21/13
Congratulations on ranking 3rd in your level and 15 overall! (You can find the highest rankings on the message board.)
C D Swanson 11/24/13
Congrats! God bless~