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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Facepalm (05/15/14)

TITLE: Proud As a Peacock
By Judith Gayle Smith


Like Narcissus eagerly viewing himself in a mirror-bright lake, reminiscent of greedy vultures circling over an unfortunate splattered road kill, to screaming kids slippery-splashing a soaking waterslide – I faithfully arrive at my once-weekly adoring fan club.

Not a moment slips by without mega hugs and fervent cheek kisses. This is a coterie of dear friends sharing time, activity, rumors, camaraderie and variably satisfying lunches. We are comfortable with each other, and the compliments flow richly.

I have been “adopted” by a little gal, half my size, who showers me with love and thoughtfulness big time. She gifts me with her special treasures, and often embarrasses me to tears. I love this little creature, and, of course, bask in the glow of me seen through her eyes.

She is artistically gifted, and scheduled to teach a painting class. When she hissed “sit still”, I, preening my imaginative glossy feathers, did indeed sit still, slanting my eye in the direction of the unfamiliar whisperer who affectionately demanded that I pose frozen in her time, all while maintaining animated conversations and being blessed by those petting and stroking my not so very humble ego. I obediently presented my best side to her. To reward me, as soon as she finished a rough pencil sketch of me – she showed me her handiwork.

I, being of Slavic/Hungarian/White Russian Jew ancestry, was delighted that she very nicely captured my high cheekbones and apple red cheeks. She sketched the twinkle in my Thompson Seedless Grape-green eyes, and my somewhat shy smile as I worked to subdue my smitten gratefulness for her choosing me as her object d’art.

This talented artiste vibrates of the social anime. We sometimes share our dark sides through our writing, but most often we are shimmering bubbles bumping and bouncing off each other. And rarely, but beautifully, when two bubbles “kiss” and merge into one, our friendship deepens, the flatteries become truths, and communication has truly “become.”

True friendship is a rare gift. She and I both have volatile tempers, but share the gift of compassion, instantly forgiving through and despite emotional flare-ups. I trust her, she trusts me, and “if we should ever disagree – here’s to you.”

The following week, arriving in time for even more moist kisses and bear hugs (which I adore giving and getting; I now use a smear-proof lipstick) I eagerly awaited my highly anticipated portrait. It wasn’t finished, the paint wasn’t yet dry, and so I was persuaded to wait another week to sweeten the fun.

Back again the following week, delighting with friends loving, hugging, kissing, gossiping and eating heartily – and my gifted gal friend arrives with a red folder. Building the suspense she apologizes profusely for painting black lines on my face. Well, my overactive imagination attempted to soothe her worries, planning soft shadings.

Did I mention that I was unfamiliar with her style of artistry, what artists influenced her, what medium fueled her imaginings?

When she opened the red folder

My hand slapping my cheek
quickly moved to cover
my sputter-stuttering mouth.

A riotous explosion of crimson, peacock feather blues, rainforest and emerald green, saffron yellows and shocking black flashed incredulously before my astonished and unprepared eyes. Matisse and Picasso nudged me moments before I opened my poorly trained lips to voice what my wide-eyed retinas synapsed to my unbelieving brain.

She captured my green eyes with reddish-brown eye shadow, black eyeliner (but no eyelashes?), my long wavy hair a potpourri of colors and textures. She gave me a black beauty mark and a bright red heart (on separate cheeks, of course) – and definitely rendered my leopard cowgirl hat in a frenzy of eye-of-the-peacock brilliance.

Friends clustered about, eager to see. I heard uneasy rumblings of “what on earth”; several sotto voiced “I thought they were friends” - to feverish admiration – comparing her work to Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

I’m glad that my foolishly flapping hand found safety and quieting rest upon my overeager mouth. I must sharpen my aesthetic eye a bit, and check out artistes beyond my beloved Norman Rockwell of “The Saturday Evening Post” fame.

Dear Father, I’m a vain, colorful screeching peacock. I love people fussing over me, complimenting me, passionately seeking my ear for advice that best be Godly, not worldly.

As I write, I see myself as You must see me. I’m ashamed of my prideful gaudiness and garrulousness. Please keep me ever Kavanah-mindful of You, so when people see me they see You . . .

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This article has been read 407 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/22/14
This is superb!

God bless~
Joe Moreland05/24/14
Wow. That's about what I have to say. There are not a lot of opportunities to compare a piece of writing to artwork, but this is one of them. Your artistry shows through in your language and the way you string your words together. The best part is that you did not sacrifice your message to accomplish it.

Great work!
lynn gipson 05/25/14
As usual, your writing leaves me breathless. Your descriptive words have me searching the dictionary for their meanings, as I am from the south, and somewhat backwoods in my vocabulary. I learn so much from you.

What a great take on the spot on version of the topic.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fine piece! Excellent.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/25/14
What a comedown you presented for a proud person. Your message at the end was just right. Good story!
Graham Insley05/29/14
The words paint a picture as vivid as the picture that was painted -- or words to the effect.

You vocabulary always leaves me wondering what I just read -- in a delightful way.

C D Swanson 05/29/14
God bless~
lynn gipson 05/29/14
Congrats on your well deserved placing! Happy, happy day!
Susan LeDoux05/29/14
lynn gipson 05/29/14
Congratulations once again on the EC! Sorry I missed it the first time. I "proud as a peacock for you!"

Great writing here, truly!

Blessings, Lynn
Trudy Newell 05/30/14
Hi Judy -

What can I say? I was planning to send you a critique - but that's not necessary.

Congratulations on your win. Well done!

Bea Edwards 06/04/14
Another vividly scripted and delightful story.

You are a Matisse with words!