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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)

TITLE: Oh That I Had Wings
By janet rubin


Ann hunched over her desk, staring at her paper and trying to block out the taunts of other students.

“Hey Grease, wanna help us after school? We’re gonna fry some chicken. We could use the oil from your face.” Charlie Gibbs howled at his ridiculous joke and the others snickered.

“No man,” Shane laughed, “I want her to come change the oil in my car. I bet we could squeeze a few quarts out of her hair!”

Ann scribbled furiously on her notebook, the image of a dove taking shape beneath her pencil. The words that had become her daily mantra repeated in her mind—oh that I had wings like a dove... It was from a Psalm. She couldn’t remember which one— hadn’t read her Bible in a long time—but remembered that David said it. He’d known what it was like to be tormented, to long for escape.

But where could she go? Not church. She’d tried that, but youth group wasn’t much different. Though the kids didn’t openly ridicule her, they wouldn’t include her. She felt even lonelier at church than she did at school, couldn’t make sense of such treatment from her “brothers and sisters.” After a month, she’d quit.

Ann missed the days when she was younger and attended Bible club. It hadn’t seemed to matter if you were pretty or cool. She’d memorized more verses and won more awards than anyone. That was the last time she could remember feeling special.

Jenna, a cheerleader, was at it now, her voice full of disgust. “Oh my gosh. How can you guys stand to sit by her? If one of those zits pops, you’ll probably drown.” The group cackled wildly.

I wish I could fly. She erased the dove’s beak and began to sketch the face of a girl there, then replaced the tail feathers with human legs and feet. Now a winged girl soared across the page, her hair whipping in the wind.

“Ann Miller!” Lost in her flight-fantasy, Ann hadn’t noticed her teacher’s arrival. How many times had she called?

Ann peered up through her overgrown bangs. “Huh?”

“Do you think you could wake up and join us, Ann?”

Snorts of laughter surrounded her. She tried to ignore the whispered insults. “She probably couldn’t hear because her ears are full of grease…”

Ann avoided the cafeteria, hiding in bathroom stalls like David in the caves of En Gedi, or finding other pointless errands to kill time. Sometimes she’d go to the nurse’s office and ask for a tissue. Or she’d open her locker and pretend to be searching for something. Anything to avoid the emotional torture that awaited in the unsupervised lunchroom.

Today, she wandered the halls aimlessly, out of ideas. She was tired of this endless cycle—hiding, hurting, hating. The years until graduation loomed before her like impassable mountains. She just wanted it to end. Turning a corner, she nearly collided with the vice-principal.

“Where are you supposed to be?”


He glared at her over the top of his thick glasses. “I suggest you get there.”

Ann scurried down the hall, but passed the lunchroom door. No way. She wouldn’t go in there. Instead, she headed for the exit, picking up speed, until she burst out into the fresh air and began to run. I’m going to fly.

Adrenaline pumped through her as she ran to the bridge. When she reached it, she slowed to a walk and began the ascent. Vehicles zoomed by indifferently, expelling exhaust that made her feel sick.

I’m going to fly away.

She reached the highest point and gazed down at the water. She’d given her heart to Jesus once; He’d take her home.

“God, I can’t stay here. It hurts too much.” She climbed halfway up the railing.

The clouds shimmered, illuminated by the sun. A verse she’d memorized came to mind. You shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds. She wished He’d come now. We shall meet the Lord in the air. The clouds drifted on.

She hoisted herself up to the next rung. Another verse popped into her head. Lo I am with you always. And another. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Tears seeped from her eyes. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart. She eased herself back to the ground. She wasn’t alone. And it wasn’t yet time to fly.

*Ps. 55:6, 34:18 1Thess. 4:17, Matt. 28:20, Heb. 13:5

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This article has been read 913 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharon Singley02/20/06
I personally have known people who were brought back from the edge by the Love of the Lord. And, like your story, it isn't always dramatic or noteworthy per say, He just whispers love into our minds. Beautiful story.
Maxx .02/21/06
This is nicely written on a very emotional topic. You captured the struggle well and really brought the characters home with your smooth delivery. I think this has a good shot at EC. Nice!
Reni Bumpas02/21/06
Great job capturing the pain kids create by their taunts, as well as the hope available from the One who will never leave nor forsake. "Oh that I had wings" has been a favorite verse of mine, particularly during difficult times when it expressed exactly how I felt. In fact, I shared it with a weeping sister just yesterday. You used it well.
Lynda Schultz 02/21/06
Ann was so very real. Well done.
Jessica Schmit02/22/06
This is one of those stories that you don't forget. Awesome writing, good suspense. All in all, a great job. I'm looking forward to seeing this place.
Venice Kichura02/23/06
Powerful message & so nicely written!
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/23/06
This was very well done! Good job.
Chris Clement02/23/06
Wow. Very nice story. I felt a pang of guilt while reading this story. I remember more than once cracking a joke at another's expense as a teen. Great job.
Joyce Simoneaux02/23/06
I remember when... Excellent story. God bless, Joyce
Cassie Memmer02/23/06
Very nicely written. You captured her feelings well. I wondered where her family was, were they helping her to deal with the hard times. I'm so glad you saved her from jumping-I was about to get upset if she had. LOL! I like satifying endings. Good job!
Pat Guy 02/23/06
Yes - the Holy Spirit bringing to memory God's Word when we need it! Wow! You had me captured in each sentence! I wanted to shake some sense into those kids. This was excellent!
Jan Ackerson 02/23/06
Unfortunately, you captured the world of high school perfectly. Excellent, excellent writing.
Anita Neuman02/23/06
Oh, my heart aches for her - especially knowing how realistic this is, even at church. You captured her emotion and pain so well. Great job!
Julianne Jones02/25/06
"... youth group wasn’t much different. Though the kids didn’t openly ridicule her, they wouldn’t include her. She felt even lonelier at church than she did at school." What a sad indictment on our churches today - but as a youth leader I know it's justified (and it's not just teens that feel left out). You''ve done a wonderful job of capturing Ann's pain and bringing her back from the edge. Powerful writing. Well done.

Shari Armstrong 02/25/06
Been there, avoiding the lunch room and the cruel classmates. Thankfully I never got to the level of dispair of the character, it was good to see how all those verses she memorized came back to her, just as God's word does when we need it most. Well done!
Marilyn Schnepp 02/25/06
What can I say that hasn't already been said. A heartwarming, yet sad story of life as a teen. Beautifully written! Loved it!
Dara Sorensen02/26/06
Amazing! High school wasn't that long ago for me and I do remember the cruelty of some of the kids. You brought out her emotional torment so vividly and I liked how you portrayed the small whispered voice in her heart as she nearly jumped. One of my favorites this week!
Beth Muehlhausen02/27/06
Wow, this is GREAT...you really grasped the realities of high-school culture and made your character's conflict come to life. Awesome!