Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)
TITLE: Love is a Verb
By Venice Kichura
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“...The name of a person, a place, or a thing,” a classroom of bored seventh-graders mumbled, slumped in their seats.
“So lame,” a thirteen-year-old boy muttered at the back of room. “We covered nouns way back in third grade. Substitutes!”
“Aww, yes,….. substitutes!” Samantha Mullins smiled, sighing deeply. But, she was anything but bored, as she’d been studying Mr. Wood’s drop-dead gorgeous blue eyes all period. And she was taking notes, all right. Hearts with “Sammie and Michael Wood forever” were scribbled all over her notebook.
<I>I’m in love! Sure wish I were ten years older….Maybe he could, like wait for me? </I>She wondered, lost in her daydreaming.
“I’ve enjoyed being your teacher,“ Mr. Wood said. “But you’ll be relieved to hear that Mrs. Davis returns next week. “ His announcement pierced through Sammie’s thoughts like a sharp butcher knife as she froze in her seat in disbelief.
“For extra credit,” he continued, “choose one of your Valentine vocabulary nouns and write a poem. For example, you can write about….candy, hearts, love…”
<I>Love! That’s it. I’ll tell him how I feel, using this awesome noun, “love!” And…I just may get him, again, for a substitute.</I>
As the bell rang, ending the school day, Sammie wondered what kind of car he drove. She secretly followed him to the faculty parking lot. He stopped at the curb as an ocean blue Porsche pulled up, driven by a twenty-something-year-old blonde who had looked like Jennifer Aniston. Her heart sank as she saw him slide in and plant a lingering kiss on the lips of a woman whose car matched his Brad Pitt blue eyes.
<i> Should have known someone as hot as Mr. Wood would have a hot babe,</I> she sighed. <I>But I’m still writing my poem. Not sure how to compose it, but I do know about love.</I>
She trudged home. Walking through her front door, she was greeted by her 74-year-old grandmother who was babysitting her younger sisters.
Laying her baby sister down, Grammie hugged her oldest granddaughter. Her thoughtful timeworn gray eyes met Sammie‘s tear-stained ones.
“Milk and freshly baked Valentine cookies, Sammie?”
<I>Milk and cookies? Grammie means well but she thinks food cures everything. I’m 13---a woman now. Milk and cookies can’t heal a broken heart.</I>
“No thanks, Grammie. I have homework, so I’m going to head upstairs and get started,” she said, choking back tears as she ran up the stairs.
“Wait, Honey!” Grammie shouted. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Sammie stammered back, slamming her bedroom door.
<I>How could Grammie ever understand about love? My grandfather died long before I was even born and all Grammie does is hang out here and at church. If she’s always cooking, knitting prayer shawls, and babysitting, how could she ever fall in love, again?</I>
Plopping on her bed, Sammie pounded a pillow. Hot tears gushed out as water released from a dam. Then, calming down, she dug out her journal. But, after staring at a blank page for an hour, she went downstairs and plunked down at the kitchen table.
Burying her head, she said through muffled tears,”Grammie, I’m writing a poem for extra credit. We had to choose a noun from our Valentine vocabulary list, so I chose love…”
Although she thought an old woman like Grammie couldn’t understand, she went on, anyway, pouring out her heart,”There’s this good-looking substitute teacher we’ve had for three weeks…and he has, like the most intense blue eyes…A real hunk…He's awesome…”
“But,… it’s like, awful, Grammie…He’s leaving tomorrow and has a gorgeous, rich girlfriend I want to write a poem about the noun “love” and tell him how I feel. I know what love is..…I can’t eat…My heart flutters when he walks into the classroom…I’ve never felt like this before.”
Grammie just smiled and took Sammie into her arms, kissed away her tears.
Then she said, ”First, Honey, love is more of a verb than a noun. It’s something you do.”
“And about that crush on your teacher,” she continued. “Don’t tell your mom, but I’ve been sneaking out to the senior center. There’s this 94-year-old gentleman there with Frank Sinatra blue eye. And, would you believe he chose <I>me</I> to push his wheelchair? ! just wish he were twenty years younger….Every day he wakes up is a miracle for both of us!”
<I> Sammie and Grammie, both in love with older men? For an old woman, Grammie knows more about love than I thought!</I>.
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