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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)

TITLE: The Bracelet
By Jessica Schmit


She was different than the rest of us.

I remember when we were in grade one. I took Jamie Grants’ cookies. I offered Sarah one and she refused. Said it was wrong.

I ate the cookies.

She was weird. She made her own rules and stuck by them, but wouldn’t judge you if you didn’t agree with her. It was like she enjoyed obeying.

I know she loved her life.

When Sarah was in grade seven things started to change. People started to notice her learning problems. Jonathan started calling her really crude names. Other kids joined in. “better her than me” was their excuse.

I also gave that excuse.

Sarah never reacted to the teasing. One time I saw her crying after the kids said their “words.” But that was it. She didn’t yell or swear, even when they were swearing at her. She didn’t care what they thought about her.

I cared what people thought.

It didn’t seem Sarah even realized how unpopular she was. She always said that she was accepted just the way she was. I don’t know where she heard that. Wasn’t at school.

Sure wasn’t from me.

To me Sarah was cool, but I never told her. I never told anyone. I knew she had some problems learning in school, but who didn’t? There were so many times when I wanted to tell the kids to leave her alone.

But I didn’t.

Sarah gave me a letter one day. She said she thought I was a nice person and liked my art. No one had ever told me they liked my drawings. I never replied to her letter.

I should’ve.

This one time some guys threw mud all over her dress right before class pictures. We all laughed. Her mom had to pick her up.

I don’t know how upset she was. I never asked.

Sarah wore a little bracelet around her wrist. I thought it was corny and stupid. “W.W.J.D.” it read. She told everyone what it stood for. The only time I had heard the name “Jesus” was when my dad yelled at my mom. She loved that bracelet. Said it wasn’t just words. Said it was “her life.”

I thought she was crazy.

Yesterday something happened. Something I’ll never forget. The kids didn’t want Sarah at school no more. They said they hated her so much it made them sick. I thought the crack they were smoking was doing that. But I never said anything.

I never do.

Jonathan sent Sarah an invitation to a birthday party down at the river. Sarah was so excited. She hadn’t been to a party since the third grade.

I always meant to invite her.

There were ten of us. Eleven including Sarah. Sarah came wearing a geeky pink flowered dress. The kind a grandma would wear. She had this sickening sweet smile plastered on her face. It made Jonathan real mad. He started throwing rocks at her. Then everyone joined in. I didn’t know what to do, so I started throwing too.

I’ve always wanted to fit in.

My rock hit her head. I’ll never forget that sound. She fell. Everyone closed in around her. They started hitting her. They used sticks, rocks, even their feet. I couldn’t look. I could hear her screaming. She was crying. She kept asking them to stop. I heard her praying. She kept saying she was “coming home.” Don’t know what that meant. Then she stopped crying. Everyone starting running. I walked over to Sarah. Blood was everywhere. I hardly recognized her. Then I saw that stupid bracelet. Somehow it came off. She was holding it. Like it was the only thing that could save her.

It didn’t. She’s dead.

I wish I stuck up for her. I wish I phoned her that day she left school crying. I wish I invited her to my birthdays and asked her to play volleyball. I wish I listened to her when she tried talking to me. I wish I never picked up that rock.

But I did.

Sarah had something the rest of us didn’t. “Purpose” she called it. She said a Christian life was full of hope, joy and purpose. Funny, it didn’t seem to work for her.

Or maybe it did.

I was so scared at what they would think of me. I guess that’s my problem. I’ve always been too scared.

Sarah never was. Not even at the river.

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This article has been read 1305 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Teri Wilson06/01/06
Folakemi Emem-Akpan06/01/06
This is excellent writing but I hope to God that this is not a true story.
Helen Paynter06/01/06
Wow! That's a really chilling story - desperately moving, inspiring, and (to this mother of three little girls that I desperately want to grow up doing what Jesus would do)scary. Fantastic, crisp, writing. Well done.
James Clem 06/02/06
I really like this style of writing - short sentences and introspective - very well done.

The death of this girl is unsettling (as it should be.) I would have preferred Sarah taken away in an ambulance and the narrator expressing a desire to talk with her...

But that's just pure personal preference, not a citique.

Joanne Malley06/02/06
You posessed a very distinct writing style in this story - I liked it. Great job. :)
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/03/06
This is a very powerful and well-written story. Wow!
Brenda Craig06/04/06
It reminds me of how often the Holy Spirit prompts us and we go on about our business, not realizing the consequences. Wonderful job!
Jan Ackerson 06/04/06
Like James, I loved your writing style here--the paragraphs, then the short sentences of reflection. This story is breathtaking, almost allegorical.
T. F. Chezum06/04/06
Very powerful, very well written. It is a very real look at how people often regret what they have done, or didn't do.

I thought the ending, although sad, emphasized the point very well.
Maxx .06/04/06
Very artistic ... the style had an almost poetic rhythm to it. Very well done. I like that you tackled a dark segment of life and that it didn't get tied up in a neat little ending. Good work. I think there were a couple of breaks in dialect and maybe a scene or two that weren't quite polished as well as the others. Minor things. The piece packed a punch and you taught us faith in action and that life has purpose. Great job!
Shari Armstrong 06/04/06
Powerful -every teen and teen parent needs to read this.
Debbie OConnor06/05/06
This gave me chills. I think you told the story beautifully. The ending was horrible, but possible, and very powerful. Always going along, never speaking up...wow. Never know where you might end up.

I love the girl holding the bracelet at the end, as if it was the only thing that could save her.

Edy T Johnson 06/05/06
A sad character study.
Rachel Rudd 06/05/06
Wow, Jessica, yes, it is dark, but it's powerful...the extremes of peer pressure and where they can lead you. The style of writing fit well with the story. Well-done!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/06/06
Jessica, this is powerful writing. What a message wrapped in a brilliant package of talented writing.
Dara Sorensen06/06/06
So dark but so powerful!
Lynda Lee Schab 06/07/06
Yes, I definitely would describe your piece as disturbing - but that's a good thing! As a writer, you did an excellent job. Easy to follow, it flowed smoothly, and caused me to almost "have to" keep reading, even though I was dreading the outcome. How many of us can put ourselves into the narrator's shoes? Maybe not to the point of literally killing someone but still... the only tiny flaw I could find was the relation to "purposefulness" - it seemed a little tacked on at the end. But then again, I had the same problem with my own entry this week LOL.
All in all, a great entry - a definite contender. :-)
Suzanne R06/07/06
So sad ... but very well written. I too liked the way the narrator would tell us a bit about life back then, then his short description of his own response or regrets.

I wondered how he could know it was his own rock that hit her head? Surely there was a volley of rocks thrown? Maybe not?

Disturbing but very effective. Well done.
Rachel Rudd 06/08/06
You go girl! Congratulations! What a powerful piece! CONGRATULATIONS!
Sherry Wendling06/08/06
Jess...Now I can talk. I read this story twice, and it choked me up to the point of total loss of words. I finally gave up on trying to comment...But I'm SO GLAD this won!!!!! And my buddy Jess is the author...Oh wow, oh wow! My deepest congrats. You're on a rocket to Mars, girl!
Trina Courtenay06/08/06
Hey Jess...I too was so deeply touched I was unable to comment. I'm so glad this placed. I believe every young child should read this piece. You should try to have it published. I can see it now...you'll have so many offers you won't know which one to chose...but Our Lord and Savoir will show you your direction.

God Bless!! :)
Sally Hanan06/08/06
Well now Jessica, it seems that all your fears of not being good enough for Masters were for naught! As for writing a sucky entry, I somehow don't think it's possible for you to do that :)
Anita Neuman06/08/06
Whoa, Jess! This is incredible writing. Just incredible. I wish I'd had time to read it earlier in the week so I'd be one of the first ones saying how amazing it is. But here I am at the end of a very long list of fans. Well, please know, sweet girl, that you are indeed a very talented writer and I am pleased to call you friend! (And pleased to be tagging along behind you in the winner's circle.)
Crista Darr06/09/06
What a disturbing piece! Yikes, the fruit of the fear of man. I'm so happy to see your writing soaring to such heights. Keep it up!
Venice Kichura06/10/06
All I can say is WOW!!!

Jessica, this is truly an awesome entry & you totally deserve your win!