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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Soul (07/13/06)

TITLE: The Quarter
By Pat Guy
07/20/06


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She dug deep, deep, deep, down to the bottom of her purse moving everything out of the way. A quarter. That’s all she needed – was a quarter. Surely there’s got be some loose change down here somewhere!

The mumbles in the line behind her intensified the urgency to find the desperately needed twenty-five cents. How can prices jump so high so quickly?

Tess was embarrassed.

With her daughter in the cart already eating out of the box of cereal, she just couldn’t put back the milk. Ellie was hungry. Tonight was supposed to be cereal AND milk.

Tess felt as empty as her purse.

A hand unobtrusively slid a quarter onto the black tarp to the cashier. Tess looked over to a man busy with rearranging his waiting groceries. She noticed his hands. He must have been burned badly. I wonder ..? She felt a need to touch them. The cashier rang up the sale.

‘Mommy, I’m thirsty.’

Tess felt relieved, thankful, grateful … humbled. For although it was only a quarter, it may as well have been a million dollars – she had nothing. But she did have a whole gallon of milk to take home tonight.

She putt, putted home in her extremely used car.


The remote seemed to flip channels on its own, so a foggy Tess aroused herself out of the kind of twilight sleep that makes one wonder if they really are – asleep. Besides, something tugged at her – somewhere deep, deep, deep down inside her. Words? A song? What was it that was just on this channel?

‘Can a mother forget her baby … I will not forget you … I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;’*

Hands, scars, engraved? A quarter? Not forget?

Illumination banished the heavy fog of sleep. The light began as a soft glow from the bottom of her soul and surged to the top, and flowed through her arms and legs. At least, that’s what it felt like to her.

She flipped the remote furiously trying to find the same channel about Hands that were engraved with her name and scarred by her sins.

‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’*

White as snow …she sighed, I wish ...

That night, Tess reached out and touched the Hands that bore her name. She held on to them with all her life.


A quarter. It may as well have been a million dollars – she had nothing. But she did have something that was as white as snow, and as pure as the scars wet with her tears … a soul not forgotten – a soul paid in full.















*Isaiah 49:15-16
*Isaiah 1:18
©2006


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This article has been read 1052 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany07/20/06
Wow...I mean this...I'm jealous.:) This moved me to the point of tears. At first I wondered why you wrote about the guy's hand and then you so perfectly tied it together. Your phrases flow and are so descriptive. I have to say that this is powerful and full of strong meaning...the kind I like to see. The only part I at first didn't like was the put put of her car but then I decided you needed that to show her poverty.
Suzanne R07/21/06
Loved the concept of the 'extremely useful car'! A fun touch that described more of who she is. Well done.
Lori Othouse 07/21/06
Very touching! A great example of the hand of God (physically and spiritually) being there when we need Him.
Jacqueline Zerres07/23/06
Heart rending! I felt the poverty and the richness! Great job!
Venice Kichura07/25/06
Just beautiful & it does move one to tears!
Lynda Lee Schab 07/27/06
This was a truly excellent piece, Pat. I am shocked by the minimal comments - but I didn't see your hint this week, so that could explain it! Beautiful writing from beginning to end, end, end. :-)
Linda Watson Owen07/27/06
Pure poetry in prose, Pat!! Beautiful!!
Debbie OConnor07/29/06
This is beautiful! I love the message and the echo at the end.