Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)
TITLE: The Escape Artist
By Ruth Thoutenhoofd
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She was ten years old, home from school with the flu, and bored. Her mom handed her a copy of Anne of Green Gables. “Here, you might like this.” Hours and hours later, the flu forgotten, eyes bleary from the strain of never getting lifted from the pages, she put the book aside reluctantly to go to sleep that night. She lived for two days in Prince Edward Island, enraptured by the red haired orphan who wormed her way into the hearts of the elderly bachelor and spinster.
She was fourteen and sitting in the back of the class in Social Studies, her novel open on the floor beside her desk, furtively turning the pages when her teacher turned his back, totally absorbed in the love story at her feet. It only closed when she was discovered and red-facedly admitted to being in a world far more intriguing than the one he was presenting.
She was sixteen and reading in the attic of her parents’ farm house, quickly scrambling down the ladder every time she was called to help with something in the kitchen. Over and over she was called, only to do the minimum required and then climb back up to her private escape, losing herself again in the story being spun on the pages before her. Finally her mother exploded with amusement, “Go finish that book! You’re not worth a toot!”
She was a young mom, her husband away on a trip, two little boys scrambling back and forth on her lap and playing at her feet while she read. The five book series her husband gave her to pass the time while she was gone was nearly completed when he got back three days later.
She was in her forties and her son gave her a series to read for Christmas. Holidays being the excuse, and fatigued after the normal Christmas chores, she decided to treat herself and read as much as she wanted. After the second day she woke up with her eyelids stuck together like they’d been glued. They could no longer handle the abuse. The series had to be laid aside for a long time.
In her fifties, she has to use extreme caution to read without damage, and still struggles when the book at hand is a “page turner”. Her eyes still complain about the abuse and force her to self control.
She was a reader. The call of the book was stronger than she was. Romance and mystery, biography and inspiration were all equally addictive, providing escape from duty. For every legitimate pleasure, there is a dark side. God, in his kindness, stepped into her life and forced her to temperance.
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