Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Expire (08/01/13)
- TITLE: The Narrow Path
By EUGENE FINLEY
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“I’m grown now.” Thomas said to himself, not in a confident way though. It was more regretful than exciting. Besides, grown would be a slight exaggeration considering Thomas had just turned 9 years old.
It was Mark and Jayson that bothered him. They were the neighborhood bullies. It used to be that his older brother would come to his defense. He was well taken care of back then; but today, he’d do this walk alone.
Thomas is a frail child with a shy, high pitched voice; one not worthy of being heard by the more important “popular” kids. He IS the underdog that people are talking about when they mention the word “underdog”. His glasses; brand new ones; the last ones were broken in a fight the previous school year by the same two bullies he is shaking in his pants right now to avoid; make him seem even more fragile than he already is…whatever the case, eyeglasses where the catalyst for most of his fights.
“Hey Thomas; like your coke bottle glasses.” Mark would spit at him.
Thomas had known better to respond. He didn’t want to fight; he didn’t even want to talk to this boy. They weren’t friends, even though the Bible teaches you in multiple books to love your enemies.
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” He would whisper under his breath. “Yeah right!!!” He would later laugh, thinking about the punches that he had endured.
The fight was usually lost before it had started and Thomas sometimes had to go to school beaten. This was routine for Thomas…but he always felt safer with his bigger brother there with him.
Thomas sat looking through that corrupted path; what he imagined could have been like staring into the depths of hell. Large oak trees lined up on each side of the path like a rank in a marching band and there was a small brook on the right side just at the beginning of the path. He and his brothers used to catch tadpoles and crayfish in that brook. Good times. The fishy odor was both suffocating and soothing.
“Not many take this path.” Thomas thought. “The road is much bigger and that was where most of the walkers went anyway; it was the safer way to go.” Thomas was staring up the street now; contemplating.
But while he was contemplating, Thomas remembered a story his father told his older brother about West Point and reading. Father really cared about their education. He always had some deep regret about what he could have done. Thomas’s father wanted to go to West Point and could have; but he needed to do one thing…he needed to take a reading test. He was always afraid of reading because frankly; he didn’t do it well…or he thought he didn’t do it well. It was a fear that changed the outcome of his life. His father also told the story about his grandfather being afraid to leave Cicero, Illinois because he didn’t know what was out there. He always says that “Your grandfather died not knowing what was out there…he let fear make a command decision.”
Thomas felt something on his inside that said he has to go through this path alone. He didn’t know what it was but he knew that he had to travel the path alone; today.
It seemed that Thomas’s family always used fear as an excuse; but today Thomas wanted to change that; it would no longer be valid excuse. He had to take that long walk through the narrow path.
Thomas walked toward the brook and picked up a smooth rock; tossed it in the air and caught it. The fear that had gripped him at the beginning of the path had vanished. It was the first fight of the school year; it was against fear and the victor was Thomas. He walked to school with a confidence that he had never had before and he knew that the old scared Thomas was gone...forever.
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