Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SOCIAL (04/07/16)
- TITLE: The Church Social
By LeslieJean Anderson
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I wince as I write it now, but at that moment, I meant it. I was sixteen and she’d made me turn down a date with Danny, the handsome star of the soccer team. It was for the Homecoming Dance, of all things! Mom said Danny was “too wild and unpredictable.”
“Don’t worry, Sissy,” she’d said through the door. “You’ll have some fun anyway. We are going to a church social.” A church social? Fun?
I thought of skipping school or running away.
But instead I pouted all week because Mom worked two jobs to support us, and I was her only child. I knew she loved me, but she was so stubborn. And so over-the-top religious! Church this and church that. She quoted scripture from memory all the time, usually as a way to win an argument. It was like she was saying, “Well, Sissy – are you going to argue with God about it now?” So annoying.
One evening after school she took me shopping for a new outfit. I wanted to die every time she pulled a dress off the rack. She, in turn, gasped in horror at every cute little skirt I liked, and in the end we didn’t get anything to wear. But we did agree on a pink sweater and new shoes to go with my favorite church dress.
Finally the dreaded night came. Still angry, I put on more makeup than usual and the swingiest earrings I had. I pulled my long red hair into a pony tail and tied it with a pink scarf that matched my new sweater. Mom came in with a string of pearls, and put them around my neck.
“Mom – those are your wedding pearls! This is just a church social!” I didn’t want to tell her that they looked old-fashioned, but they did match the pearls on my swingy earrings.
“Only the best for my little girl,” she’d said. “You can give them back to me afterwards. It will be a treat for me to see them from across the table. When I wore them for your father, only he got to see them.”
I’m glad now that she didn’t see me roll my eyes. I knew she was trying to make me feel better about missing Homecoming. I cringed when I thought of the dance. At least nobody from the high school would be at the silly church social to witness my humiliation.
When Mom gave me a casserole to carry into the church auditorium, I wished I was invisible. But I was in the choir so everybody knew me. Old ladies hugged me and welcomed me like I was something special. They had decorated with party streamers and special lights, and I noticed that the stage had a baby grand piano. And a microphone.
“Mom, what’s with the piano? We’re having live music at a church social?”
“It’s a surprise, Sissy. Wait and see.”
Suddenly I saw somebody from my high school. It was Andrew, from the school marching band. I’d only spoken to him a few times. He was quiet and usually with a tight little group of nutty band kids. And then I saw two of his friends. They were all here – at my Mom’s stupid church social!
Mom pulled me to a table right in front of the stage. “Stay here, and save our spots. I’ll get the food.”
Just then Andrew walked on the stage to test the microphone. He saw me and waved.
“Hey Sissy – I thought you’d be at the dance.”
“It’s Samantha, Andrew. And I was thinking the same thing about you.”
“Can’t turn down a good gig, Samantha,” he grinned. “But I’m glad you’re here. We have a great program tonight.”
And they sure did. Andrew’s personality began to shine as he introduced himself and sat down at the piano. I had no idea he could play classical music. By the end of the evening, he and his buddies had me up on the stage with them, singing my favorite popular tunes and church songs. The applause was huge.
Mom and I were the last to leave the church that night. Andrew had asked me to sing with them at another event, and I’d happily agreed.
That night started a wonderful ten-year singing career for me, which only ended when Andrew and I finally agreed that it was time to start our family.
This is a work of fiction
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