Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ARTIFICIAL (08/11/16)
TITLE: Looking Up
By Ellen Carr
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A smile spread across Celia's face. “I'll go red today, thanks Jen.”
Jen lifted a ginger wig out of her box and Celia eased it onto her head. “How do I look?” she asked.
“Fabulous! Absolutely fabulous!” said Jen.
“Yeah, right! I'll take the compliment though. I'll wow the doctor when he comes later this morning.”
“Now Celia, what face are you having today? Romantic, outdoorsy, or dramatic?” asked Jen, lifting a box onto the table next to the bed.
“Dramatic,” answered Celia. “I feel like some drama, of the good sort of course.”
Jen opened her make-up palette and began by gently smoothing moisturiser over Celia's pallid face. Then she began applying make-up, keeping a cheery banter going as she did.
Ten minutes later Celia's lips were a brilliant red, her eyelashes inky black and her green eye-shadow matched the grey-green of her eyes. As Jen held up a mirror Celia's face lit up in delight.
“Wow! Is that really me - that stunning Hollywood star! You're a magician, Jen!” But her smile faded as a sob wracked her body.
“Jen, thank you so much for helping me pretend that everything's all right and I'm not a pale-faced, hairless cancer patient.”
Jen put her boxes aside and engulfed Celia in a bear hug. “I love you Celia, and God does too. You know that, don't you.”
'I do, Jen, thanks to your weekly visits. I never thought I could be positive again, but I am now. And Jen, guess what? I'm praying every day now.”
“Whoo-hoo!” whooped Jen. “That's the sort of encouragement I like to hear. Now, let's check that your dramatic face hasn't morphed into a morning-after face after that hug.”
Jen first met Celia six months ago as she was doing her hospital rounds. Back then, she had just started her make-up and wig therapy for cancer patients. She called it the 'Looking Up' program. She loved her job as a hospital chaplain and enjoyed brightening the lives of the patients. 'Looking Up' was her baby and the baby had grown enough to keep her busy three days a week these days.
“I'd better move on Celia. See you next week. Keep looking up!” She left the room, blowing a kiss to Celia as she went, and ran straight into Celia's husband, Sean. Literally.
“Sorry!” They both spoke at once.
“I should have been looking where I was going,” said Jen as she stepped back from him.
“ Not at all, Jen. You are just the person I wanted to run into.” He laughed. “Can I speak to you for a minute?”
“Of course,” said Jen. “Let's sit over there.” She pointed to an alcove with some chairs.
“I just want to thank you for what you're doing for Celia,” began Sean. “She's a different person since she's got to know you. I don't mean the cancer; that's making her into someone she never wanted to be. But you're giving her hope.
She wants me to go to your church, even though she can't come with me. I'm not that keen to go, let alone without her. But I really want to do everything I can to make her happy. So I will go. What time are the services? And could you write down the address please?”
“With pleasure,” said Jen. “Here, take one of my church cards. It has all the details on it. And here's my phone number. Text me when you've decided which day you'll come, and I'll look out for you and sit with you. Now, you'd better get in there or Celia will wonder what's going on.”
“Thanks, Jen. See you later.”
On her own, just around the corner, Jen punched the air. “Yes! Whoo-hoo, Jesus! Thank you.”
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