Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ASKEW (06/07/18)
TITLE: Distorted Reflections
By Francy Judge
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I have also dreamed I met my mother. Dad says someday I will.
Dad placed my mother’s wedding picture on my dresser and a picture of her holding me when I was born seventeen years ago. He replaces fresh flowers in a vase every week so my room always smells like lilacs, Mom’s favorite. The pictures haven’t moved, though they have faded in the sun. He says I have her smile and her determined personality. When I was little, I wore chunky metal braces on my legs, before switching to a walker. Dad insisted I was a superhero in disguise, and called me Robot Girl.
“In a far off land,” he would say, “where criminals ruled, one girl was chosen by God to wear the magic armor. She was given strength to overcome the evil powers of the land for she alone was blessed with a pure heart that loved and understood truth. Her body was bent from hard work at the steel yard, but within the armor, she grew tall and straight. With her clever mind, she figured out the villain’s schemes; with her strength, she lassoed the perpetrators and stopped crime. No one messed with Robot Girl.”
Some dads would have given up a child whose birth caused their wife’s death. Dad said holding me was the only joy he had after Mom passed away. I was God’s gift of her love.
School hasn’t been easy. Sometimes I heard giggling and would turn around to see a group of kids imitating my way of walking. I learned to stop turning around when I heard laughter and swallow the persistent lump in my throat. Sometimes I would be brave and say, “Not bad…but I bet you can’t walk like that all day like me.”
Dad always knew when I had a bad day. He would lift me onto his shoulders and say, “Let’s go, Lauren. You’re Robot Girl. Time to save the world from evil.” He would carry me to the swing he built in the backyard and push me as high as I could go.”
“Look, Dad…my toes can touch the clouds!” I would open my mouth and taste the air. “The sky tastes like cotton candy.”
“She’s flying! Robot Girl is amazing!” And I believed him. I took accelerated courses in school and remained on the high honor roll. I pushed through daily physical therapy even though my mirror still said crooked.
Today I graduate high school. I want to receive my diploma without leaning on a walker. I use the walker for the procession, but when the names are called, I leave it at the chair. Dad sits in the first row of guests. When my row stands, I focus on moving my legs with all my strength, but I stumble at the steps to the platform. Tears fill my eyes until suddenly I am lifted by my Dad’s strong arms.
Dad says, “Let’s go, Robot Girl. You got this.” As the principal hands me my diploma, my classmates cheer.
A tree across the street from my home reaches toward the sky with mangled arms, bare of any growth or color at all in the winter. It’s a tree for Frankenstein’s yard. But once the weather warms, buds form and tickle the branches with life. The ugly, crooked arms fill with luscious green leaves and form a bridge over the street. If you never saw the winter version of its self, you would declare it blessed with beauty. You would never know the crooked branches hiding behind the leaves.
Dad takes my picture leaning on the tree, and I imagine a better world.
“And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20 NIV
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