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The Test of Time This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The older gentleman sauntered into the church’s dusty basement. Just like every other morning for the past ten years, he was here to eat his eleven o’clock lunch provided by the soup kitchen staff, since his late wife, Emily, was no longer able to cook for him. As he slowly processed through the line, he grimly smiled his tired eyes at the familiar faces behind the counter serving the food. At the end of the line, was a variety of desserts to choose from, but the ladies at the soup kitchen knew he loved macadamia nut cookies, and would always save him a bag full to make sure he got them. Emily had never made him macadamia cookies when she was living because of her allergies. He picked up his plate and grabbed his bag of cookies and made a bee line for his usual spot. He always sat in the middle of the table, in the middle of the cafeteria, with a good eye of the door and the line. As he ate, he slowly turned the mush of food over in his mouth like a cement truck.

It was during dessert that he noticed her. He was halfway through his second cookie when he realized there was a new lady sitting hunched over the table down from him. However, this was no stranger, not to him anyways. Caught off guard, the cookie in his mouth turned to crumbs. She peered over at him with her big round eyes. Stupefied, he stared blankly at her. She was even more beautiful than he remembered her to be. Her voice sounded like cold soup as she called his name. He continued to sit dumbfounded on his folding chair. It hit him. Then it hit him again. The first time in his head, the second, in his heart. She was calling his name, beckoning him over. She was his high school sweetheart. She was a cheerleader, and he was a running back on the football team. They used to be the best of friends. They dated all through high school. Everyone said they were going to get married, but he broke her heart and never laid eyes on her since. Now here she was at the Church’s humble soup kitchen, nibbling on her macadamia nut cookies. In the bottom of his soggy stomach, all of those crazy hormonal feelings he had for this woman back in high school gurgled back. He stood up and jogged over to her as adrenaline began pumping through his veins and towards his heart. She weakly stood up and shuffled towards him. “Mary,” he began, letting the airiness of her name wisp between his chapped lips. He timidly stuck his hand out and wrapped it gently around her paper thin wrists. “It’s great to see you,” he nervously chuckled. He saw the pained look in her eyes, “I’m sorry, Mary, about everything. I know I made a mistake, you were always the one I should have been with all along.”

Her eyes turned into boiling pots of tears. She blinked hard to push them back, and placed her hand gently on top of his. “It doesn’t matter anymore.” She strongly replied, looking him square in the face. With that, she turned around, scooped up her handbag with her forearm and purposely headed for the exit. As she opened the door to leave she ever so slightly titled her head to the side to sneak one last look at Robert, the long lost love of her life. He still stood where she had left him, standing alone like a crumbled memory. She stepped over the threshold and let the door fall loudly behind her. Three days later she died of a terminal illness alone in her bed.



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LaceeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm
Wow, this was very deep. Great job. I can understand why she wouldn't want to start anything because she was dying of terminal illness but on the other hand why not live up your last couple of days. I really enjoyed this. It triggered some ideas for me. Thanks alot:)
 
EtherealThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 16, 2012 at 10:23 am
great writing- very deep and emotional, I agree with laceejade though, I would think she would want to try everything or... yeah. anyway, this amazing, really good
 
AceOfAngels said...
Jan. 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm
Wow. I loved the ending where she dies. It gives a nice extra kick to the emotions. I really don't think that love can withstand the test of time. Even old married couples, I don't think are truly as in love as they once were and are probably just staying together for comfort. It's clear that Mary and Robert still love each other but it's a little too late. They're both brokenhearted. Beautiful description. Keep up the good work
 
publicdomain said...
Jan. 2, 2012 at 11:45 am
This is a very good story and I loved the metaphors. You did a great job writing this and I love forward to reading more work by you. :)
 
leafyThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 2, 2012 at 8:04 pm
First, very nice story. At first, I thought it was gonna be really cliché and he gets his old girl back, but as you definitely know (lol) he doesn't. I love the similes you used like "he slowly turned the much of food over in his mouth like a cement truck" and "letting the airiness of her name wisp between his chapped lips." Your imagery was great, and I could totally picture this scene. I also liked the sort of brooding tone to the whole scene.

While your mistakes were few, there w... (more »)
 
Jappyalldayeveryday said...
Dec. 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm
Hey, I only got 3 entries for the romantic short story contest, but I thought this one was second best. I liked the ending and the story as a whole. I'll comment on one more of your articles now.
 
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm
I really enjoyed your voice and word choice throughout the piece--I've noticed that's a talent of yours! I really liked this piece, although I painfully read the part when the old man reconnects with his old love. It was both amazing and sad. The end, I think, is kind of sudden--but I suppose there really isn't any other way to end it, is there? That seems to be the most appropriate ending for a piece this delicate :) Good job and keep writing!
 
koolwords said...
Dec. 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm
Well, I thought that your idea wasn't bad. I liked the twist in how he didn't actually get the girl. Though there are a few things you need to be careful of. One is that in your beginning paragraph you started to repeat the word 'cookies' too much. A rule of thumb would be not to repeat the same word in the same paragraph (but this is art, and so of course there are those times that the rule can be brocken). I really liked some of your metaphors. My favorite was when you said the guy was eating... (more »)
 
lucygirl26 said...
Dec. 22, 2011 at 8:55 am
As I read this, I got a sense of eerieness that was intriguing, almost. It was a very unique and interesting piece. I liked the description of it and I liked your word choice, too. Something that I might suggest would be to add some dialogue near the beginning to maybe separate the long paragraphs a little bit and to maybe show what characters are like but not tell. You do that near the end, but maybe some more in the beginning? Overall, it was a very interesting piece. :D
 
TheGracefulWriter replied...
Jan. 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm
This is deep and heartfelt. I liked the way you put it together and the way it flowed. I also liked the twist of how he didn't get Mary. I could feel the feeling that were being portrayed through the story and I felt for the man too. You have talent and I very much like this story.
 
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