There was an amazing wealth of talent on display in this contest! It was great fun to read your entries. And as a bonus, we learned some interesting things:
Like, Cullen is a plant!
And a poet (other than Countee!)
Rebecca LuElla Miller (6:34pm)
A town in Scotland
SarahW (5:38pm) Got almost all the connections right
except Temple which is Temple Grandin, one of Betsy's clients.
Special recognition for one exquisite line:
Together we do not hope as we watch the road
Alii Silverwing (7:35pm)
These entries were weird, but enticing
Rachael Harrie (1:45am)
Nicely done but not really a story
Lauren Doyle (3:46pm)
Nicely done stories:
Stephen Duncan (6:01pm)
Nate Wilson (10:21am)
Alexis Lampley (11:54am)
Kay Bigelow (8:50pm)
Each one of these is exquisite in a different way.
Rachel Searles (9:41pm)
With her at my side, it’s easier to come back to the Midwestern town I grew up loathing. Kids here grow up in shoebox homes on narrow streets, biking to the Dairy-Freez and summer blockbusters, morphing into teens who drink Bud at field parties.
Lucy is different. A city girl, she wears heavy eyeliner, has an affinity for scarves that she picked up during a summer in Paris, recites Countee Cullen poems for fun. My mother still isn’t speaking to me in full sentences.
I kiss the soft skin of her temple to wake her.
“Morning, Alanna,” she whispers, smiling.
Bingol (9:58pm) (Sadly, this entry is disqualified because the writer entered twice)
She didn't know why she'd imagined things would be different here.
They were the best things in her life, largely because they'd undermined every other source of pleasure.
He wanted to strip her from the straightjacket of her marriage, to cradle her in his brown hands.
He didn't understand that in the slanted light of the illicit afternoons, his wrists were buckles and his fingers straps.
She would recite the mourner's kaddish and light a yarzeit candle. She would pretend the person she mourned was already dead.
Charlie Pratt (4:20pm)
The kids were doubled over in the back, vomiting. We’d arrived in Paris that morning, only to discover that my loathing of a child’s griping is eclipsed only by the stench of half-digested Roquefort, which was having a soggy rendezvous with the rear floorboards. The rented Peugot, a name which now seemed quite appropriate, transformed from fuel-efficient adventure-temple into a mobile bastille of whine and cheese, while I knew, like the Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen knew, that I must “hide the heart that bleeds, and wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.”
The winner after several agonizing re-readings is Charlie Pratt. Congratulations Charlie!