TITLE: REACHING FOR SUNSHINE
GENRE: MG Contemporary
Faith needs to win $1,000 in the writing contest. Or else her family might be stuck living in church shelters. Forever.
I’ll never forget the first morning I woke up inside a Sunday school room. As the early morning light cast shadows between our cots and the Bible bookcase, I rolled over and read the words pinned to the Bethel Brethren Church of the Redeemer “Be Who You Are” bulletin board:
Honest, Humble, Helpful, Happy.
I shivered as another “h” word flashed through my mind:
“Faithee?” Perched on her cot, my little sister Hope hugged a rag doll with sausage legs and yellow yarn hair. White, cotton ball stuffing popped from the doll’s seams, which wasn’t a big surprise, considering that thing had been glued to Hope’s hip since last summer, when Gramps died.
“Shh,” I whispered. “Mama’s still sleeping.” My eyes flitted to the three garbage bags slouched against the Bible bookcase, my jeans and t-shirts bursting through the plastic drawstrings holding our life together. On the window ledge above Mama’s cot, a withered rosebud from Gramps’ garden delivered a powerful pain, smack dab in the center of my chest.
Hope stood up, her flannel nightgown swishing against the carpet. “We going to school?”
I checked the clock. 7:05 am. Even if the van driver agreed to take us, it was fifty miles across the Northern Ohio Turnpike one way.
“Get in." I pulled back the covers. "I’ll rub your back.”
My hands circled Hope’s shoulders. I traced an imaginary path back to Mapleview, the maple syrup capital of Ohio and the only home I’d ever known.