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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sharp (03/07/13)

TITLE: Stranger on the Subway
By lynn gipson


Mary Brenner sat reading her Bible on the subway train, just as she did every morning on her way to work. She was a touch annoyed with a man sitting several seats away, who kept glancing at her.

He was a sharp dresser. His expensive looking suit and immaculate shoes made him quite dashing. She couldn't help noticing that he bore a slight resemblance to Jimmy Stewart, one of her all time favorite actors.

Mary learned early on not to make overtly direct eye contact with men on the subway. Some took it as an invitation to sit next to her and make what she called “come on” conversation. Mary had no interest in developing a romance with some stranger on the subway of New York City.

She did, however, have an interest in developing a romantic relationship. The only problem was that she had never met anyone who met her Christian standards. She longed for the kind of relationship that involved courting and respect.

Now, the well dressed man who shyly looked her way was starting to get on her nerves. He blushed and turned his head when she caught his eye and scowled at him.

“Look, mister, I don't know why you keep looking at me, but if you have something to say, just say it.”

The man's face turned beet red and he managed to stutter. “S-s-sorry! It's just I've seen you reading the Bible every morning and you are very beautiful. I won't look at you again.”

Mary softened just a little. “Do you read the Bible too?”

“No, I would like to, though. I know a lot about it, but I don't read it.”

“Well, why not?” Mary thought this conversation was getting a little strange.

The man blushed again and suddenly said. “First of all, my name is Robert Bailey. What's yours?”


“Well, Mary, the truth is I don't read very well. I am a genius with math, that's why the company I work for hired me. They tell me I am a brilliant accountant, but I have an assistant who reads for me.”

“Wow! I must apologize. I didn't mean to be so bold. So you're a genius with math. I still have to count on my fingers at times.” Mary laughed.

Robert smiled. “Can I be so bold as to ask if you would mind reading your Bible out loud? I really would love to start my day that way.”

“You are a Christian?” Now this was getting interesting!

“Oh, yes. One of the few. There doesn't seem to a lot of us around these days.”

“Well, Robert, if you want to move to a seat closer to me, I would love to read aloud. I am reading the book of Psalms this week. I find David's words so comforting.”

So began the relationship of Mary and Robert. Each morning she would read the words of the bible to him, and he would listen and smile.

A few months later, he shyly asked her to dinner and she accepted. They shared their life stories for the first time, and Robert told Mary how much he admired her. Mary complimented him for the fine way he dressed.

“I guess I feel the need to look as sharp I as can, so the company's clients won't know how illiterate I am. I really do need to learn to read better, I just haven't had the time, or courage, for that matter.” Robert sighed.

“Robert, would you like for me to teach you to read?”

“Mary, would you? I mean, do you think I could learn?”

“Robert, you're a genius! Of course you can!”

So instead of Mary reading to Robert on the subway, she taught him to read. She was patient, and he was a little slow at first. However, by the end of six months Robert's reading skills were excellent and so were the couple's feelings for one another.

Six months later, Mary wore a beautiful white wedding gown, Robert wore a black tuxedo and was as sharp as he looked.

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This article has been read 455 times
Member Comments
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C D Swanson 03/14/13
Touching "love story" in more ways than one. The love of God interspersed with the couple was very clever. God bless~
Linda Berg 03/16/13
I enjoyed the characters in this story. You described both well. Blending the romance part of their story with the spiritual truths was well done.
Allen Povenmire 03/18/13
Well told story. Having worked with many illiterate people, I would question whether or not John would've been so up front about his illiteracy. Most never are. But the story flowed well and had a satisfying ending. Well done.
Cheryl Harrison03/18/13
Touching, romantic story. I enjoyed this.
Christina Banks 03/18/13
This really is a feel good story. I would be a little nervous about someone staring at me on the subway. I'm not sure I would have had the courage to even talk to the guy. I'm glad things worked out for your characters.
Joseph Veseli03/18/13
I really enjoyed this. The need for romance so often interferes with a relationship with God. We want to be loved by the opposite sex more than our Creator.

I loved how you had your MC devoted, first to God, and then placing romance on the back burner.
Wise advice for anyone seeking a relationship!!!

Well done!!!!
Judith Gayle Smith03/18/13
The warmest and fuzziest! I love this . . .
Alicia Renkema03/18/13
This was such an interesting piece mixing a story on illiteracy with romance as well as talking about the importance of a committed Christian relationship. You always create such likable characters - you are also a romantic at heart! Thanks for this piece - God does work in mysterious ways when we allow Him in. I found it almost amusing that she was reading her bible and yet looked and talked to the guy in an annoyed way. Kind of ironic. We do need to be careful, but we also need to trust. That can be a hard line to discern at times which your story illustrates so well. Of course, loved the ending.
Ellen Carr 03/19/13
A sweet and romantic story which I enjoyed. Well done.
Kelli Hunt03/19/13
I enjoyed your characters - they were not predictable at all. They were unique and surprising. Is this a true story? It very well could be. Well done!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/20/13
Ahh, what a beautiful story. I so enjoyed it. There are many lessons in this delightful piece. I suspect next month I could read it and God will have the perfect message for me then. It takes talent and obedience to write a story like this.
Edmond Ng 03/21/13
A well written and engaging piece!