Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Police (10/12/06)
TITLE: Perssonal Effects
By Leigh MacKelvey
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The blue tractor trailer with the license from California pulls in front of my red Suburu. I swerve off the road, spin sideways and then backwards into a Pine tree. After I sit quietly for a moment, I begin to collect each item scattered across the dashboard and into the back seat. They remind me of confused orphans taken from their home and sent into the foster care of unfamiliar territory. As I place each item, one by one, back into my purse I begin to think “What if?”
“What if” I had not survived this accident? “What if” I was ions away and in some city far from anyone who knows me? I imagine a policemen placing my items into an ordinary brown box marked Personal Effects. What if he handles these items of mine and never has a sense of the woman who carries them with her everyday?
Perhaps he will rummage through my make-up bag and discover that I wear light peach lip gloss. But would he know that this particular tube is my favorite? My daughter and I had once argued about the surplus of dark red lipstick she was wearing, at such an early age. We had ended in tears. Later that night, she had tiptoed into my room with two tubes of light peach lip gloss, wrapped her arms tightly around me and said, “One for you, Mom,....and one for me.”
Would he know that my daughter is my most special blessing of life? That I had carried her around with me for nine months and have sensed the flutter of her heart hidden within my heart daily?
Maybe he would pick up my comb and look at the strands of hair entwined in it’s teeth. The strands would show him that my hair is blonde. But would he have the slightest notion that I was strawberry blond as an infant, light blonde at thirty and that when I turned forty I was a dirty dishwater blonde? It was then that I began the ritual of having my hair highlighted every three months. It’s that pure streak of vanity I’ve always had and still carry with me to this day.
My Stop N’ Shop card would surely tell him about my preferred spot to buy groceries. Only how would he know that grocery shopping is a dreaded chore? I always leave with much less than I need for the week after spending more than I have. Vivid proof of inadequacy Carrying that grocery card is like walking around with a sign on my forehead spelling out in flashing red letters “Single Mom..Loser ”
The lower left corner of my driver’s license reveals a picture of a woman with drooping hair. Her face shows the stark absence of a smile. I had received a phone call in the early hours of the morning from a close friend’s husband. She had passed the night into eternity during her sleep. Relief from months of painful breast cancer. I carry with me the warmth of our friendship and wear it like a familiar sweater woven with the multicolored yarn of our shared experiences.... girlhood giggles about boys, pregnancies, the raising of our children, her chemo, my divorce. Would my picture tell him that at the very moment the photographer at the DMV had snapped the camera, I realized I would not live forever.
The policeman in his crisp blue uniform will finally pick up the cross pinned on a card I keep in my make-up kit. The card has the twenty third psalm printed over a beautiful garden picture. I keep it with my make-up because it is there I draw out items I carry with me to make my face look beautiful. Well, as beautiful as I can make it! Whenever I pull out my kit, I also see the cross on the card, reminding me that even though my face needs work, my inside is already beautiful! A garden has been painted in my heart by the sacrifice Christ made for me. This garden has no weeds, all sin has been forgiven. But will this man know my garden was instantly planted with forever-growing flowers by the Spirit at the age of twenty-eight when I made the most important decision of my life? Can he understand that even though I will not live forever physically, I will live forever spiritually? I look forward to living in eternity with Christ...and my best friend who is with Him now.
I start my engine and drive away. Weeks from now, in my mind, I will see this mysterious policeman who has charge of all that is left of me. And I will wonder, will he know me?
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