Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)
TITLE: The Fight
By Ebony Broussard
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The tapping of a toddler’s toy on the hard plastic handle of a shopping cart shook me from my remembrance. I had thought to change lines but now every line had grown longer. By the time I left this line to get into another that line will have grown longer than this one. Why did I have to choose this line today?
Cutting my eyes ahead in the line, I could see the double take happen but I was not quick enough to turn my face out of her sight. Oh God! Why today? Why?
The lady in front of me turned around and met my eye, smiling. “I think she’s trying to get your attention.” Thanks, lady.
I glanced up and nodded to the waving woman a few people in front of me. Argh! I don’t have anything to say to this woman. I don’t even want to act friendly. Perhaps if I act as though I do not remember her, perhaps she will move on.
I watched as the woman spoke to each person behind her, allowing them to move ahead of her in line until she met me line.
“It’s been a long time. Hasn’t it?”
I tried to give her the best puzzled look I could muster up. I think I looked more constipated than puzzled.
“It’s Maxine from Carver High. Remember?” Yes, I do remember! How does she even have the nerve to come back here? We were never friends. Then there was the fight….
If my face didn’t register remembrance, my voice did. “Err…yes, Maxine. I remember you.” Now that you have shamed us both, what do we have to say to one another? The line moved forward. Can this line move any faster?
“Uh, Cheryl, I know you don’t probably have too many good memories of me and I am not certain if we will even get the chance to meet again for me to say what I need to say. You did not deserve what I did to you back then. I am so sorry for the pain that I caused you and anyone else close to you. Even my own pain isn’t justification for hurting you. I pray that one day you will find it in your heart to forgive me.”
The cashier greeted Maxine and began checking out her items. Although Maxine wanted to continue to conversation, the cashier sought to make small talk with her. The old Maxine would have cut her eyes at the cashier and said something like, “Can’t you see I’m talking?” but she remained pleasant and light.
She stood at the end of the checkout, waiting for me to pay for my items. How in the world did I end up in this line? I paid for my items and pushed my cart toward the parking lot, Maxine in tow.
“Cheryl, I do not believe it is a coincident that we ran into each other today. I do not expect your forgiveness today but I just needed to apologize.”
I nodded to her, not knowing exactly what to say. I felt like I was fourteen all over again. All of the awkwardness, embarrassment, and hurt from the day of the fight felt alive and raw. There were no onlookers for this chance meeting, but thought of the beating and the enjoyment it seemed to bring Maxine played back in my mind. That was Maxine then, but it was not Maxine now.
Maxine pushed her cart, heading toward her car. “Maxine, wait!” I shouted from across the parking lot. She met me halfway. “Look, I don’t know what to say but know that I do appreciate your apology. It doesn’t erase the fight, but it does help to know you did not enjoy it so much. Thanks.” We exchanged smiles instead of hugs then headed to our cars. Who would have thought reconciliation could be found in a grocery line, let alone on a cross!
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