Joy and Mara. Mara and Joy. Either way you say it, there was still not a more unlikely pair of friends…or names.
Joy had a hard time seeing the weeds she had volunteered to pull. Her long black bangs kept getting in the way. And she was also irritated by how the long chains attached to her pants kept snagging on the various plants in the flower bed. It seems they were attracted to the sparkling silver and reached out to touch it with their bony fingers, only to tangle it in their braches.
She stole a glance at a Mara who was whistling while she worked.
Still acting all cheerful-like. She folded her arms defiantly and huffed. Why do I let her talk me into these things? Rich soil was working its way under her fingernails, but the black nail polish made it hard to locate and dispose of the offensive dirt.
Mara looked up and smiled, as if to sense her friend’s question. “Mrs. Brackshaw will appreciate our help. She really loves to garden, but the knee replacement surgery she just had prevented her from coming out to tend her plants.”
“Oh, I know, I know,” Joy said. “I just wish dirt and worms and plants-achoo!-had never been invented!”
Mara smiled wryly, recognizing her friend’s sour mood. “Plants weren’t invented, Joy darling, they were created!”
“Don’t laugh at me!” Joy exclaimed, with just a hint of a smile playing about her pouty lips. “I just don’t know how you can be so happy to be doing someone else’s dirty work!”
With green eyes twinklin’, Mara explained, “I like to volunteer to help others because it makes me feel like I’m worth something. I feel a sense of satisfaction and pride in a job done well.”
“Yeah, well, it just makes me feel tired!” Joy through her gloves to the ground and jumped up. “I don’t understand how you can think this is fun!”
“Oh, hello girls!”
Joy nearly jumped out of her skin.
“Thank-you so much for doing this for me girls! You don’t know how much I appreciate it,” Mrs. Brackshaw exclaimed. “It looks gorgeous! I’ve brought you some lemonade and cookies. Really, thank-you, girls.”
As Joy looked into thankful, yet tired eyes, she felt a sense of shame at her selfishness. With a pricked conscience, a change of heart, and a genuine smile on her face, she picked up her spade and a flat of impatients. “Oh, no problem, Mrs. Brackshaw. We were glad to help you out!”
Now Joy knew how Mara felt.
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