Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)
TITLE: The Eternal Circle of Patience
By David Johnston
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The clock had begun its morning call as he took a detour from his usual journey; rosary beads nervously being played with deep in his cavernous pockets; wristwatch halfway up his tiny arm, each step making it fall to its rightful position before a shake of his hand snaked it back up. He walked past the chiming church, avoiding the graveyard where his mother and father lay - a dozen lilies and a yet to be engraved space, the sole clues to his approaching presence. Forward, past the shop, a very English windmill slowly turning - each sail attempting to move forward until its colleagues pulled it back to the beginning - a house, another, a shop, a church.
Arriving outside a house he hadn't seen before, he paused. A shake, a snake, checking the time. The envelope he now removed from his inside pocket had fallen like a stone alongside his morning newspaper and regular bank statement at the beginning of the week. Addressed in a wavering hand to Mr Joshua, its contents had been more direct: come here, arrive then. His eyes reflected the number of the door onto the letter in his hands. Nervous fingers released the beads, the cross of Christ falling into the depths, and he knocked on the door. One knock, two; his hand pressed to the wood.
"Hello...?" The question, posed to the wooden door - once a tree, once a seed, once a tree; the garden seemed well-kept - resounded in his ears. "Hello...?" Inside the house seemed to lay a decade of silence. Different rooms, different years; a sparkle of light on each window facing the sun, the others drenched in the darkness of a deserted night. Joshua didn't always open his curtains either: his prayers usually took place on the floor lost amongst the clothes which dressed the ground. Yesterday he'd made the journey through those clothes, arriving at the dark suit and grey trenchcoat which he now wore. The opening of the door surprised him.
Before him an old man with the wavering pen waving from his shirt pocket; a smile on his face; youth in his eyes; a beard hugging his neck as Joshua solemnly shook the outstretched hand. There was no 'come in', just that smile. A silence as the chimes of the clock seemed to drift higher into the air, coming to rest with the birds chattering away on top of the spire. The hand in his pulled away before quickly returning, delivering another marbled envelope of promise. That smile again before the door softly closed.
Joshua took a step back from the house, another, past a tree, some seeds, a tree. He leant here, against a tree he recognised from another garden of long, long ago. In the corner of the world a fountain sprinkled water into a pool before collecting it again. One finger slit the envelope open and inside a cheque for his college fees released him into his dreams. Spiralling down to Joshua came a sentence - 'I will not forget you'; scampering across the garden came another - 'I have engraved you on the palms of my hands’; squirreling along the tree trunk came a third – ‘I will meet all your needs'. The third chime, the fourth; the clock began its journey yet again. Somewhere outside time God looked down and smiled.
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