Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)
TITLE: The Knoll
By Vickie Buchanan
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The hot summer wind made the tall grasses wave in lazy rhythms. Katy and Reed hiked the familiar path to the top of the knoll as they had many times before. Sweaty and breathless from racing the last 100 yards uphill, they tumbled onto the grass and lay side by side on their backs. The immense mural of sky and clouds made them feel as though they were alone in the world.
Reed thought how beautiful it would be to kiss her. But it was too soon, their relationship was just beginning. He feared it would make her withdraw from him if he rushed things. His respect for her was growing constantly as he observed her intelligence, how she helped people, how she loved the Lord and trusted Him.
“I love being here,” Katy sighed. “It’s such a relief from the campus activity. I’ll miss it so much when I leave after graduation.” She planned to return to her family home in Kansas after getting her degree. There weren’t many knolls like this in the plains where she lived.
“That time is coming very soon, Katy. Only a year. We should talk about what’s next for us.” He knew that was bold, but he had to know if there was a “next” in their future.
Katy looked at him long and deeply. She didn’t speak for a full minute, an eternity to Reed. “I may have gone too far,” he thought. Maybe he had pushed her past where she was comfortable. He wanted to take that sentence back.
“I don’t know what God has planned for me, Reed. I’ve been praying about it a lot. I have always thought I would be a teacher, but I want to be sure about where I decide to teach. I may return home and wait for Him to guide me.”
Reed rolled to his side, taking in as much of her glance, and her fragrance, as he could.
She hadn’t been thinking of fitting him into her plans, that was pretty obvious. Maybe he could plant that seed of possibility.
“We’d be a great teaching team, don’t you think? We’ve talked about our teaching philosophy, and we think a lot alike.” Reed held his breath, looking for her reaction.
Katy was smiling. A good sign, thought Reed. She tilted her head back slightly, rolling the idea around in her mind. “Hmmm,” was all she said. She stood up without making any commitment and began walking toward the downward path. He had hoped to stay a little longer, but followed.
Spring rolled into summer and classes ended in June till the fall session. Reed found Katy at the steps of her dorm, just preparing to enter.
“Katy! I haven’t seen you all week. I missed you. Can you walk to the knoll with me?”
“Oh, I know, I’ve been busy. Sorority party, finals, Literary Club luncheon…you know how finals week can be. But I can’t do the knoll, Reed. I have to pack. I know I should have talked to you sooner, but…well, Reed, I’m going to do my senior year back home.”
Reed’s expression collapsed, the smile melted from his face. Katy explained how she felt she needed to be near her family and how she knew God would show her the calling He planned for her. There was no “next” with Reed in her future. As she turned and walked up the steps to her room she called back that she was sorry. And she was gone.
Reed started alone up the path that led to the top of the knoll. There was no one to race the last 100 yards. The “June Gloom”, so typical of southern California, laid a foggy haze across the view, blurring it, like his future. He gazed into the mist, letting the cool dampness disguise the moisture around his eyes. The plans he had been making had not been shared by Katy. He had assumed she felt the same and took the outcome for granted. Yesterday he thought romance was in the palm of his hand. Today the swirling fog and a summer breeze carried romance across the top of the knoll and down into tomorrow. As he descended he offered a prayer for Katy’s future success….and for another chance for himself.
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