Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)
TITLE: T H E V I S I T
By Phyllis Inniss
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When I heard the knock, I did not rush to open the door. Who could it be? I wondered. I looked through the louvred door and saw his familiar face. For the life of me I couldn’t remember his name. I let him in, both of us smiling at each other. “Have a seat”, perplexing my brain to remember the name. I can never remember names and I am always too ashamed to ask.
I was hoping he would say something to give me a clue as to who he really was. “I was just on the computer,” I said.
“You’re still busy”, he said. I remember those days when you were young, you were always going to parties, or acting or singing, or doing something.
“Those were the good old days, never to come back. But the memories are pleasant.”
“Not all memories are.” He replied.
“I know, but God heals the pain and lets us get on with our life.”
I felt I could talk about God with him, unlike some of the cynics who try to tell me that what I call God’s intervention is just a coincidence. The expression on his face was of kindness and understanding. Coming from a family of talkers, I just felt sufficiently at ease to chat with him.
“You know”, I said to him, “there’s one memory that wasn’t so pleasant for me.”
“And what is that?” he queried.
“The suddenness of my mother’s death and the timing of it.”
“I know, it was really sad.”
Then he must have known me a long time I thought. Many people would stop me after I returned from the U.K. and talk to me. I recognized some right away. There were others who I probably didn’t know as well, but who knew me, whom I didn’t recognize One or two who had changed over the years, either by getting very fat or some other reason, seemed a little offended that I did not make them out.
“You see, what was so hurtful, that was going to be one of the happiest days of my life. It was my first job and I had brought home my salary intact, not wanting to spend a cent of it. I wanted her to have the pleasure of seeing her reward in my first earnings. She never had that pleasure.” The tears were ready to come after all these years. “You know,” I told him, “I cried silently for nights after that tragedy. “I didn’t want anyone to see me crying.”
I saw sympathy there and I quickly changed the conversation. “Before I started going back to church. I stayed away for a long time – too long. I had these dreams.” He listened so attentively I felt compelled to go on. I dreamt of this really ripe, luscious, red fruit. As I was about to twist it off its branch, I turned and saw this open church. ‘Ah, I thought, it is for the church’ and I released it from my hand. The following night or was it the night before, I can’t remember, I dreamt of this white dove which landed on my right thigh and stayed there. I got up feeling something good was going to happen in my life. I didn’t know what.” Because I was talking for such a long time I said, “Gosh I’m boring you. Would you like to have something to eat. to drink?
“No, I’m fine,” he said
“You know, when my son was still young, I thought I was doing him an injustice by not taking him to church when my siblings and I used to be in church regularly. So I took him one Sunday to the church nearest to me, an Anglican Church (Church of England), even though I am a Methodist. To my consternation, the Church was practically empty. I couldn’t believe it. The minister stood in the pulpit delivering his sermon to four persons, one of whom was a six-year old. Needless to say I didn’t return.” My visitor nodded in understanding.
“I always felt God was looking after me.” “Yes”, he said as if urging me to continue. “There were times when … “ At that point the telephone rang. “Excuse me” as I got up to answer it.. “Hello” no answer. I turned to tell him there was no answer, but he wasn’t there. My visitor had gone. Could it have been ….Him?
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