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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Walk (07/20/06)

TITLE: Mrs. Jenkins’ Walk
By A. E. Cuthbert
07/24/06


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“Crazy old Mrs. Jenkins is going for her walk again”, Billy said to himself looking out the parlor window at the house across the street. Everyone knew that Mrs. Jenkins was mad. It was rumored that she talked to herself, or even to her late husband. Billy peered out at the old woman locking up her run-down house. She was in the bright turquoise jump suit she wore everyday during her morning walk. When she had finished struggling with the front door, Mrs. Jenkins turned around and scowled at Billy through the window. He ducked out of site.


******************************************************************************


“Gosh darn nosy kids!” Edna Jenkins mumbled to herself starting down the street. She moved at a brisk pace with a frown on her face. Edna forced a wrinkly smile at a few of her neighbors who where chatting softly by their mailboxes. After she passed their houses, she heard muffled whispers.

“See if they can make it through three miles a day when they’re ninety years old”, she mumbled to herself. She knew that the whole neighborhood disliked her. Edna crossed the street into the public park. An elderly man with white hair and clear blue eyes was waiting for her at the stop sign. He was dressed in white sweatpants and a matching t-shirt.

“Nice to see you today Edna”, he joined her hurried pace.

“Nothing nice about it Gab”, Edna, griped. “My arthritis is worse than ever and my coffee maker broke this morning.”

“You always rely too much on that morning cup of coffee.” He smiled trying to keep up with her.

“Always so quick to give advice aren’t you?” She turned the corner passing the playground. A few of the children stopped and stared at her as she passed.

“So what news do you have to tell me today Gab?”

“Well, you know your neighbors, the Talents? Seems that their marriage is on the rocks. It will end in divorce for sure if something doesn’t happen.”

“It would be tough for the poor children”, Edna frowned. She had heard numerous shouts coming from the Talents house in the past week.

“Oh, and little Billy across the street”, Gab continued. “Seems he’s had quite a few questions about God and faith lately.” Edna shuddered. She had survived one too many encounters with the young boy. Most included rocks hitting her house.

“Well I guess there is hope for everyone”, Edna said to herself.

“Still upset about the broken window from last summer?” Gab tried to hide his smile.

“I’ll get over it”, she snapped. They marched on in silence for a few minutes taking in the fresh morning air.

Striding through the park, they laughed at the dogs running free over the green grass with their owners not far behind. Edna wondered how there could be so much conflict in such a small town. Everyday Gab informed her about all the horrible things that were happening behind closed doors.

“I might almost be happy in this town if it wasn’t for you Gab”, she teased. He gave her a mischievous smile. They continued their walk through the suburban streets long into the late morning, chatting the whole time.


******************************************************************************


Billy heard voices coming from outside and curiously looked out the window again. He was surprised to see Mrs. Jenkins with an older man in white sweatpants. Inquisitively he pressed his face against the window screen trying to catch their conversation.

“You remember everything I told you?” the man asked, looking into her eyes.

“I’m getting too old for this”, Mrs. Jenkins looked at him leaning her tired body against the chain link fence.

“You’re never too old to pray. Besides, who else is there to intercede for these people if you don’t?”

“I just wish I got a little bit more gratitude.” She paused and then gave him a genuine smile. “Thanks for joining me on the walk Gab. I always enjoy it.”

“See you again tomorrow Edna. Same time. Don’t forget to pray.”

“I won’t. See yah tomorrow. Bye Gab.”

Billy watched Mrs. Jenkins unlock the door of her house and go inside. The old man lingered by her fence. Billy didn’t recognize him.

“Gab…must be short for Gabriel”, he muttered to himself. The old man contently looked around the neighborhood and discovered Billy’s face staring at him through the window. He winked at Billy and then suddenly, with a slight smile, vanished.


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This article has been read 596 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kaylee Blake 07/28/06
Wow! This is such a cute piece. Loved the message. I kinda wished that she would have been walking with Jesus instead of Gab, though.
Marilyn Schnepp 07/28/06
Loved it! Sure kept my interest from beginning to end! One itsy bitsy goof "were" chatting by their mailboxes instead of "where"...but because it was such a great story, I kinda overlooked it; Great Read and very nicely written. It perked up my day.
Marty Wellington 08/02/06
I liked this story very much--very create take on the subject. Noticed in the first paragraph "site" should have been "sight." Nice story--kept me moving along with it.
Kim Thomas08/02/06
Great story...kinda makes me take notice of my own pre-conceived notions about people I don't really "know" -- they could be praying for me! AND, it moves me to pray for those around me...I don't know what might be going on in their lives...Edna could be anywhere!!

Thanks for the inspiration. Loved it.
Tracy Patrowicz08/02/06
Very cute! Can picture this as a play or a television show. The charcters really came to life. Nicely done.
Cristy Zinn08/03/06
Well done on being highly commended - your writing just seems to improve with every entry! This was a lovely story with wonderfully crafted characters. God bless!