Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Friendship (04/04/05)
TITLE: The Message
By Lisa McMillion
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Guer. What did "Guer" mean? She'd been text messaging him all day to see if he'd make it home in time for them to set out together to Don and Katie’s house. Her fingers were always trying to find the keypads while she did other things. Multi-tasking, she called it. "They said to come in pajamas. They're not in the mood for dressing up" was the message before the last one, which read only "Guer." Finishing up his patient charts, Jim could see Christine in his mind's eye now: hair pulled back, a pair of his scrub pants and a sleep-designated camisole hiding beneath a daywear cardigan. She would be waiting for him to steer up the driveway so they could run off together, if only thirty minutes away, into the anesthesia of take-out and Don and Katie's home theater.
Guernsey cows make the best milk?
Though they had lost much, Don and Katie, the same two friends who had accompanied them to the altar, were nourishment to Jim and Christine’s bones. Christine, in an impetuous instant, had not remained true, and Jim struggled to find meaning in their relationship since.
Guerlain is having a sale?
Don was his best man. He wondered if Christine realized that the ring she had worn for ten years was on Don's smallest toe before her finger. He'd been so nervous shouldering the weight of that little circle, he'd wished for a way to implant it. Refusing to carry it in his pocket, he finally placed it on an undeserving digit and covered it with his sock and dress shoe. The ring arrived safely along with them before the organ blasted its ornate "on your marks." Her hands had been expertly manicured. He was comfortable to receive them unquestioningly into his own.
Guerilla tactics are inhumane?
"J.P., I'm not saying what she did was right, but you two were best friends before you married. Would you have left her then where she is now? Go get her and be her friend again. Somewhere, you two lost that-- both of you." He doubted Christine even knew about his conversation with Don, or that it had reopened his arms to her. He'd withdrawn them a thousand times since. Truth be told, his procrastination at work was a way to protect her from his bad days, when he replayed the details worse than horror in his mind, crafted and expertly enhanced by the creativity of the betrayed. What was most disappointing was that, while she had found the transitional pathway back to their friendship rather hopefully, her Christian identity remained obscured. “David didn’t accomplish anything after Bathsheba,” she’d say. “He didn’t finish the Temple and he lost his son. It was like he was cursed.” She also found “I love you” difficult to speak, the words seeming no more able to make one out of two than a prick to the finger and a childish mingling of blood. He wished she would have known, for herself, the reaches of a broken vow the second before she drifted into danger. He wished she could understand that Christ was better able to redeem her than he whom she had cast aside and clung to now like flotsam. He would leave the rest of work for tomorrow. He needed Don and Katie's presence. He needed to see Christine and remember why he had been her friend, to determine if she really wanted to be his, and to discover, perhaps, why love had found favorable enough conditions to grow once. Maybe it could again…
His cell rang. Too many words to text, he thought, expecting Christine’s voice. "Dr. Johnson?" a man asked, jolting his heart. "Who is this…?" Jim managed. "Sir, EMT services. You need to come to General immediately. Your wife's, well, the weather… there's been an accident." "Weather?" It was April! As Jim looked out of the window of his office, he couldn't believe two things: that it was dark, and that a spring snowstorm had dumped a foot of white powder beneath the streetlamp since he'd last looked out. He hadn't even noticed the time. "Is she okay?" "Sir, please just come as soon as possible."
As Jim drove frantically over the untreated moguls, his cell phone beeped again. It was Christine's corrected message, finally freed from being caught in her initial clumsiness and the uncertainty of cyberspace. "Guess I'll go on ahead. Should be ok. See you there. I miss you. I love you."
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