Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)
TITLE: That Annoying Little Prick
By Sara Harricharan
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A nervous giggle escaped as I scanned the parking lot for an empty space. Cars crammed into every available spot, not one of them moving.
I started to chew my lip and stopped. I’d put on lipstick this morning for the picture-just in case.
Holding up the checklist, I read everything aloud just to be sure.
“…and make sure you are not backed into a parking space or you will be required to park and back out to demonstrate your driving ability.”
Driving ability. Yep. I have that. My mind took me back to the previous year where I’d been given a driver’s handbook on my birthday and expected to take the test a week later. I’d passed. Only one wrong answer. Lucky me.
Warm summer air filtered through the open windows. I checked my mirrors for the millionth time and made sure my seat was in the correct position.
Yeah. I was set to go.
Except for that little prick in the back of my mind.
I’d already tried to ignore it. Especially since I’d been sitting out here for the past fifteen minutes and hadn’t seen any instructor yet.
The little prick continued.
I hunched my shoulders, wanting to scratch it, but sitting perfectly still on account of the big window my car faced.
The window to the sitting room where my mom was waiting…along with every other wannabe drivers.
I read the checklist again. Nothing had changed in the last few moments. No words had rearranged themselves and I was still waiting.
Propping my elbow up on the open window, I half hid my face with my hand, closing my eyes in brief prayer.
There. All done.
I looked up. And around.
A small sigh of relief turned into a self-satisfying giggle, followed by slight wriggle of the shoulders to assure myself that everything was all right.
The prickle didn’t let up.
Now it felt like toothpicks doing the polka along my spine in perfect rhythm.
My face heated with the realization that I was ashamed of something that I shouldn’t have been.
Here I am, sitting in a parking lot, worried about a driving test, afraid that someone might see me with my head bowed and too scared to even pray about the whole mess.
That was a big enough guilt trip to have my apology turn into a real prayer.
Dear God, sorry I just blew you off just now. It’s been a crazy day. And I’m here waiting for some instructor to come so I can start this test. It’s seriously wearing on my nerves. Whatever’s left of them. This checklist says if I backed into a parking space I’ll have to do this whole big turn around thingy. I don’t think I could survive that! Could you please send me a parking spot?
When I opened my eyes this time, two nice, big parking spaces stared back at me. One was directly across from mine.
I put the car in drive and smoothly crossed over.
Whew! That was done.
I should’ve prayed for real earlier.
The little prick tickled my neck.
A smiling blonde lady stepped out of the driving office. “Hi! Are you ready for your driver’s test? Just do exactly what I tell you…”
“I passed?” The question came out as an exclamation.
The lady, Bonnie, smiled brightly. “You certainly did, honey. With flying colors too, I might add.” She tore off a yellow sheet. “Come on inside and let’s get you a license.”
I clicked the door locks open. “Just a minute. I’ll be right behind you.”
Bonnie stepped out as I closed my eyes.
Dear heavenly father. Thanks. Thanks a bunch! I’m so glad you’re always pulling for me even when I’m being silly.
A happy smile tugged its way across my face. One that I couldn’t wipe it off.
And guess what?
This time, no prickles!
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