Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fellowship (among believers) (10/11/07)
TITLE: A Dream and a Prayer
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I may as well be. Between workin’, takin’ care o’the kids, and tryin’ ta keep up with the house -- all by my lonesome -- I just don’ have time for much else… I don’ see how them volunteers do it all. Something has to give somewhere, don’t it?
Kalifa refused to give up her time with her kids. I’m all the family they got left. Since their Dad got killed in the war… Kalifa sighed. The kids were asleep and she was doing her nightly, Well, most nights; ok, some nights, toy pickup. Toys were strewn all around the too small house.
The family was regulars at Saint Mary’s church. I need all the help I can git, thought Kalifa. But I’m not into no church socials. Ain’t got no time neither.
Kalifa worked odd hours so she could be there for her children. She was determined that they not miss out, Not like I did... It’s a miracle I didn’ end up in prison or somethin’. She smiled. God and Mrs. Wright sure turned me around…
Mrs. Wright was Kalifa’s high school art teacher. She encouraged Kalifa to apply to the prestigious Art and Craft Institute. Kalifa wasn’t the best student, but she was a gifted artist. So much so, she won a full four-year scholarship. I couldn’t have gone no other way. Mrs. Wright done saved my future. Not that making my living as an artist is easy...
Kalifa had three jobs just to make ends meet. She worked as a waitress during the lunch shift at Pedro’s, while the kids were in school. She worked nights as a freelance graphic artist. Pays better than the gallery, but I can’t give that job up. I met Hector there… The gallery is just about all I have left of him.
Hector was an artist too, and as extroverted as Kalifa was introverted. She sighed. I wish he was here to go to this thing with me... I have to go. This one’s different…
She’d donated a painting for the parish auction to help raise funds to rebuild the burned down old church. She’d done the painting specifically for the auction. She’d seen the whole scene in a dream -- and felt compelled to paint it. It wasn’t her typical style or subject matter. I just gotta see who buys it -- and for how much.
Kalifa begged Ami, her partner at the gallery, to watch the kids that night. I must be nuts. I gave up the next two Saturday nights to watch her little monsters in exchange for this? Not that I ever do anything on Saturday night anyway…
Kalifa entered the large hall. She barely knew her neighbors, never mind the parishioners, though she recognized quite a few. She grabbed a seat at an empty table to watch the auction…
Her painting fetched two thousand dollars -- the most money brought in by any item.
Kalifa eyed the wealthy woman who’d bought it. Well, she sure can afford it. But then she noticed that the woman’s eyes were wet with tears.
Kalifa knew that look, the look of grief. Suddenly she knew why she had painted that little angel. The Freemans must’ve lost a baby. She didn’t know how or when; she’d never noticed them before. By the looks of it, it wasn’t too long ago. Those poor folks… All the money in the world can’t bring their little girl back... Kalifa knew it was a girl. She had painted a baby girl -- in the arms of an angel.
Mrs. Freeman approached. “Thank you for donating the painting. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. It looks so much like our little Danya...” She dabbed at her eyes. “I’ve been praying for a sign, a sign that she’s happy in heaven… Now I know…”
“You’re welcome Mrs. Freeman.”
“Please, call me Neema.”
“All right.” They two women talked more: about the painting, life, loss, children, and art.
By the end of the night, Kalifa felt tired, but less alone in the world. Being out and about with real people really ain’t so bad after all. I bet Hector’s proud of me, too.
Neema promised to stop by the gallery during the week.
Who would’ve thought that me and Mrs. Freeman, I mean Neema, would have so much in common? Kalifa smiled. Thank you Lord, I think I just made me a new friend.
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