Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)
TITLE: MINGLED TEARS
By Sylvia Hensel
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Sunday morning found Sandy driving to Cleveland where she had taken a job for the summer at the amusement park. Spotting a little church, she checked her watch, hoping to be on time for services. Exiting the interstate, she made her way to the church and entered just as worship began. The service was all she had hoped for, and Sandy knew she had found a church home for the duration of the summer. Her first priority had been to find a good place to worship, and God had honored that.
Some of the young adults introduced themselves, and invited her to go for pizza with them. Afterwards, they spent a good portion of the afternoon together getting to know each other. Later, she retuned to the church for Sunday evening services, which were informal teachings by Bible students, and included a great deal of interaction from the gathering.
As she was preparing to leave, one of the young men made his way over to her.
“Hi Sandy, do you remember me? We met this afternoon.”
“Sure, it’s Jeff, right?”
Pleased that she remembered him, he smiled as he said, “I hear we’ll be working at the park together. I’m from Columbus. They tell me you’re from Detroit.”
“Yep,” she quipped.
“Listen, I was interested in your comments regarding prayer, and I agree with what you said. It’s definitely a different approach and I would like to discuss it with you in more detail, then maybe we could bring it before the group for discussion. Are you willing?”
“Sounds good to me; let’s check our schedules and work out the time. Here’s my number. Call me.”
That was the beginning of a relationship that grew over the summer. They became known as a couple and were soon inseparable. They had so much in common; above all, their faith. They began to plan a future together.
Before they knew it, summer was over and it was time to leave.
“You can’t go back to Columbus without first meeting my family,” Sandy insisted. “I’ve already talked to them, and they can’t wait to meet you.”
As they pulled into the drive, the family came running out to meet them. After introductions were made with hugs and handshakes; the ladies headed for the kitchen to prepare food for the planned cookout, and the men, to the backyard.
Later that evening, as the rest of the family scattered, Jeff, Sandy, and her parents remained on the patio to talk.
Sandy’s father turned to Jeff, “I understand you have another year of college before graduation. What are your future plans?”
“I hope to teach at the local college,” then, taking Sandy’s hand, Jeff added, “Sandy and I hope, with your approval, to marry after we graduate and I get a job.”
Sandy’s dad, looking at his wife, stated, “We have prayed for years for a Godly husband for our daughter; we would be blessed to have you as part of our family.”
Sandy’s mother gave Jeff a quizzical look. “There’s something about you that seems so familiar, have we met before? You know, my family came from Columbus.”
“No, I don’t think we’ve ever met,” Jeff replied.
“Did I understand you to say your last name was Fisher,” her mother inquired?
“My stepfather’s name is Fisher,” Jeff explained. He adopted me after he and my mother married. My birth father died when I was only two. He was wounded in the war and Mom was his nurse at the VA hospital. They fell in love and married. I was born a year later. My father never really recuperated from his head wounds and passed away after just three years of marriage.”
“What was your birth father’s name?”
“King, Guy King.”
With a quick intake of breath, Sandy’s mother let out a deep moan, and cried softly, “Guy King was my brother. We lost contact after he joined the service.” Lifting the locket she wore around her neck, she showed Jeff the picture it held.
In shocked disbelief, tears pooled in Jeff’s eyes; “I have that very picture,” he sobbed.
The realization hit like a thunderbolt; they were first cousins; they could never marry! With tears streaming down her face, Sandy collapsed onto the floor. Jeff rushed to her side. Kneeling, he placed her head in his lap. His tears, falling upon her cheeks, mingled together as the door to their future as one slammed shut.
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