“Hi, Evelyn. Come in.” Margaret ushered her longtime friend inside and closed the door behind her.
“So how have you been?” Margaret asked.
“Wonderful. Especially since the dentist fixed my bridge.” Evelyn cast a pearly grin Margaret’s way.
“Oh, you’ve always had a beautiful smile. Come sit in the living room while we wait for the others.” Margaret escorted her friend into the living room and Evelyn eased onto a flower patterned Victorian love seat.
“Would you like some coffee?” Margaret asked, already filling a cup.
“Oh, Please. How are the grandchildren, Margaret?”
“I’m so glad you asked,” Margaret replied while making her way back to the living room. “Tina is flourishing as a pianist. She sent me a recording just last week. You have to listen to it?”
Margaret placed a saucer and cup of coffee on the oak end table next to Evelyn and then shuffled over to her CD player. She peered over the bridge of her glasses studying the electronic mystery. “How do I turn this on again? Oh, there.” Margaret pressed the power button and the digital display lit up and indicated a CD was ready to play. “There we go.”
After a brief moment of silence the melodies of a baby grand resonated through the speakers. Evelyn turned to Margaret with her eyebrows raised and commented, “She’s wonderful.”
The doorbell interjected discord into the music and Margaret shuffled toward the door. She turned back toward Evelyn en route and said, “Evelyn, listen to how smoothly Tina bridges into the next song.”
Margaret opened the door and Olive stood on the porch with a teal scarf around her head, dark sunglasses and a bandage on the bridge of her nose. She carefully crossed into the entryway and began untying her scarf.
“What happened, Olive?” Margaret inquired.
“Oh, it’s rather embarrassing. I was dusting some high shelves in the kitchen when the stool slipped out from under me. I don’t look too appealing.” Olive gingerly removed her glasses, revealing the blue, green, and black bruising around her eyes. Racoonesque would have been an appropriate description.
“Well, you’re fortunate you didn’t break anything,” Margaret consoled.
“Oh, don’t I know. I thank the Lord it wasn’t worse, but it’s still embarrassing.”
“Well, you’re among friends here. Now let me take your coat and scarf and you can sit in the living room with Evelyn. I’ll bring you some coffee.”
“That would be great.”
Olive maneuvered herself to the living room and sat in a Victorian chair across from Evelyn. Evelyn shifted her attention from the music and beheld the battered figure across from her.
“Oh, dear! What happened?’
“I slipped on a stool in the kitchen. Quite embarrassing.”
“That could have been serious. Does Bill know?”
“Oh, Yes,” Olive replied. “I called him the next day.”
“Is he still deployed,” Evelyn inquired.
“Yes, yes. He did receive a promotion, however. You are now looking at the proud mother of Naval bridge commander.”
Margaret set a cup of coffee next to Olive when the doorbell rang again. She scurried over and swung the door open to reveal the final member of their quartet-Carolyn.
“Sorry I’m a little late, girls. The 7th street bridge is out and I had to take a detour.”
“Carolyn,” Olive asked, “how did your tests go?”
Carolyn froze. Her eyes reddened and moistened the outlying wrinkles betraying a woeful report. “I have liver cancer.” The words burst forth matter-of-factly for there was no way to say it. Her friends rose and formed a blanket of support around her, embracing her grief.
“I’m scared,” her frail voice whispered. Fear not only marked Carolyn’s tone, but her countenance, as well. The ladies moved to the couch and flanked Carolyn’s sides. Margaret sensed the Holy Spirit urging her to share her faith once again with this longtime friend.
“Carolyn, could I tell you about Jesus again?”
Carolyn agreed and Margaret shared about God’s love and how Jesus bridged the gap between God and man. “Carolyn,” Margaret asked, “would you like to trust Jesus as your Savior?”
Through her convulsive weeping, Carolyn replied, “Oh, Yes. Please, tell me how.” Carolyn trusted Christ that evening and her friends rejoiced that another lost lamb had been found. After more prayer and tears together, Olive interjected some levity, “Well ladies, we did come to play bridge, didn’t we?”
The quartet laughed and moved to the card table knowing now that even death could not ultimately separate them.
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