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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)

TITLE: Perfect Ending
By Betty Castleberry


A hissing sound coming from the back burner made Amanda sigh. She turned off the stove and swiped at the spaghetti sauce that had bubbled over onto the stove top. She spoke aloud. “Just once I would like everything to go right. I would like the house to be clean and dinner ready when Ken gets home.” Her day had not gone well. It had started off badly when she broke her favorite coffee mug.

The doorbell interrupted her thoughts. “Now what?“ She wiped her hands and opened the door. On the other side stood a young man in a wrinkled suit which was obviously too big for him. He wore thick glasses and carried a briefcase. Amanda waited for him to speak, but when he didn’t, she asked, “May I help you?”

“Oh, uh, yes ma’am. I’m Theodore Finley. I don’t guess you would be interested in seeing some children’s books, would you?”

He lifted his briefcase slightly and as he did, the handle broke, and the case hit the ground. It flew open and the contents spilled out. “How clumsy of me.” As he stooped over to pick up the mess, his head hit the door jamb.

Amanda’s patience was wearing thin, but she felt a twinge a pity for the awkward man. “Let me help you.”

Together they replaced the books back into the case. Mr. Finley took a wadded handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed at his brow. “Hot today.”

Although it was not something she would not normally do, Amanda decided to ask the salesman in. Instinctively, she felt safe with him. She hoped Ken would understand when she told him she had invited a stranger into their home.

“Yes, it’s hot. Come in for a minute and let me get you some water.”

“How kind of you.”

As Theodore Finley stepped across the threshold, he tripped and landed squarely on his backside on the floor. His shoe left a long black streak on Amanda’s freshly polished tile. She clenched her teeth.

He got up and dusted himself off. “Forgive me. I seem to be especially klutzy today.”

She forced a smile. “As long as you’re all right.”

His glasses were bent at an odd angle across his nose. Amanda suppressed a giggle. “You might want to check your glasses.”

“Oh, certainly.” When he removed them, they broke. He looked at Amanda sheepishly. “I guess I need a new pair. Trouble is that I can’t see a thing without them.”

“I’m sorry. Have a seat on the sofa and I’ll get you a glass of water.”

She returned with the water and handed it to Mr. Finley. He miscalculated and dropped the glass. It fell onto the sofa, making a wet ring on the gold brocade.

“Look what I’ve done. I am so sorry. Let me clean it up.”

Amanda counted silently to ten, resisting the urge to tell him the sofa was quite expensive. Instead she said, “It’s just water. I’ll get a towel.”

As she walked away, she glanced back at her guest. There was something unusual about him. In his eyes, Amanda could see depth and wisdom that surprised her. She found herself saying. “You know Mr. Finley, I don’t have any children, but I have nieces and nephews. They might enjoy your books. If you’ll get them out while I’m getting the towel, I’d be happy to take a look.

“Oh yes, thank you, ma’am. I’ll do that.”

She got a towel, then returned to the living room to find it empty. Mr. Finley was no longer sitting on the sofa. A quick scan of the kitchen informed her he was not in there. If he had gone anywhere else in the house, he would have had to pass her in the hall. She hurried to the window and looked out. There was no sign of the salesman anywhere.

Shrugging, she went to the sofa to wipe up the spill. To her surprise, she couldn’t see the water ring. She ran her hand along the cushion and found it was bone dry. There was no trace of the spill anywhere.

Resting on the back of the cushion was a long white feather. Curious, she picked it up. It had an iridescent gleam, and a faint floral scent. As she touched the silky feather to her cheek, she thought she heard a whisper. “Well done, Amanda.” She smiled. Her day had come to a perfect end.

Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares ~ KJV

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This article has been read 1084 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/30/08
I'll add this to my "entertain angels unaware" stories as a favorite.
Shelley Ledfors 08/31/08
Lovely! I, too, love angels unawares stories. Thanks!
Jan Ackerson 08/31/08
This is wonderfully written. I especially love your characterization of the salesman/angel.

I'm not clear on what was the point of the angelic visit.

This has a very cinematic quality--I could picture every bit of it vividly.
Chely Roach08/31/08
This was touching. I loved the discovery of the feather...lovely lesson.
Yvonne Blake 08/31/08
*smile* I knew it! I wonder how often we are tested like this? Would we pass?
Well done.
Joy Faire Stewart08/31/08
Mr. Finley's description and actions are vivid, placing the reader into the scene. Beautifully written and loved the "feather."
Laury Hubrich 08/31/08
I love your description of this salesman. Very good. With more words you could tell us exactly what he was doing there, I'm sure. This would be a great story to expand on.
Patricia Turner08/31/08
Thank you for your endnote. I'd just figured out he must have been an angel. Though you're mc was patient in tribulation, I was thoroughly entertained. A very nice piece of writing!
Sharlyn Guthrie08/31/08
Heavenly! I didn't see that ending coming at all, but you definitely made a case for patience with this story.
Ellen Dodson08/31/08
Each impatient thought is tempered with Amanda's compassion, which is great because it shows us how to practice this particularly challenging fruit of the spirit.
I wanted you to do something with the children's books, as I thought it would be some sort of symbol. I expected her to see one of her old time favorite children stories (perhaps one on patience--or patience with clumsy people ;)) left behind rather than the feather. I love the clumsy, unassuming nature of the angel.
LaNaye Perkins08/31/08
Another wonderful entry my friend. I always loved that verse about attending angels unaware. Great writing!
Lynda Schultz 09/01/08
Great story. I was curious as to why the feather had a faint floral smell. Well done.
Leah Nichols 09/01/08
Too short! I wanted to know more. The ending was a little abrupt, but I like the point illustrated. Very good writing.
Catrina Bradley 09/01/08
I was thinking of the scripture you ended with as I was reading! Lovely writing job, and a great reminder.
Joshua Janoski09/02/08
I actually did see the ending coming, but it didn't take away my enjoyment of this story. We do have to be careful, because we never really know who might be one of those undercover angels. Great illustration of the topic and a good lesson for us all.