Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)
TITLE: Perfect Ending
By Betty Castleberry
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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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