Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Passport (07/25/05)
TITLE: Those Two Were Different
By Sally Hanan
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"Europe eh? Afghanistan? Hmm, Saudi Arabia. What makes you want to become an American citizen, Sir?" The question was wet with suspicion.
"It's not necessarily that I want to, but God wants me to do this, and I want to obey."
"Mr. Houlihan, can you tell me why an Irishman would leave his home country and go to a God-forsaken place like Afghanistan, em, ten years ago?"
Brian's small frame belied his strength and intellect, which Isabella now leaned on. His voice almost sang, so strong was his Northern Irish accent.
"It was when I was about nineteen. Some of my friends died in the troubles, and I had to leave and try to figure out why life was so empty and pointless. I'd heard that the best place to find spiritual meaning for life was in India, and so I took a few boats and some trains until one day I found myself in Afghanistan, as wasted as the guy beside me and my money gone." He smiled as he remembered the next part of the story. "A Jesus freak invited me back to his place for dinner, and as hunger has a way of getting the better of common sense, I went. 'His place' turned out to be a huge building full of Jesus fanatics, but the strangest thing was that they were all kind, they all listened to what I had to say (which wasn't worth much!), and eventually, they helped me to pray and give my sin to the Man Himself." He grinned. " I never did make it to India."
The officer, Tom, gave him a fake smile and looked over at Isabella.
"And you Ma'am, why India?"
Isabella was a Spanish petite, but the big god inside her raised her stature by at least 2 inches.
"For the same reasons as my husband. I wanted to get rid of this emptiness inside. I knew there was fulness somewhere, and when I found a guru in Bombay I could study under, I was so excited. I spent months meditating with him, trying to reach new levels of heaven, but it left me more confused and even emptier than before. I gave up and lived the street life for a while with the other world travellers seeking nirvana. Thank God missionaries found me and told me about Jesus."
Another fake smile hit the plexi-glass, but his interest was mounting. Most couples just went on vacation with their passports. "So why Saudi Arabia in '98?"
"Brian decided to study engineering." Isabella stopped and giggled as she pulled on her pink corduroy blazer. She always drove him crazy when she jumped in to speak for him. Brian picked up the discussion. "I wanted to build things that would help others, and my first job was to build wells in the desert for the nomadic tribes of Saudi Arabia. That's where I met Isabella."
Isabella continued. "I had been going there to help out at the regular developmental clinics. I knew that our meeting was more than chance, and so did Brian; he proposed almost the second God told him to."
"And now you're here." Tom smiled his first genuine smile. America needed more people like these two, even if they were a little 'out there'..
"Yes, now we're here." They stood holding hands at the brown glass window, trusting in God to bring to pass that which He had told them to do.
"God eh?" The officer hesitated a moment as he turned his back to them, but he went ahead and threw their passports into the bin. He pushed out their two black, clean American passports.
"You have a good day Sir," Isabella said with a smile as she stuffed her passport into her overflowing yellow purse.
"You too," said the officer in reply. As he waited for the next in line, he went back to the bin and flicked through the pages of the two passports again.
Those two were different.
He didn't even know it, but he'd began to hum the tune of Amazing Grace....
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