Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: The Wooden Angel
By Linda Boulanger
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With a sigh she plodded toward the bathroom. A quick shower, sparse make-up; it was time to don the dreaded brown outfit. She looked at her 23 year old figure in the mirror. Could Brown have chosen a less flattering style? It’s filling my bank account, she reminded herself.
A quick check-in with the distribution center boss and Kristen was turning the key to start the big brown truck. She’d been given a rural route which meant fewer package handling but more frustration as she maneuvered the dirt roads. Thank goodness for Brown’s tracking system. Still, the day would be riddled with its share of irritation.
“Whoa!” The router yelled. Her first annoyance of the day. He handed her a small box as she gave him the computerized pad that kept everything straight. He keyed in the addition and left her truck.
“East 2.4 miles. Left turn.” The tracking system jarred her from her daydreaming. Stop number one; the small box that had been added last minute. Kristen carefully maneuvered the truck through the gate. An old dog greeted her and escorted her onto the porch. She tapped. The occupant took his sweet time opening the door. The adult walker and leg brace told her why.
“Mr. Brayden?” she read the electronic clipboard. He nodded and she pointed to the X.
He asked her to wait. Kristen looked at the dog and shrugged. His tail wagged as she patted his head. The older gentleman shuffled back and handed her an angel carved out of wood.
“Wow! Did you make her?” Kristen studied the ornate details.
“Yes. She’s one of a kind…like you.” He closed the door without explanation.
For some reason Kristen felt as if he’d been speaking directly about her rather than making a generic comment concerning people in general being special in their own way. Had he seen something in her? His statement circled her mind all day and throughout the night.
Kristen was sure her head had just hit the pillow. Groan, grumble, remorse, apology for not being thankful…. As she climbed from the bed, her eyes came to rest on the angel. Be thankful, she told herself turning to the task of making herself presentable. As she passed by her dresser, she slid kissed fingers across the photograph on its top. She’d make it, and then they’d be together.
Kristen’s spirit danced as she realized there was another package going to Mr. Brayden. She would thank him again for the angel. Before she’d left her house she had laid it on the photograph. She wasn’t sure why. It had simply felt as if it was the thing to do.
The old dog met her truck again as she turned up the dirt drive of the Brayden Farm. Mr. Brayden took longer to answer the door this time.
“I’d almost given up on you.” She was turning away as he opened the door at last.
“My leg. I have trouble getting up sometimes,” he confided in her. “I used to have a young lady that worked for me and lived in. Invaluable to me, though you young folks seem to want to be where the action is.” He laughed.
Kristen stared at him. Her heart pounded as she teetered between fear of asking and hope.
“Are you looking for a helper now?” She swallowed hard.
“If I could find someone…” He stopped. “You’re looking for something beyond an unbecoming brown outfit, aren’t you?” She smiled and nodded. He invited her in to discuss the details of the potential arrangement.
It was well past 7:00pm when she returned to the distribution center. Kristen’s eyes were blurry with fatigue and her belly grumbled as she parked the big truck but she didn’t care.
Back home, she gazed lovingly at the photograph and the wooden angel. She opened her notebook to a clean sheet of paper and began to write...
I have found a position that will allow me to provide a good home for my Sara. It’s as if an angel arranged it all...
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