Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)
TITLE: Thick Salty Tears
By Chase Glantz
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The girl's face was covered in dirt and had wrinkles that made her age too early. Her long blond hair had been yellowed with the grime of neglect and her eyes, that were once thought to be a vibrant shade of piercing brown, seemed dull and hollowed by hopelessness. As I almost brushed past her, she irked out, “Spare some change? I need it for bus...” and her voice trailed off.
Five million thoughts raced though my head: “She looks really hungry, perhaps I should give her the money.” Then I think, “Wait, she'll probably just waste it on booze or drugs, so maybe I shouldn't.” Then I think, “In all honesty, if I spent a couple of days out on these streets, I'd be self-medicating too... so maybe...” and every scenario plays out in my head in a nanosecond as my pulse races. So I play the safe card with, “I have some leftover takeout in the car. Are you hungry?” With a string of cheerful profanities, she muttered, “Yes... yes please...”
I pull open my car door carefully, as not to leave myself open to theft, and grabbed the box. As I handed her the greasy food, she her response was nonplussed: “Do you have any spare change, I really need to catch this bus...” Immediately I stiffened up and prepared my best excuse, but then I stop. The voice echoes in my mind “Surely, I tell you, as you did unto the least of these, you did unto Me” (Matthew 25:40 NIV). As I reach into my wallet, I begin to pull out a few dollars when I my thoughts are interrupted with the woman's small voice, “I can really treat you right for five dollars...” she said with nonchalance and hope. I felt my ears turn red with embarrassment as I try to play it off as it did not phase me, “I appreciate it, but no thank you...” she interrupted, “Are you sure? You're a very attractive man...” I can feel my ears turn a scarlet and my face follow suit. After thoroughly swallowing the lump in my throat, I peel off five extra dollars. “Tell you what, here's five dollars anyway. I don't want you to miss your bus.”
In utter shock, she reached out for the bill and can only give out a stutter, “G...g.... God bless... God bless you...” I then said, while looking her dead in the eye, a well rehearsed, “God bless you too,” and got into my car. As I pulled my car in I felt a wave of horror, stupor, flattery, and sadness all within hitting the mission's garage door button from the inside. I watched her eat my leftover pasta with caution and gloom as the door shut down in front of my eyes. As the door shakes slightly from the impact in unison with with my spine, a cold chill went down my body, followed immediately by thick salty tears.
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