Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Wow! (03/11/10)
TITLE: Love Does Exist
By Kellie Henningsen
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Clara hurried to kiss him good bye and stood in the morning sun to watch him run down the driveway. She couldn’t believe how fast he was growing. At ten years of age, he was in need of bigger clothes all the time.
Dimitri shivered as he stood in line for breakfast. His filthy clothes hung from his frail body like it was a hangar. A worker at the Romanian orphanage shoved the daily allotment of rice and a cup of dirty water towards him. Casting furtive glances around the room, Dimitri devoured his meager meal. There were those who would steal the food if he wasn’t careful.
With longing eyes, he searched the world he could see through the open window. Grey clouds formed wavy lines across the sky. There has to be love in this world. But where?
At 3pm sharp, Clara pulled her Cadillac up to the curb at George’s school. She could see her son coming out and tapped the horn to let him know she was there.
“So, Mom, where we headin again?” George asked as he jumped into the backseat.
Clara pulled into traffic. “To the mall. Remember?” She glanced at him in the review mirror. “We’re buying stuff to fill one of those shoeboxes. You know…the mission’s project at church.”
“So, like this kid,” George snapped his gum, “he’s going to get more than just a shoebox of stuff, right?” He blew a perfect bubble.
“No, George. We’ve got to do right by this kid as this is it. The list says even soap, toothbrushes, and things like that are good.”
George’s bubble burst. “Are you kidding me? Those aren’t gifts!”
Dimitiri’s bare feet shuffled forward on the wooden floor. In slow procession, each child went through the daily ritual of scooping from a bucket of dirty water. They splashed it on their faces. Teeth were never even a consideration. People don’t all live like this, do they?
Walmart was the first stop for the mother and son team. They found several hygiene items, some warm socks, crayons, and a small pad of paper.
“Mom, seriously. It’s practically full! This is not right.” George sighed. “Can we go to the toy department now?”
Clara agreed and they made their way into the first aisle. “Here Mom, stuff this in,” George declared proudly while holding the latest Transformer.
“Let’s look for something a bit smaller, shall we? “
They found that a yo-yo, slinky, and some small bouncy balls would nestle into the nooks and crannies left in the box.
“A little lame but they’ll fit,” George lamented. “This poor kid.”
The wind picked up as Dimitri sat in the doorway of his building. A commotion on the road caught his attention. There was a group of children coming. Dimitri could hear laughter. He watched in amazement as the boys tossed a ball back and forth. A glimmer of hope began to grow in his eyes. Joy does exist.
“I think one last thing can fit in here George,” Clara said as she reorganized the box for the tenth time. “What should it be?”
George looked at the list of options and wondered what final item this child would want.
The day was over and Dimitri climbed into bed. The little boy next to him began to cry as he did every night. Without hesitation, Dimitri crawled from under his thin sheet, and curled up behind little Radu. “Shhh, it’s ok Radu,” he patted his head. “The dark is not so bad. It’ll be morning soon. Just sleep now. Shhh” As he comforted the boy, Dimitri’s own heart steadied despite the darkness of the night.
“A flashlight!” George held it up. “I love shining light everywhere and making shapes on the wall. Maybe this kid will to.”
“Okay, we’re done then!” Clara smiled at George.
But George wasn’t smiling. He looked at the box in disbelief. “Wow…so little. That’s something.”
A Samaritan’s Purse volunteer held out a colorfully decorated box to Dimitri. He reached up with shaking hands and took the treasure. Finding a corner of the yard, he sat down to examine its contents.
His eyes filled with tears as he removed the lid. Wow…so much! Love does exist.
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