Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)
TITLE: When True Love Comes
By Lisa Johnson
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The coat she wore was threadbare. She pulled it tightly around herself, but it gave very little protection from the cold, night air. She had no money for a new one, nor did she have money to put gas in the old car her father had left her when he died. There had been precious little money for anything, since her mother had fallen ill, so Kathryn found herself walking to work. She didn't mind... really. After all, taking care of her mother's affairs was the least a good daughter could do. She sighed with relief when she saw the welcoming glow of the blue neon moon that hung above the door of the little cafe.
Jake stamped the snow off of his boots before he stepped into the cafe. His eyes scanned the interior until he saw her. He smiled to himself as he remembered the first time he'd laid eyes on her. She was no beauty... most folks would call her plain... but, she had the kindest eyes, and a soft, sweet smile. He remembered the way she had blushed the first time he called her “Katie-girl.”
Kathryn's heart beat a little faster as she looked up, meeting his glance. She dropped her eyes quickly, lest he see the longing in them. She knew that she was not the kind of girl men found attractive, and taking care of her sick parents for the past few years had placed her in the unpleasant category of “old maid.” Jake had always treated her kindly, but, then again, he treated everyone that way. She'd never heard him say a harsh word about anyone. She was touched by the way he always bowed his head in prayer, before taking his first bite, and she loved the way he always spoke God's blessings on all in the cafe, as he took his leave.
Jake loved the way she sang hymns, under her breath, as she moved back and forth, serving customers and clearing tables. He noticed every time she shared her hard-earned tips with the latest “charity” jar sitting on the counter by the cash register. That's why he always left her a little “extra.”
When one of her tires had gone flat, Jake took it upon himself to fix it. She'd offered him money, but he'd politely declined.
When his prize bull had kicked up a ruckus, and he had busted his arm, Kathryn took him a casserole, and some fresh, baked bread. It was the “Christian” thing to do .
When the doctor told her there was nothing left to do for her mother, Jake had offered his shoulder first, and then his handkerchief.
A late, fall twister destroyed his barn, blowing away his tractor and his harvester. As she poured his coffee, she had squeezed his hand, telling him, “God will make a way.”
The same storm had taken the roof off of the local church. When it came time to “raise the roof,” Jake was surprised to find her working right along side of him. She worked as hard as anyone, and he never once heard her utter a single word of complaint. Somehow... it had felt right to be there with her.
Jake was preoccupied, and did not say much. Kathryn did not want to intrude on his thoughts, so she left him to eat his meal in peace. He caught her eye, as he left, giving her an odd, somewhat wistful smile. To her surprise, along with his usual, very generous tip, he'd left a package on the table, addressed to “Katie-girl.”
Mystified, Kathryn opened the package, gasping as she found a beautiful coat, scarf and gloves. Pinned to the coat was a note that read, “Meet me outside.”
She hurried to the door, pulling on the coat and scarf as she went. She opened the door of the cafe, just as she slid her hands into the gloves. Her left hand came out as fast as it went in. In the palm of her hand was the prettiest ring she'd ever seen.
“Will you marry me, Katie-girl?” Jake asked, with tears in her eyes.
She had never expected it... she would never have believed it... but Kathryn found herself in the glow of a neon light, saying “yes” to a love that comes once in a blue moon.
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