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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)

TITLE: A Coke, Dr. Pepper, and Two Kids Later
By Sarah Elisabeth


Arthur rocked his foot again to keep the porch swing at a steady rhythm. One hand rested on his son Tommy’s shoulder as the little boy lay across his lap, asleep. His other arm stretched behind Alma, not quite touching her shoulders. The blonde curls of little Mary’s sleeping head tumbled over Alma’s knees and swayed with the movement of the swing. Arthur sighed. Nothing could beat this cool spring evening.

He felt Alma’s weight shift with her own sigh. “You know something, Arthur?”

“Hmmm?” he murmured, leaning his head back to watch the speckle of moonlight through the branches of the oak tree.

“In the seven years we’ve been married, you ain’t once said you loved me.”

Arthur’s head lifted and he turned to her in surprise. “I ain’t?”

“Nope. Not once.” Her dark chocolate eyes were melting.

Arthur let his gaze return to the oak tree moonlight. He tried to think back on the time he first saw Alma, but couldn’t bring it to mind. He recalled the long weeks that passed where he had sat in the corner booth of the town’s only café and watched Alma come from her courthouse clerking job and eat lunch. He’d hold the same newspaper in front of his face until she left. There were times he just knew she glanced his way. But they never spoke until the day the waitress, whose frame was as ample as her smile, brought him a Dr. Pepper with a wink.

“Young lady at the counter bought this for you.” She stepped to the side and nodded at the wide open chocolate brown eyes. Arthur gulped but not on the Dr. Pepper. “She did?”

“Uh-huh,” the waitress winked again before moving to the next table of the lunch hour rush.

Even though his hands shook, Arthur picked up the hard plastic cup and walked the straightest line he could toward the chocolate brown eyes. “Uh, thanks for the Dr. Pepper, but I, uh, really like Coke.”

The eyes widened. “I didn’t-” she cocked her head to look around him and he turned to see an ample smile from across the room. Arthur turned back, cheeks flaming. “Uh…”

“Here,” the chocolate eyed girl handed Arthur her drink. “This is the Coke you bought me – uh, I like Dr. Pepper myself.”

Wind jostled the oak tree branches, revealing the full moon. Arthur squeezed the warm flesh of his son’s shoulder. A soft snore vibrated up to his ears.

Arthur looked back into his wife’s chocolate eyes. “Sorry about that, Alma. I guess it’s because –well, I love you the way God loves.”


“You know. Like eternity. No real beginning.” He nodded, never breaking eye contact. “And it sure ain’t ever gonna end.”

Now her eyes really did melt. “Guess that’s as good as it gets.”

When he leaned in to put some sugar on her cheek, Arthur swore he tasted the fizzy flavor of Coke.

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This article has been read 746 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood03/17/11
Oh, this was so sweet! I really enjoyed this, with its country dialect and the sweet, simple thinking of the characters. Great job!
Rachel Phelps03/17/11
This is so cute! I was expecting something different with the beginning, but the fun twist was great. Thanks for a fun read.
Henry Clemmons03/18/11
I loved the coke, dr. pepper bit; touching and funny. Great ending to. Smooth writing. I enjoyed it.
Michael Throne03/18/11
Love the title. The characterization of the MC was well done, and the story was fun – it felt real. I especially like the main line – about loving her the way God loves. Good work!
Charla Diehl 03/18/11
This was an endearing story because of its simplicity and uncomplicated characters. It was a relaxing read for me--as easy as gently swaying on that porch swing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/18/11
I felt right at home reading this slow-paced country store rhythm of a sweet love story. I did wonder if he really ordered the Coke for her or if someone else intervened. I like how he thought he tasted Coke in the end. My husband changed me from a die-hard Helman's mayo to Miracle Whip. Love does funny things like that:)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/18/11
After reading it again, I caught the quick glance at the ample smile and it dawned on my thick head the waitress set it up. Sorry I'm just slow at times.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/19/11
Delightful story of true love, shown and felt more than told. Your little details brought it all to life. I really enjoyed this.
Kimberly Russell03/19/11
Awww...this was so sweet. I really liked how you incorporated the dialect--not an easy thing to do. Nicely done.
Virgil Youngblood 03/19/11
Delightful. If that waitress wasn't in the wedding party, she should have been. I'll bet she's still laughing at what she pulled off. Good writing, for sure.
Bonnie Bowden 03/20/11
I liked this sweet couple. The waitress was the perfect matchmaker. I like the MCs analysis at the end--real love has no beginning or ending.
Noel Mitaxa 03/20/11
Warm Fuzzies right through - or should that be "cool fizzies?" Very enjoyable read.
Melanie Kerr 03/21/11
Lovely. I loved the simplicity of the scene and the ecconomic use of dialogue to get the message across. Wonderful writing.
Ann Grover03/21/11
Sweet and to the point, with lovable characters and a lovely ending. Believable and real.

Tiny bit of red ink-- Dr Pepper has no period after Dr. (If it hasn't already been mentioned.)
Amanda Brogan03/21/11
Yay for the smiling, match-making waitress! Great description of Alma's "melting" chocolate brown eyes. And the scene on the porch with the moon glistening through the trees and the cool Spring air surrounding the little family ... ah, it's so sweetly romantic!

Great to have you back in the Challenge! I know I missed your writing. ;)