Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Blowout (04/28/11)
TITLE: Blowout Beach Birthday Bash
By Irene Patterson
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The wind is getting stronger, I was thinking, as I drove to the birthday celebration for
Beth, my son's girlfriend. I confess, the loneliness of raising a child alone after the death of my husband had been getting to me. I had prayed that God would bring someone special into my life, yet it hadn't happened. My crabby attitude enveloped my sad spirit.
Some blowout bash, I thought. We're going to blow right off the beach. Not to mention how cold it is. Not normal for June.
Then I heard a bang. I struggled to control my car, fighting to stop the swerving.
Great, I thought. What else? Now a blowout. A blowout bash, all right. But the blowout became mine, not Beth's. I pulled over to the side of Beach Boulevard, thankful there was an open space by the curb and searched my wallet for my towing card. No card, of course. Frustration overwhelmed me, taking over. What will I do? I don't know how to change a tire. I thought this even as I began to wonder if my spare tire was in usable condition. Could anything else go wrong?
I prayed. I had to admit the situation had gotten beyond me. Time to ask God for help. Then I opened the trunk to see if I had a spare.
"Amazing," I said out loud. "What do you know. I actually have a spare. Now, what do I do with it."
"Well, you need to find your jack first," the voice of a stranger startled me.
I turned to look over my shoulder.
"Excuse me?" I asked. Handsome, I thought.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. Do you always talk to yourself?"
"When I'm frustrated," I shrugged. Secretly I felt embarrassed. "I've never had a blowout before. Pretty frightening, actually."
"Let me help you with that tire." The stranger smiled at me. He then went to work, finding the jack, the lug wrench, the spare and replaced the blown out tire. When he finished he put the jack, wrench and blown tire away in my trunk.
"Thanks, so much. What can I do to repay you?"
"You can start by exchanging names with me. I'm Tommy. I'd shake hands, but now my hands are dirty. And your name?"
"I should have told you before. Jane Bowler. Thanks so much, again. I really needed help."
"Happy to help. Give me time to wash my hands, and maybe we could get a coffee?" He pointed across the street to a little cafe."
"Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm on the way to a celebration." I grinned, feeling sheepish. I knew I was blushing. “I'd like to, but I can't.”
"Yes, I think I can manage that. At that cafe? It may not be until about 5:00 pm."
"Sounds good. I'll see you then."
I said good-bye hurrying to be on my way. I felt a little giddy. Many thoughts raced through my mind. I sure hope this guy isn't married. I hope he's a good guy. Well, can't think about it now, because the beach is in front of me, and I have arrived. But at the blowout bash I couldn't stop thinking about Tommy. I couldn't wait to meet him for that coffee. I wondered if he would show up.
We were all suffering, cold and windblown, but I stayed for Beth and Rick. My Rick.
"It's amazing what we do for our kids, isn't it," I said to Beth's mom, Linda, as we shivered inside our sweaters.
"How true. Thanks, for coming, Jane. I really appreciate it. And for bringing the potato salad. It's looks wonderful."
“Thanks. Everything is great,” I replied, enjoying my share of barbecued ribs, potato salad, and watermelon. Secretly eager to get away for that coffee, I heard a familiar voice behind me. I turned to see Tommy, smiling at me.
“Jane Bowler. What a surprise.”
“For me, too. What brings you here?”
“Beth is my niece,” he told me, helping himself to a plate of food. “Mind if I sit by you?”
“I'd like that.” A warm glow settled into me. Silently, I thanked God for answered prayer, and for a blowout I thought I couldn't handle. God had heard my prayers; He had been there with me all the while.
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