Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Our Mutual Friend (not about the book) (09/15/11)
TITLE: Pastor Jerry and Jesus at the Bean Punk Cafe
By Sydney Avey
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He’s wearing a black shirt with a pleated front and white collar, which gives his business away right quick. He sits at a tiny table juggling a decaf latte with a yellow legal pad he scribbles on while he waits for his appointments. As he writes he checks the fine print in the Bible he balances on his knee. I sink into a couch nearby and open my laptop so he’ll think I’ve got work to do too. I drum my fingers on the keys and tune my ear so I can hear what he’s telling people.
Today this young gal comes over and sits down all dejected with her coffee and bagel. They lean into each other and I have to sit real still to hear anything.
“Pastor Jerry, I don’t know what to do. He says he doesn’t love me like he used to and he’s thinking about leaving me. Well duh, we have three kids! Of course things are different.”
This is sadder than anything I ever heard at Louie’s. This gal’s pretty well put together. I can’t think why any man would walk out on a pretty woman and his little kids. I drain my mocha and the sugar buzz hits me about the same time Sue’s face pops into my head. Well God, isn’t that what I did? I left Sue and our twins and those kids aren’t speaking to me to this day. I want to stop by that corner window table, drop my card by the little gal’s empty cup and tell her, “Have your husband give me a call. I’ll wise him up.”
But the good reverend doesn’t talk to her about her husband. He doesn’t tell her what to do. Instead, he talks about Jesus, like Jesus is a real person who can do something about the situation. I heard some of this same stuff in my alcohol recovery program but not so personal. I mean, it’s almost like Jesus is sitting at the table with these two, listening to her tale of woe and pouring courage into her empty cup – not the kind of courage you get at Louie’s that dulls your senses and fogs your brain, but more like a sweet energy that helps a person run the distance.
When the young woman gets up to leave, she seems to be in possession of something she didn’t have when she came in. I’m not sure what it is, but somehow I think she is going to be okay whether her jerk of a husband gets it together or not. More than that it seems she knows she will be okay.
Pastor Jerry looks over at me and smiles just as my favorite barista Marie sets a second mocha down in front of me. I rise to my feet, pick up my steamy brew and join him at his table.
“What’s your story?” he asks me, and we talk like people who meet on a plane and discover they have a mutual friend – one he knows a lot better than I do.
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