Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)
TITLE: The Gas Station Fill-Up
By C D Swanson
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In the back seat of her red car, a young child was holding a teddy bear crying, “Mommy I’m hungry.”
“Miss, are you okay?”
She turned abruptly wild-eyed and nodded silently.
Not wanting to intrude, I didn’t continue. But, my heart went out to the child who cried out again, “Mommy, can we get something to eat?”
“Baby, we have to wait a little longer…” She replied, while looking through her ripped brown purse glancing quickly at the pump and afterwards began to sob out of control.
I walked over to her, “Your little girl looks like she wants a snack, coincidently so do I. I tell you what, I hate to eat alone. I’d consider it an honor if you both dined with me.”
She began to shake her head no…but after hearing her little girl cry, “Mommy I’m hungry” she agreed, albeit reluctantly.
“I have a gift certificate for gas. I don’t need it; perhaps you might want to use this for your amount.”
“I don’t know what to say, I…” She shifted in place while she bit her lower lip. Her Windex-blue eyes dripped a lone tear onto her faded-yellow blouse akin to a Rorschach blot.
“Yes will do just fine.” I smiled.
She paid with the gas certificate and followed me to the Oasis Diner, just two miles down the road from the gas station.
As we walked into the diner, we exchanged introductions. “I’m Barbara Zare.”
“I’m Val Sullivan, and this is my daughter Stacy.”
“Well hello Stacy, hello Val. Let’s get something to eat shall we? I’m starving.”
“Me too!” Young Stacy ran up the steps with Teddy in her arms.
We sat down in a corner booth and while Stacy was finishing her hamburger and fries, Val opened up to me.
“I was evicted last week. We’ve been living out of my car. I have no family, and no job. Well, my mom died five years ago…and my husband left us. I don’t know what to do.” Her hand holding the coffee cup trembled, so she placed it down on the table instantly. “I’m a nervous wreck. My poor daughter…we haven’t been able to buy groceries for some time. We’ve been eating at the mall, sampling the free food. And, we’ve been, sleeping in a commuter parking lot overnight. Well, she’s been sleeping; I stay awake and watch all night.”
“I’ve an idea. There’s an elderly lady who’s in need of care. She’s been looking for someone to do her errands, clean and cook. She’d even go so far as to have the right person live-in. She’s a very sweet widow. Would you be interested?”
Her eyes sparkled as her face lit up with a smile enhancing her beauty, “Yes, I would!”
“Mommy you look so pretty when you smile.”
She hugged her child. And, looked at me and in a quiet voice said, “thank-you.”
“As a matter of fact, why don’t you order Stacy an ice cream? I’ll call her now.”
“Can I have ice cream?” She clapped her ketchup laden hands.
“May I? And, yes you may.”
The widow agreed to see her. We arrived in no time and walked up to the mahogany door and rang the bell. “If it works out…you start immediately.”
The door was opened by her nurse Joanne, “Hi, go right in, she’s in the living room. Goodnight.”
Stepping into the beautiful huge foyer, we walked into the living room; I started to make the introductions, “Hello. Mrs. Jansen, this is…”
The widow dropped her tea cup as she gasped bringing her hand to her mouth.
“Are you okay Mrs. Jansen?” I looked at her with concern.
“You…it’s you!” She pointed at Val.
Val stopped in her tracks holding her daughter tightly.
“Valerie, is it really you?”
“Huh?” Valerie stared at her.
“What’s this about?” I asked.
She handed Valerie a picture. Her eyes widened, “Why do you have a picture of my mom?”
“Sweetheart, that’s my daughter. Your mom and I had a fight so many years ago. She left when you were two. I prayed one day you and your mom would return to me.” She sobbed as she held out her arms.
Val, the identical image of her mother, embraced her grandmother, as the picture of her mom smiling and looking happy…watched.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: John 5:14
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