Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Spring (as in the season) (11/28/05)
TITLE: The Paper Boy
By Christl Boyd
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Everyday, around seven o'clock in the morning, a deposit was made. The only human contact she had was the brief glance she made out her window at the boy who delivered the news to her home.
He looks like a sweet young man.
The thought had meandered thru her mind several times during the past few years. The delivery boy looked to be about twelve years old. His hair was brown and disheveled; apparently the "fashion" nowadays according to the television. He always wore a t-shirt, baggy jeans and sneakers. And everyday, before boarding his bike, the young man turned toward her home and waved.
The first time he gestured toward the house, she'd drawn her curtain quickly. She had not realized he knew that she watched him ride away everyday. Although she did not ever return his kindness, he continued greeting her religiously.
To someone else, a simple wave from their paper boy would mean nothing. But to her, it meant the world. In the reclusive state that she had allowed to become her life, a touch of human kindness was foreign.
After the shock of his first greeting wore off, she began to look out the window a few minutes after the paper had been dropped. As time passed, she would open her curtain immediately following the deposit. Then, eventually, she would keep watch for the deliverer and watch him until he rode away.
She was following thru with her morning routine, when she heard a knock on the door. A moment or two passed by and the knock came again. She edged toward the entryway of her home and stood silently before the door.
"Mrs. Slate," a voice called, "it's me, Andy. Your paper boy. I know you don't like being bothered; maam, but I've got something for you. I'll just leave it on your front doorstep, if you want," he waited for a response, and then continued. "Um…I guess I better go. I'll just leave it out here for you, o.k.? Right by your door. I'll…uh, I'll see ya tomorrow. Bye."
That's odd, she thought to herself. He must have forgotten that I mail my payment directly to the newspaper. If that's the case, then why didn't he drop the envelope thru the slot, along with my paper? A new thought filled her with panic, he forgot my paper! He forgot to leave my newspaper!
"Wait," she yelled to the empty street, "wait!"
She held her hand above her head to shield her eyes against the sun's rays. After her eyes had adjusted, she glanced around. The tiny rows of pansies lining her homes' walkway had been meticulously cared for. Solid proof indeed that the gardener her husband had hired before he fell ill, had continued working hard.
The large oak tree in the center of her lawn stood tall. It was a living testament to the fifty years she'd shared with her husband. Although cancer had taken her beloved, the tree they'd planted as newlyweds, would surely weather the storms of life.
"Oh Harold," she whispered to herself, "how I do miss you."
She reached for a handkerchief, stuck in the pocket of her robe. As she grabbed the bit of cloth, a small bundle lying on the doorstep caught her attention. Wrapped in waxed paper was a brightly colored bouquet of flowers and beneath that was her newspaper.
A small note stuck out from the bouquet. It read:
Dear Mrs. Slate,
I got you these flowers from my mom's garden. She said she had to trim the bushes so they don't get sick and die. I don't ever see you outside, so I thought maybe you could take these inside with you. My grandma really liked spring flowers and I hope you do too.
Rather than going back inside, she made her way to a rocking chair on the porch. It had been far too long since she'd been outside for any reason. As she sat there, enjoying the much beloved creak of her husband's favorite chair, she thought perhaps it might serve her well to add this event to her morning routine. After all, it was spring.
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