Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Salt and Pepper (07/24/14)
TITLE: A Little More Flavour Please
By Pauline Carruthers
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With a toss of his shoulders Kyle Sampson slid into a seat on the back row; a furtive sideways glance revealing a perfect profile reflected in the window of the church hall. One manicured hand lightly skimmed pale golden hair, whilst the other gently smoothed a crease in his designer denim jeans. Dove grey eyes under long fair lashes automatically scanned the room, coming to rest on an unfamiliar head. Short, blunt cut hair, a tangle of silver grey and sandy brown, like a sprinkling of condiments.
“So who’s our utterly boring speaker this week.”
Kyle turned his toothpaste ad smile on Charlotte, oblivious to the fact that his mocking arrogance was beginning to grate on her nerves. Charlotte discreetly nodded her head in the direction of the visitor as she stepped up to the platform. Placing her notes on a table she began to speak. Kyle’s critical gaze lingered on her long brown skirt, perfectly matched beige checked jacket; low heeled tan shoes. Lydia’s smart appearance took Kyle by surprise, completely alien to her sun burned, deeply furrowed face, washed out blue eyes and condiment coloured hair. He glanced fleetingly at Charlotte, knowing that sometimes she was aware of his thoughts.
Lydia’s accent grated like sandpaper in Kyle’s ears. He tuned out, focusing his attention on his designer trainers. At the same time feigning interest. But he couldn’t help picking up snatches of what she was sharing.
“Forty three years in Africa, thousands of children fed and taught; adults turning to Jesus, tribal differences resolved, wells built…”
Leaning towards Charlotte he whispered that working in Africa wasn’t worth the wrinkles and washed out look. His mind tuned in and out consistently. Lydia talked about the Holy Spirit, her animated blue eyes taking on depth like an ocean. If Kyle had looked he would have seen the radiance of Jesus shining through the wrinkles. His glory reflected in her face, making it beautiful. She took salt and pepper shakers from a bag, carefully shaking the contents onto the table. A delighted Kyle leaned into Charlotte, commenting that he knew where the hair colour had come from. Quietly laughing at his own joke he noticed those closest to him had been unable to resist a slight smile.
Sounds of crockery and low voices coming from the kitchen area reminded him of supper. The older ladies did a mean buffet and he couldn’t wait.
Lydia’s voice broke into his thoughts again. She was making the point that an effective Christian life needed the anointing of the Holy Spirit. As she shook out more salt and pepper to illustrate her point clearly she talked about bland food being revitalised and made tastier by the addition of condiments. For the new young Christians it was a simple but effective illustration.
After the talk everyone made their way over to the food laden tables. Kyle turned to Lydia, indicating for her to follow him.
“So glad that’s over. I have never been so bored in my life. We should have gone to the disco instead. What about going on Saturday?”
“You probably wouldn’t have been bored if you had been listening. And you might have learned something.”
Silently Charlotte followed Kyle to one of the long tables laid out with food, picking up plates, cutlery and napkins on the way. Sitting beside him she made a fuss of making sure his plate and cutlery were neatly laid out in front of him. His napkin unfolded ready for use. He threw her one of his special smiles, ran his hands through hair already combed to perfection and straightened his expensive shirt collar. Flicking a spare napkin over the seat of the chair he sat down carefully, not wanting the bottoms of his designer jeans to ride up over his spotless shoes.
After the group leader had given thanks Charlotte waited until everyone was comfortably seated and helping themselves to the appetising food. Almost in slow motion she pushed her chair back, hesitating for a moment, before moving to stand behind Kyle. Quietly and calmly she lifted the salt and pepper shakers from the table, gently removing the caps. Then slowly and deliberately and with a slight flourish, shook the contents of both over Kyle’s beautiful light golden hair. Smilingly she commented that the condiment colour would suit him much better.
I don’t know if Kyle got the message. But I would like to think that he did.
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