Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: PHOTOS and/or SOUVENIR(S) (vacation) (07/16/15)
- TITLE: Uncovering an Altar
By Grace Teoxon
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“Do you know … Miss Sally has lost her helper again?”
“Well, what do you expect, all that hoeing and cleaning. That’s not too bad but it can be lonely as hardly anyone visits, except the pastor and his wife. The committee ladies are not comfortable visiting - she serves tea but hardly contributes to the conversation, just nods and smiles .. like she’s not there with you.”
“Tsk tsk … poor soul,” the other lady assented. Sipping water, she eavesdropped shamelessly and soon as the ladies left, she asked the salesclerk for directions.
The gate was ajar and as she went near, a dog barked, creating such a ruckus that she pulled the gate closed lest the dog rush out. A tall woman, perhaps in her late thirties, emerged from a shed. She asked for work, showing her ID.
That was four months ago. Between them, the vegetables thrived - a shared work along with long silences. Miss Sally enjoys harvesting though, especially strawberries she eats right there on the field, her lips stained, her eyes alight, losing that serious mien. She must have been quite pretty in her day.
They don’t cultivate flowers but inside the house, it burst in all colors, shades, hues, dazzling to look at … on the walls. Paintings of flowers beautifully framed; no fresh ones as there are no vases, and just a few photos of family outings as accents. She wonders at the contrast … just the very thing she idly thinks about when the dew is still on the leaves and one wish for spots of color on ground, not only on the awakened sky.
Rummaging in the shed for some tools, she saw a low cabinet partly hidden by sacks of fertilizer. She tugged at it, then pulled forcefully; inside are … whoa… photo frames of various sizes and makes of metal, wood, hard plastic, even art frames. How come these are here?
Up in the attic one day, she strolled past well-ordered spaces of stacked boxes and piles of things. At the far end are a cupboard and a worn chair facing it a few feet away. She noticed due to a key dangling on the lock. Miss Sally must have left it and without a thought, she pulled it open and gaped …loads of photos … a collage loosely glued and pinned all over the back wall with no space left for a grain of wood to peep. Peering closely, she saw order in the seeming chaos, a gradation of events ... a lovely young woman stepping out with a beau; in an open car, hair wild, their mouths opened wide (she can almost hear them yelling); by a camp trailer with the young man touching her blown hair, laughing with her. This same handsome guy faced her now quizzically, it seems; she, too, is puzzled, tracing the picture path that abruptly ended. Who is this young man?
She must have looked distracted that prompted Miss Sally to ask, “Is there anything bothering you?”
“Please don’t get mad Miss. I don’t mean to pry … it’s just I saw the frames and the photos …” her querulous voice trailed to a whisper, “what happened Miss?”
“We were engaged and then I got assigned to another city. He got involved with another girl. End of story.
Yeah, sitting there looking and languishing … for how long?
“Oh Miss, surely the Lord has plans for you, perhaps … a knight!” she exclaimed wide-eyed.
Miss Sally turned away muttering ‘bout foolish talk.
Months passed; vases of flowers started to appear, Miss Sally starts disappearing. Never mind, the roses are so tingly soft.
She scuttled to the attic - the cupboard is open and empty.
Didn’t Miss say we’ll have a bonfire tonight, a celebration of sorts… ?
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him… “ (Romans 8:28 NIV).
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