Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)
- TITLE: The Locksmith
By Kristi Wood
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Susan found her keys, locked the door, and bounced lightly down the stairs on her way to the subway. It was her daily routine as was the inner monologue going on inside her head. It always started with those keys she had given away and then proceeded to the relationships that had gone away with them. The last one was her fiancé, Barry. She thought she had made much wiser choices when she met him. She had even managed to keep her promise to herself to demand respect and to wait for a commitment before she had sex with him. Or at least she had waited to be engaged. But the morning after he proposed she found herself at the hardware store getting her key duplicated. Barry never did actually move in and she didn’t ask him to. But having a key was supposed to help them grow closer and to ease the transition to married life. He would come over whenever he wished and even spent the night on a regular basis. But the closeness, the intimacy that Susan craved, never seemed to materialize. Instead, she felt more and more like a doormat. It was when she had dropped by his apartment unexpectedly that she learned what kind of a man Barry really was. She left him and his new girlfriend and never looked back. Barry never showed up or called her again and she was too hurt and embarrassed to ask him to return her key.
“Why did he have to be such a rat? Why hadn’t I realized it sooner? Where did I go wrong? When will I find someone to love me…really love who I am?” Susan was halfway through her litany of self-doubt and painful questions when she noticed a new face among the regular commuters on the subway. He was wearing a worn but mostly clean coverall with the name of a locksmith business embroidered over the pocket. On the opposite side was a patch with the name ‘Jesus’ stitched on it. What really caught Susan’s attention though were his rough hands which seemed at odds with the contended smile on his face.
“How could someone in such a low-paying and menial job be so happy?” she wondered. She stole a few more glances toward him the rest of the ride to her stop. She could tell he was Hispanic by his name and his dark hair and tan complexion. His eyes, though, were a warm hazel that caught her attention. Just before her stop he turned and looked at her catching her gaze and simply smiled at her. Embarrassed, Susan exited the train and headed to work. She didn’t give Jesus or her missing keys another thought but she was in a better mood at work that day.
Still focused on a big presentation she was working on for tomorrow’s meeting, she didn’t think about it again until she had to rummage for her keys again and it reminded her of her mistakes. But this time her ruminations were interrupted by the sight of Jesus, the locksmith, waiting by her apartment door.
“Ms. Banner?” he asked, holding out his rough worker's hand to shake hers. “I’m Jesus, from the City Central Locksmith Shop. Your mother asked me to come over and change your locks for you. We don’t normally come out unless the tenant asks but she sounded rather concerned and prepaid a full replacement of your doorknob and the deadbolt. It’ll only take a few minutes.”
“Certainly, Jesus,” Susan responded. “Thank you for coming!”
“Now why did I think of this myself?” Susan asked herself as she dialed the phone to thank her mother. “Mama always did know best,” she mused. “Maybe I should pay a little more attention to that church stuff she was telling me about earlier, too.”
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