Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Start (01/16/06)
- TITLE: A True Beginning
By Garnet Miller
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Lila feigned a smile as she twisted her napkin. “I needed to talk to a friend.”
“Just tell me what it is Lila. You know my new position keeps me busy these days.”
“Oh, well, I’m not going to hold you up. I just wanted to run a new business idea by you.”
Nina held up her hand. “Stop right there. Haven’t we been down this road before?”
Lila tried to straighten her napkin. “I know that Nina, but I think this time I’ve found just the thing to get my life going in the right direction.”
Nina shook her head. “That’s what you said about the yoga classes, the cosmetic business, and the opportunity that came up at work. You always lose interest before you ever get started. It’s your nature.”
Lila’s lips tightened into a fine line. “As I recall, it was you who told me that I’d be setting myself up for disappointment if I pursued the position at work. But, it seems the position was right for you, though, since you interviewed after I bowed out.”
Nina’s eyes narrowed. “Are you jealous? It was that kind of attitude that made you a poor fit for the job in the first place.”
“Stop it! I don’t want to argue. Just please listen to my idea.”
Nina glanced at her watch. “Sorry Lila, but I have to go. I have a meeting. Can you get back to work on your own?”
Lila shielded her eyes from the sun as she looked up at her friend who now stood with her purse in hand.
“I’ll be fine.”
Nina smiled and hurried from the café.
Lila decided she wasn’t hungry anymore. She pulled out her cell phone and called her supervisor. The thought of returning to work at that moment caused her stomach to ache.
Upon leaving the café, she wandered through the surrounding streets. On one corner, she noticed a rather large church that encompassed the entire block. She ascended the stone steps and went inside.
The cathedral ceilings in the main sanctuary had an open-air feel to Lila that comforted her. A couple of people were kneeling in front of the sanctuary at the altar. She slipped into the last pew without a sound.
“May I help you?” said a voice from behind her.
Lila jumped up and turned to see a man dressed in a black robe.
“I didn’t mean to intrude,” she said.
He motioned for her to sit down again and he sat beside her. “You are more than welcome here. Is there anything you need?”
Lila’s eyes brimmed with tears. “Yes, Reverend, there is. I need a new beginning to my life, but nothing I try seems to accomplish that.”
He rubbed his chin. “Have you tried Jesus?”
* * * *
Nina drummed her fingers on the table. “Two lunches in one week—I don’t know what to say, except that I’m very busy.”
Lila seemed not to hear her friend. Her ears were filled with another voice.
“I just had to tell you what happened to me the other day! When you left me here, I walked around for a bit and found this huge church. I went inside to see how it looked. I met the Reverend and he showed me how to find what I’ve been looking for.”
Nina’s eyed her with suspicion. “What exactly have you been looking for, Lila?”
“A beginning, a real beginning to my life, and I found it. He introduced me to Jesus Christ.”
Nina laughed out loud. “That’s your new start? Following Jesus? Oh, Lila, what am I going to do with you?”
Lila felt as though she had been slapped in the face.
“If you were really my friend, you’d be supportive. But since God has just shown me that you are not, you won’t understand how wonderful my life has become.”
“So now you think you’re too good for me, huh? What kind of God makes you get rid of your friends?”
Lila stood up. “I can keep my friends. I just need to get rid of you.”
Nina gasped. “Well, I never—”
“When you want to start being my friend, meet me at church. I’ll introduce you to Jesus.”
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