Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: REDUCE (11/05/15)
TITLE: The Balloon Payment
By LeslieJean Anderson
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Angela glared at him. “The court order says nothing about a summer adjustment! So you can’t do that!”
“Well, common sense says I can. I have to feed them and cloth them…”
“They have their clothes with them!”
“…and get their hair cut. They’re barely presentable.”
Angela felt tears welling up, but she choked them down and lifted her chin. “I’ll call my lawyer about this, Joe. You are not the law!”
“You don’t say. So sue me.” He leaned forward and grinned. Shivers of fear darted up and down her spine.
Angela tried again, “I need every cent of that child support to maintain the house and the car…”
Joe snorted, “Forget that school stuff and get a job, Angela.”
He turned abruptly and marched to the van. Angela could see the well-dressed woman in the passenger seat putting on lipstick while Angela’s children struggled with their seat belts.
Gritting her teeth, Angela slammed the door. Jerking her glasses off, she collapsed on the sofa and covered her face. She let the hot tears explode into her hands.
"Dear God, what am I going to do now? I just need this last summer semester to finish my nursing program! I thought that nursing was Your Will for me after Joe left. Everything fell into place. Did I misunderstand?"
The next morning Angela called the lawyer. After half an hour she slammed the phone down, bursting into tears again.
The day after that saw her at the nursing school’s financial aid department, but she left when the director told her that she had too many assets. She still had a house and a car.
The day after that Angela spent the morning in bed. Finally she got dressed and went out, returning with an armful of newspapers. The lights in her house were still burning at 2:00 am as she worked at her electric typewriter, red-eyed and hunched over.
And the next day she spent the last of her week’s budget at the hairdresser and the department store, where she bought a new suit.
The following day was Sunday. Angela sat in the back pew of her church with her eyes closed and her hands folded, praying.
"Dear God, I thank you for the nursing education I have had so far. I don’t want to abandon the path that I was so sure was Your Way, but I don’t know what else I can do. Now please just enable me to provide a good home for the children when they come back. I give it all to You. Thy Will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen."
Then she dug in her purse and pulled out the last of her cash to put it in the church envelope.
The rest of the day was spent resting and reading the scriptures. Angela had done everything she could do, and peace returned to her spirit at last.
When she woke up the next morning, she felt hopeful and expectant. God had been leading her since she’d given her life to Jesus, and she sensed that He had something special in store for her today. She thanked Him in advance.
As she got dressed for her first interview, she admired her new suit in the mirror and thanked Him for that too. It had been marked down 65% and fit her perfectly.
“People have disappointed me and betrayed me, but God, You have always been faithful,” she whispered.
Just then the phone rang. Angela hurried to answer it.
“Angela Hunter?” said an unfamiliar voice.
“This is Sam Jones, the real estate agent who sold your late mother’s house five years ago. Do you remember?”
“Why yes. You came up with that creative financing for the buyers. I hope they are still happy with the house,” she said.
“They are, and I have good news for you.”
“Yes, the buyers want to pay off that seven-year balloon payment. They want to give it to you in a lump sum, if you agree. Of course, you have the option of refusing, as the interest payments will stop – not that they amounted to very much. It would be a lump sum of $20,000 by the end of the week. Would that be acceptable to you?”
Sam barely heard Angela's gasp.
“Ms. Hunter? Is that a yes?”
748 words. A work of fiction, but based on a true story.
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