Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FRESH START (01/05/17)
- TITLE: THE BUS RIDE
By Dennis Gallemore
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Staring out a smudged window, Jake gazed at the city he was leaving behind. His thoughts drifting back, he shook his head. Three weeks earlier, he had celebrated his 30th birthday by signing the divorce papers that had ended his third marriage. Finding red lipstick on his shirt collar for the second time had been the straw that broke the camel's back. The final blow had fallen yesterday. Arriving at work late once again, his boss had called him into his office and promptly fired him.
“Mind if I sit beside you young man? I promise I won't bite. My name's Marigold, by the way.”
Startled, he looked up to see the woman who had been sitting in the front. He glanced around at the empty seats. “I suppose so, but I most warn you that I won't be good company.”
“Let me be the judge of that.” Seating herself, she smiled. “I didn't catch your name.”
Grimacing, he turned toward the window once again. “I didn't throw it.”
Feeling her eyes on the back of his head, he slowly swiveled back toward her. “Jake, Jake Holland.”
“Nice to meet you, Jake.” She studied his face. “Are you all right? You seem disturbed.”
Swallowing hard, he nodded. “Disturbed. Yeah, that's about right.”
She placed a comforting hand upon his arm. “What seems to be troubling you?”
“I doubt you would want to hear about my problems.”
“Actually, Jake, I would.”
Sucking in a breath, he nodded. “Okay; don't say I didn't warn you though.” Slowly, he told her his story.
After he finished, she frowned. “I see. Well, you certainly have some serious issues to deal with Jake. How are you going to deal with them?”
Sighing, he shook his head. “I'm going to visit my brother out in L.A. See if I can find a job, you know, start over.”
“You're looking for a fresh start?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
Her hazel eyes drilled into his. “Listen to me Jake. You don't know me but I've been around the block a few times. You want a fresh start? You don't need to fly to L.A., or anywhere else for that matter. The problems are within you; they aren't in this city. You can go anywhere in the world, but you will take your problems with you. May I ask you a very personal question?”
“Do you believe in God?”
Surprised, he shrugged. “I don't really know. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, like now. If He exists, where is He?”
Glancing around the bus, she waved a hand. “Jesus is here; He's the third passenger on this bus. Ask Him to come and sit with you and He will. He can help you.”
“How's He going to be able to help me? Can He straighten out this mess that I call a life?”
“Yes and no. He will help you, but you have to do your part. Jesus can give you a fresh start, but you have to let Him into your heart. A real fresh start begins within you; you need to unlock your heart so He can enter. All you need is the key.” Reaching into her purse, she pulled out a small bible and handed it to him. “You want a fresh start? Then start here.”
The bus lurching to a stop, she stood. “My stop. Keep the bible Jake as a gift from me. Goodbye; I'll pray for you.” Walking to the front, she stepped off.
Minutes later, the driver called out “last stop, the airport.”
Stepping off the bus, Jake stared at the bus stop bench in front of him. “This isn't the airport; this is the stop where I got on.” He turned. “Hey, this isn't...” The bus had vanished. Shakily, he made his way back to the bench and sat down. “What happened to the bus?” Shaking his head, he opened the bible and found, to his astonishment, inscribed on the bible's inside leaf, the words “To Jake Holland, may you find a fresh start in Jesus.”
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