Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)
- TITLE: Twenty Questions
By Loren T. Lowery
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A birthday party for deaf, seven year-old Billy was being held. Succulent barbeque smoke wafted in curious gray puffs over green meadow grass, teasing the tummies of eight of his favorite friends.
A white kerchief tied to hide his eyes, hung askew over his cheek and brow as he chased Karen who clutched a package in her hand. Giggling, she turned and signed him to guess with twenty questions what her gift contained
The others quickly formed a circle around them, and laughter blended with delight as they waggled and signed as one, Guess, Billy, guess!
Grinning from ear to ear, Billy removed the kerchief and signed back, asking Something I want?”
Karen nodded and quickly moved her hand to show one guess had been used.
A few yards away, in the shade of a towering oak, with a yellow and blue stripped apron tied snugly about his waist, Billy’s older brother and guardian, Dave, watched. He was smiling as he sat the last of the hotdogs on the warming tray hung on the grill.
“They are having fun,” Dave’s girlfriend, Trudy said, coming up to him. “I’m glad you chose Magi Park, it’s special.”
Dave turned to her, the airy sound of the revelers becoming faint yet close and reassuring like sprinklers on a lawn in the late afternoon.
“I’m glad, too.” He paused, looking into her eyes. “Your being here means a lot – to both Billy and me.” He looked back at the celebrants. “I try to remember how Mom and Dad used to celebrate my birthday…there always seemed to be laughter when they were alive.”
“I wish I had known them, but you are doing a wonderful job with Billy.”
He shrugged. “He’s my brother, it’s not hard.”
“He’s lucky, some of us never get to experience half the love you give to him.”
He took her hand. “Trudy…
“Well, it just that there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you.”
“Billy, he really likes you. Loves you in fact.”
She laughed. “Let him know I love him back. It’s funny, but being around him brings out the best in me.” She cocked her head, studying him. “Sort of like you do.”
His face flushed. “It’s just that Billy and I are family. Ever since our parents died, we’re all each other have. We’re a package…”
They heard a commotion from the circle and turned to watch Billy sign, Girls want, too?”
Karen nodded and quickly counted fifteen on her fingers.
Trudy gestured toward the circle. “Like Karen, hiding that gift behind her back?”
Dave looked out to his brother’s party. “Yes, I mean no, this isn’t twenty questions. I mean I don’t know.”
“Dave, what are trying to say?”
“I mean I love you, Trudy. Ever since the moment I met you. You make time stand still, you make me tongue tied and I can’t stop thinking about you…don’t want to stop thinking about you.”
“No, don’t stop me, please hear me out. I can’t see my life going forward without you being in it - beside me. I can’t see myself with anyone else and sharing my future. I don’t want anyone else. You fill a hole in my heart…I can’t explain it.”
Tears welled in Dave’s eyes and he came down on one knee. “Trudy, become my wife. I will do all that is within my power to make you happiest woman in the world.”
He reached into his apron pocket and pulled out a velvet box, handing it to her. “I know it would be an instant family, but I’ve seen the love you have for Billy and I know the love he feels for you. Trudy, marry me.”
Tears burst in Trudy’s eyes. “Magi Park.”
“Your love – your family – it’s the purest, most precious gift I could dare hope for.”
“Our love our family?” he asked.
She bent to kiss him and whisper, “Yes,yes, a thousand times yes."
They heard giggles coming from the circle and turned to see everyone standing with open awe and pointing at them.
Clasping Trudy’s hand he moved them to the center of the circle, Billy, he signed, you have one last gift from both Trudy and me. He then gestured for twenty questions.
Billy rushed forward and embraced them, silently, joyfully, answering them in just one.
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