Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: THE UGLY TOURIST (07/09/15)
- TITLE: Emily
By C D Swanson
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“She’s new.” I answered plainly.
“I know…but, she needed a job.”
The customer shuddered as she came to clear away his dishes. He stood abruptly and placed a tip on the table and then motioned for me to follow him.
“I gotta tell you Miss…I think that person will hinder your sales at this here establishment. Do you know what you’re doing? Ask yourself that question before you lose customers.”
I watched him walk away.
“Can I take a quick break?”
“Sure, the lunch crowd is gone. We should be okay for the next little while.”
I watched Emily walk away. My heart went out to her. She was diminutive in size. Due to the fire her hair didn’t grow back, especially on the left side of her head. And her face was horribly scared. She’d numerous operations which included restructuring her nose and lips. She left her hometown behind due to the innocuous stares and pity she was met with day after day. That town only knew her as the beauty and Homecoming Prom Queen.
She had barely begun what looked like a lucrative and successful modeling career when the tragedy occurred. On her way home from a modeling shoot she witnessed an explosion. Within seconds the house was consumed with flames that licked the top floor. She saw a young child crying by the window. She dialed 911 and without thought for her own safety she rushed in to grab the child. The child pointed upstairs, “Mommy!” She looked up the steps and noticed a person on the floor.
Emily rushed the baby outside and placed her into her car. She could hear the firetrucks in the distance. She thought she could at least get the mother out of the engulfing flames before they consumed her. When she reached the young woman on the floor, she cried, “Wake up! Miss, wake up! Come on we have to get out of here!” The woman stirred and could barely stand the smoke inhalation already taking its toll on her lungs. “Come on, let’s go…”
That’s the last thing Emily remembers. She woke up in the burn unit, a career died and so did Emily that day. She didn’t die physically, but emotionally she was deader than a hammer.
The young mother miraculously survived with fewer burns than Emily. Emily must have shoved her down the stairs and then collapsed. She left the town two years later and wound up on my doorstep.
She helped with clearing dishes and cleaning the restaurant. In fact, if you’ll pardon the pun, she was a model employee. She was quiet and kind. Well, the fact that she risked her own life for the sake of a child speaks volumes.
“Okay, Misty I’m back. Thanks for the break. I’ll get right to work.”
“Emily, you still have another hour. Why don’t you grab a dish from the kitchen and eat something?”
“Thanks, I think I will. I’m kind of hungry now that you’ve mentioned it. I haven’t eaten anything at all today.” She turned to walk away, “Oh, and if you don’t mind…I’d like to volunteer the upcoming holiday shift. I need the extra cash.”
“Of course, if you’re sure. You’re going to get a bonus too Emily—”
“Thank you! That’ll be great.”
Emily placed an envelope filled with cash into a gift box with a baby doll. She wrote a note, “Rachel, I hope you’ll give this little doll a home. She is in need of love and I know you’ll do a great job with her. Please give the envelope to your mommy. Until next time, with love and hugs.”
No one knew that Emily was sending money home to the little girl she’d rescued. The mother was on disability due to the fire--never the same again. So, she’d give half her earnings to the woman and child she’d saved…anonymously. I was the only one who knew, and only because I caught her doing it. She opened up and told me the entire story of her life up to current times.
The regulars got to know Emily and didn’t flinch anymore. They realized underneath she was a beautiful person. I learned about love through Emily.
I fully understood what God sees when He looks at His children… their heart and nothing more.
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