Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BAGGAGE (02/08/18)
TITLE: Subtle Signs
By Wilma Schlegel
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“Charlie? Where are you?” Sheila took a step and there he was. “How did you do that? Hey you look wonderful, how did you do that?” She marveled at this man. True, he was a great driver, but hadn’t they just had a very close call? That other vehicle was coming right at them. How had he avoided it – and how could he come away looking this good?
“Is this the place? It looks charming. In fact it looks better than anywhere we’ve ever been and we’ve been to some great places.” Sheila couldn’t wait to explore. “I hope check-in doesn’t take long,” she thought.
“Charlie, have you seen my purse? I hate to have to lug out my overnight bag, but I need to freshen up and I can’t find my purse.
“Sheila, don’t fuss. You look like an angel. Relax and look around you.” Charlie put his arm around her shoulders and pivoted her to take in the view. “Look, we can see for miles. Look at that sparkling river,” he pointed, “and green and rolling hills and, ha.” he chuckled “I see a few subtle signs here and there. It’s where we’ve always wanted to be.”
She stopped looking for her purse for just a moment. “Yes, it’s perfect.” She stood on tiptoe to kiss his cheek and a tear slid down her own.
“Don’t cry, honey, what could be wrong?” He stood back holding each of her hands in each of his.
“We’re finally here on this beautiful vacation we planned and you’re perfect but I can’t even find my purse. Please help me to find my bags. I want to look nice for you. I want to fix my face and hair first…really where are my things? My planner and my notebook and…the money and…all my clothes and…where is the car? Did the valet take it? I need my suitcases.” She put her hands to her face and the tears streamed down.
“Sheila, honey, I have an idea that we’re not going to need any of the baggage we were traveling with.
“How can you say that? What will I do?” She sank down onto a perfectly placed bench that she hadn’t noticed a second ago. She felt a sensation of lightness.
“This bench is very comforting,” she sniffled. “I mean comfortable… no I do mean comforting… somehow,” Sheila looked up at Charlie.
“I have no doubt that it is – comfortable and comforting. I think we should walk over to the gates over there, though,” he motioned.
She took the hand he held out. “OK, if you think there’s somebody there who can help us because I can’t imagine being without all my stuff.” She nodded in tentative trust.
They walked together toward beautiful gates. She drew strength from his presence and the closer they got to the gates, the better she felt. Charlie was right. They could report their predicament. Maybe the valet took their baggage to their room already. At worst they’d just get it replaced.
They passed through the gates and Charlie squeezed her hand as he held it. It felt like passing through their wedding arch again, how wonderful! Sheila wished she could feel like this forever.
A man stood just inside the gates to receive them. He held out his hands, his arms in welcome. She saw odd marks (scars?) in his palms and felt a moment of hesitation to touch them and then anger at whoever did this to him. She was strongly drawn to take those hands though and when she did she felt warmth and love as never before. Then she looked up into his eyes, the most tender eyes she’d ever seen.
And she knew.
“Jesus,” Sheila breathed in true and awed realization. “Do you know me? Can I really come in?” She wanted to ask the questions, but no words would come.
He wrapped his arms around her pulling her to his heart and she felt loved and known as never before. “Sheila,” He said. “You are dear and precious to me. Thank you for accepting my gift. I love you with an everlasting love and you are home, forever.”
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