Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: NOISE (05/03/18)
TITLE: Goodbye Mr. Weaver
By Jody Day
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The rhythmic ping changed to one long alarm. Mr. Weaver writhed, his eyes fluttered, and Beth gasped. Her fingers shook as she pressed the call button. He settled as Nurse Wells arrived.
She checked his vitals. “You look exhausted. Why don't you go home and get some sleep? We’ll call you if something happens.”
Beth shook her head. “I'm fine, thanks.”
The nurse left and Beth tried to block out the beep-sucking sound. She thought it cruel as it seemed to pulse a second of life, then take it away in a morbid symphony.
A rat-tat sounded at the door. Beth looked up to see her brother peeking in.
“Come in, Bart.” She motioned him to the chair next to her. “I thought you guys would have left by now.”
“Everyone is out in the van, ready to go. I’m here to make one last plea. Please come with us, Sis.” He clasped his hands together. “I don’t understand why you’re doing this.”
“He doesn’t have anyone, Bart." She avoided her brother’s eye. “Why can’t you guys wait this trip another week or two?”
“The whole point is the concert tonight. If we don’t leave within the next half-hour, we’ll miss it. I don’t get it. What did he ever do for you? Grumpy old man, why, he’s Chairman of the Board. I think you’re taking the ‘love your neighbor thing’ a little too far.”
Could he hear them? Bart’s words rang true. Mr. Weaver could win the Meanest, Most Profane Neighbor in the World award. He’d even smashed their car windshield with an ax because Dad parked their car a few inches on his lawn. His morning rant to the paper boy served as her alarm clock.
“There must be something redeemable about him. Mom always said we needed to pray for him. Maybe he was heartbroken over his wife’s death.” Beth glanced at the old man in the bed, trying to see his face in a different light. No, the sallow skin was frozen in the same familiar grimace.
“There it is. That Hallmark movie romanticism. Come on, Sis. I’ve packed your things. Say your goodbyes and let’s go. Don’t your friends mean more to you than this guy? How about me? I’ll be going back to school soon.” He reached for her arm and gently tried to nudge her out of her chair.
Lord, what do I do? Am I just being silly and romantic? He doesn’t even know I’m here. Should I go with my friends, or stay with Mr. Weaver?
His short breaths turned raspy. Beth’s heart sank. Why did she even care? “You guys go on. I don’t know why but I think God wants me here for some reason.” She waved him on.
“Whatever.” He shook his head and left in a huff.
Mom and Dad’s anniversary cruise made then unreachable to hear the news about Mr. Weaver, nor available to give advice. Put yourself in his shoes.
Was that Mom’s voice or the Holy Spirit?
Mr. Weaver’s eyes fluttered and an agonizing moan escaped his lips. Beth stood and reached for his hand. The heart monitor looked like the path of a rogue pinball at the mercy of a heartless gamer. She pressed the call button.
His face changed from grim to, could it be? Fear?
Beth took a deep breath and held his hand to her heart.
“Mr. Weaver, Jesus loves you. He wants to take you with him. I don’t know anything about you, even if we all tried. But Jesus knows you. Please call on his name. Ask forgiveness for your sins, and invite him into your heart. It only takes a moment.”
She felt a slight squeeze of his hand, and his face relaxed. The fear drained and calm settled over him.
“He’s gone, Sis.” Bart put his arm around her.
“I didn’t hear you come in.” She placed Mr. Weaver’s hand on his chest as Nurse Wells recorded his final stats.
“Yeah, I sent them on. Glad I didn’t miss the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Bart kissed his sister on the cheek.
“Do you think?” Beth began.
“We’ll never know this side of heaven, but that’s what you were here for, Sis.”
Beth thought she heard music.
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