Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DROP IN A BUCKET (10/24/19)
TITLE: A small hello
By Jack Taylor
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And then he was there.
He might have been two or three at best. A dimpled, smiling, bundle of joy topped with a straggly mop of red. His wrinkled t-shirt and scuffed up jeans tied him to the earth and a family not well off. His worn-out Winnie-the-Pooh sheltered in its home under his arm.
The nurses and care-aids might have been too busy for her but once a day the little tike skipped into the parking lot outside her window and waved. And smiled. And held up his Winnie-the-Pooh for her to see. It was such a small part of her 24 hours but it filled her heart with the energy to get up and face each morning.
The ritual had started one morning months before when her spirit wanted to go home to heaven. The nurse had stopped by with the news. “The police called. Your son was killed in a car accident last night. I think he was your only family member, right?”
The tears streamed down her face as she had rolled herself toward the single picture. It was of her son standing by her side during her last birthday – a cupcake with a candle in his hand. His carrot top splashed wildly over his forehead and onto his glasses. His freckles had faded but still lived strong in her memory. He had been her life and only connection to the outside world since her confinement a decade before.
The nurse had wheeled her to the window so they could change her bed and that’s when she had seen him. The little red-haired boy, sucking his thumb and looking up at her window. She gasped at the vision until the mother grabbed her son and pulled him out of view.
The next day she was at her window the moment breakfast was done. It took hours but the boy showed up, dragging his Pooh bear. He resisted his mother’s pull and pointed up at her window. His mother frowned but let him linger for a moment.
Each day the boy arrived and looked up. One morning he waved and she waved back. The heart connection was so strong that memories of her own Tommy flooded her soul and revived her for a whole day with joyful remembrances.
Tommy cuddling up in her lap as she read him the Bible stories each night. Tommy asking the hard questions… “why did the little girl die and how did Jesus raise her? Why did daddy die and why doesn’t Jesus raise him?”
There were too many unanswerable questions in the world. Her hugs for Tommy seemed like such an insignificant amount of love for all he needed to turn out well. Yet he had turned out well. He had devoted himself to her when the cancer had stricken her. He had given up true love to keep her in her home for as long as possible. He had visited her every day after he finished teaching.
“How can I love you today?” That was his one true welcome every afternoon.
And now, that tiny drop of care had evaporated. Dried up into one lonely picture on a wall.
In slow motion, she pivoted her wheel chair and saw the boy with his mother. He held out his Pooh bear to her. “Pooh needs a hug,” he said.
She reached out and accepted the bear and the little boy cuddled in with his stuffie. “We like your smile,” he said.
“He wouldn’t leave until we saw you,” the mom apologized. “We don’t mean to bother you. We’ve been reading about loving our neighbor and Timmy said we needed to come and love you since you were our neighbor.”
The woman examined the Pooh bear with a smile. “I’m Ava,” she said.
“Candy,” said the mom. “Timmy lost his grandma here several months ago and somehow he substituted you into his mind. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all,” Ava said. “I lost my son a few months ago. Your little boy has given me hope again.”
“It might be a small thing,” Candy said, “but would you mind if we visit you?”
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