Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)
TITLE: Taking Care Of Moose
By Jan Ackerson
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I continued to stare at the empty street for minutes after he’d gone, waiting for the battle between my heart and my stomach to subside. Luke was unlike anyone I’d ever known. He had swooped into my life three months ago, surrounding me with flowers and laughter at a time when I had almost come to believe in my own invisibility. He brought me a turtle named Moose, played songs for me on his harmonica, and drew our caricatures on dinner napkins. Luke radiated charm.
So why did my stomach flop alarmingly when, over his favorite evening snack of pickles and chocolate milk, Luke brought up the possibility of marriage?
There was only one solution—a heart-to-heart talk with Kris. We had been best friends for years, ever since we had bonded over our mutual dislike of long division and Mean Old Mrs. Maloney, the Scourge of the Fourth Grade. Chris and Kris, the Maloney-Baloney twins.
I made a quick phone call, then hopped into my car for the three-mile drive.
Kris’s house was a recent inheritance from an elderly spinster aunt, and the scent of lavender still hovered in most of the rooms. The wallpaper was huge vermilion cabbage roses, and lace doilies decorated nearly every surface. Nothing could be further from Kris’s no-frills approach to life, and we had laughed ourselves silly over the old-lady-ness of the house.
Kris greeted me at the door with a hug and a can of my favorite diet soda. “Tell me everything!”
We plopped onto the velvet couch—once a deep, plush rose but now faded and threadbare. “Kris, I just don’t know! He’s funny, he’s cute, he’s a believer, and he’s good to me…” I sighed and drained my soda.
“I’m sensing a ‘but’ here.” Kris took my empty can into the kitchen and returned with a huge bowl of kettle corn.
I had to laugh. “My ‘but’ has nothing to do with it!”
The unwelcome quivering in my tummy was starting to abate, thanks to the comfort of popcorn and a friend’s loyal attention. We talked through the entire bowl, and a second one, and finally Kris said the words that I knew I’d hear before the night was over.
“Do you feel at peace?”
“You know I don’t. As much as I enjoy Luke, when I think of marrying him, all I feel is panic. It’d be like marrying a…a bulldozer!”
“Have you prayed about it?” Preaching wasn’t Kris’s style; nevertheless, I was glad we’d finally gotten to this.
“Well…not really. It’s just been such a whirlwind, and it felt so good, in a way, to have someone love me, and he’s a Christian, so I didn’t think it was really necessary, and I was busy taking care of Moose…” I stopped, realizing how silly I sounded. “Will you pray for me?”
Kris stood and took the empty bowl to the kitchen, then sank back into the sofa and reached for my hand. “I’ve been praying for you all along, Chrissie, and I always will. Go home and talk it over with God, okay? Let me know when you find your peace.”
It was good advice. I spent the weekend in prayer, not even letting Luke come over for our usual Sunday night banana waffles.
I called Kris Monday evening. “Can we talk?” A few minutes later, I walked into the lavender-scented living room. “I just broke up with Luke—and I’m really at peace about it. God has someone else for me, I just know it. Someone who won’t be so overwhelming. Someone…comfortable.”
Kris took a deep breath. “I was hoping you’d say that. We’ve been friends for a long time, and I knew Luke wasn’t the guy for you.” I watched, puzzled, as Kris paled and seemed to forget how to form simple phrases. “Would you…I mean…do you think…I could be that guy?”
Startled, I looked with fresh eyes at this dear friend who had loved me for years. No longer a freckled redhead with scabby knees, he had become a godly gentleman—and I had nearly missed it.
I waited for the fish tails to begin flopping in my stomach, but instead, a wave of peace washed over my spirit. Kris pulled me toward him, and I rested my head near his heart. It felt exactly like home.
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