Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: rain (10/17/05)
TITLE: Rain, Rain...I'm Going Away
By Shari Armstrong
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Something bounced off her head, disrupting her mission.
Jeremy was standing there grinning, another paper ball in hand. “You are alive. I was beginning to wonder when you didn’t answer me. Wanna get some coffee?”
“Hey, sorry.” She stood and stretched. “I need to finish my report for Mr. Clarkson before I leave, but I guess I could use a break.” She looked at her watch. “I worked right through lunch. How about a snack, too?”
“Sure, and my treat.” He stepped back to give her room to get out. “Least I can do after pelting you in the head.”
There was a crowd of plastic covered people waiting for the elevator. “Let’s hit the stairs, it’ll be faster,” he suggested.
Lydia nodded, “Not to mention avoiding being jabbed by the umbrellas.”
They stepped out into the gray. The sky almost matched the concrete. “How about ‘Manna from Heaven’?” Jeremy suggested. “Best bagels in town.”
She shrugged, “Sure. I haven’t been there in awhile.” She didn’t tell him it was because she was avoiding the owner, a friend from church. Since she started working all the overtime, she hadn’t made it to church.
A few sprinkles fell from the sky just as they got under the awning.
He opened the door for her, and the wonderful home baked bread smells welcomed her inside. She glanced around and all the booths and tables were full, just a few seats at the counter were available. She sighed and walked through the maze of tables and chairs.
“Well, Hi, stranger,” a voice came from behind her.
She turned and saw Anna, wearing an apron, arms out for a hug. “Hi,” she said as she returned the hug.
Anna smiled, “Missed you. How’ve you been?”
”Good, just working a lot. You?” Lydia felt slightly uncomfortable.
“Blessed as always. Have a seat. What do you want? On the house.”
Jeremy and Lydia climbed up on a couple stools. She grabbed a coffee pot and a couple mugs, “Coffee?”
They both nodded and Jeremy said, “Please. I’d like a couple toasted plain bagels with that garlic cream cheese. Lydia?”
”I’ll have a chocolate chip with peanut butter.” She focused on sipping her coffee, avoiding eye contact with Anna.
Anna came back with their orders. “So, did you get the newsletter about the mission project next week?”
Lydia nodded, “Yes, but I’m leaving on vacation for two weeks.
“Oh? Where are you going?”
Lydia took another sip of coffee. “Just down to the beach for some relaxing fun in the sun.”
“Bring some back with you,” Jeremy said as he emptied his cup.
Anna was ready with a refill. “Well, I’ll pray you have a safe trip.
”Thanks.” She looked at her watch, “We really should be going.” She grabbed her bagel as she stood. “It was good seeing you again.” They tried to dodge the raindrops on the way back to the office.
After driving all night, she pulled into the empty parking lot. She found the office equally empty. “Hello?”
“Be right there!” A gray haired man came out from the back, wearing fishing waders. “Hi, can I help you?”
”I had reservations for the next two weeks, Lydia Thomas.”
”I’m so sorry. Didn’t you get our message? We’ve had flood damage from the storms. We’ll have to refund your money. Have a seat, I’ll be right back.”
Back in her car and dripping wet, she scanned the radio for the drive home. She heard a familiar tune and hit the button. “I pray for rain to come and wash away what has -made me numb…*” came from the speakers. The rain was coming down faster than the wipers could keep up with. Lydia pulled over and got out. She stood at the side of the road, looked up with her eyes closed, just letting the rain pour down over her. She said a pray for forgiveness.
The man from the resort pulled up to her, “You alright?”
Lydia smiled, “Never better!”
(* “Pray for Rain” by PfR, 1992)
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