Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)
TITLE: Love at First Wipe
By Jesus Puppy
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"I need love in my life," Ben stated in a flat tone as he took a seat at the counter of the local café. "A great love. Something special."
"Sorry Kid," Carol dropped the lunch menu before him and poured a cup full of hot coffee. "Special for the day is a BLT with Ham-n-Bean soup."
The normal gathering laughed at the on-going joke. Each day the young man came to lunch and jokingly told others of his sad lonely life, and how he thought a wife would complete that life. The others just laughed and joked about how sad it would be for the wife.
Ben was a good man, a hard worker for the city, doing anything from electrical lines to lawn care. He had been alone most of his adult life, his parents had died when he was only nineteen years old. Being born an only child, there was no other family. Distant cousins somewhere that he had never met, but no close family.
"Just for that Carol, I should marry you."
"Right, Kid," the waitress laughed, "a thirty-five-year old with a fifty-year old waitress.. That's not love, it’s having a servant. Although it could be fun." She smiled as the rest of the counter group laughed.
"Just the Ham and cheese, heavy on the mustard." Ben slid the menu back, taking a sip of his coffee and looked around at those he called his friends. "If I had a wife, I wouldn't be eating lunch here, that's for sure."
From Accountants to Teachers, even a Lawyer sat daily in the café at lunch time, the normal crowd wasting an afternoon hour, eating not just the food but the friendly jests of those gathered. A part of their life as much as any family could be, for some like Ben, the only family they had now.
He looked around the dining room as he sipped his coffee, and noticed the new-comer to the place. A young woman in her mid twenties had been coming for lunch every day that week. As she sat alone reading a Bible in the corner, she marked down notes in an old spiral notebook. She raised her eyes for a moment, as though sensing Ben's look. He nodded his head and raised his cup in a simple greeting, the smile it brought to her face was enough to melt the coldest heart.
He slowly turned back to the counter and glanced at the mirror on the wall. He could still see her, every now and then she would look up, smiling warmly, knowing he was watching her.
"Now that could be special," Ben said to himself, then laughed. "Too young for the likes of you, Ben. Keep your head out of the clouds."
As lunch arrived, he tried to focus on eating, even added a word to the conversation, but his eye could not stop glancing to the mirror. Just as he had built up enough courage to go speak to the young woman, he looked up once more and she was gone. Quickly, he turned to look around the room for one last sight of her, and looked into the deepest set of hazel brown eyes he had ever seen.
As she paid her check, Ben thought to say something, anything, but he was left speechless. Again their eyes met, she smiled warmly as she stood beside him, and the last of Ben's resolve melted away, replaced with fear and embarrassment. Slowly the word formed in his mind, then stumbled out his mouth.
"Uh.. Hello," Ben stammered awkwardly, not daring to take his eyes away for even a moment. She didn't say a word, just smiled and moved slow as a dream, as she reached over with a napkin and wiped a smeared drip of mustard from Ben's chin. She continued to smile as she received her change and turned for the door.
"Now there you go, Ben," Coral said with a soft laugh. "You could talk all you want, and she wouldn't even notice. She is deaf." The others gathered there at the counter joined in with laughter, making small comments as to the silence of the night the two might have together, but Ben could not hear a word of it.
As he looked out the window and watched an angel catch the city bus, Ben's mind knew only two things, something special had come into his life, and she might be back for lunch tomorrow..
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