Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Friend (11/02/17)
- TITLE: God Had a Plan
By Phillip Cimei
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The grotesque face staring at him had prompted the normal reaction. I was used to it. Countless grimaced looks—some dawning pity, others repulsion—usually preempted a stuttering search for words attempting to divert their shock. With mouth agape, he starred at my disfigurement only to be relieved of his thoughtless reaction by my unmoved, courteous, “Thanks, have a blessed day.”
With the excited anticipation of a child on Christmas morning, I rushed to my special place on the back patio to unwrap what God had planned for me all along. My mind pushed the rewind button back to the beginning of this long journey.
A three-year-old’s curiosity doesn’t wait for permission. My mother’s angelic voice was garnishing nighttime meal preparation with song. Her soothing tones, that normally rocked me to sleep at night, had lured me to my destiny. She was unaware of my presence. One turned back, one second of distraction spells disaster. A pot handle sticking out, little fingers reaching, reaching, then screams as my skin melted like wax. The journey began.
Two years of skin grafts, painful surgeries, lost play, and lonely, friendless days didn’t condition me for the arena of Kindergarten. The snickers, pointing, and shunning was to be expected explained my mother. But how do you prepare the tender loving heart of a five-year-old for a socially void life.
My mother’s smile always greeted me as I got off the “Short bus”—as the insensitive non-handicapped students labeled it. My steps were always rushed in an attempt to escape the giggling and crude remarks. Sadness taunted my soul. But God’s plan would soon remedy my ailing heart.
At bedtime, after my mother sang my favorite song, Jesus Loves the Little Children, I asked her, “If Jethuth lobth me, can he find me a fwend?” A tender kiss on my scarred cheek was followed by, “I bet he could.” What the morning brought changed my life forever.
I thought I was having a nightmare. Kids were slapping me in the face with wet towels, all the time hurling crude, heartless remarks. My heart was racing as my eyes popped opened only to be greeted by an unsightly creature licking my face. My mother, laughing hysterically, blurted out, “Jesus sent you a present. Meet your new friend.”
There bouncing incessantly on my stomach was a Chinees Crested puppy. A fountain of hair shooting out of the top of his head, hairless skin, and a tongue that hung sideways out of his little mouth brought a smile. He resumed his sponge bath of my face. I was in love with my new—as freaky as me—friend.
I named him Buddy. My mother’s second surprise was to home school me. I was elated. Buddy would try to steal attention away from my school work with a lick on the face or a tug on my pants. It worked. The evenings were filled drawing his antics and writing poems about our play. God was working his plan through buddy.
Now, at age 23, I held his plan in my hands. As I unpacked the box, tears welled up in my eyes. There before me was my first published children’s book. Buddy, licking my distorted face while scratching his hair tufted ears, donned the illustrated cover. I opened it and anxiously scrutinized each picture, each word.
My Buddy shows love
With a lick and a scratch.
My mom thinks that’s silly,
But we make a good match.
We jump and we break things.
I know mom gets mad.
She always forgives us.
We both are so glad.
Out, out! she yells.
Go out and play don’t you see.
There is plenty of room
Over there by the tree.
So, we scamper and run
Both falling head over heels.
We both tumble and toss
Never thinking of meals.
We play way past bedtime
And pretend we’re asleep.
When mom checks in our room
We both sheepishly peek.
As the years passed on by,
Play nor love dare not vanish.
God’s plan was a dog.
Doesn’t that seem outlandish?
I tearfully looked up. Buddy’s dog-shaped memorial caught my eye. A praise to God for his plan for me was followed by a wink and quivering whisper, “Thanks, little Buddy.”
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