Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW (05/02/19)
- TITLE: The Hankie Went Full Circle
By Lollie Hofer
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She never lets go of me as people file past her giving hugs and words of condolences. One young lady approaches her and is inconsolable as she shares her story.
“I’m Stacy,” she says in between sobs. “Did your husband ever mention me?”
“I don’t think so,” says the widow.
“Well, I owe him my life. He was the judge that handled my case about two years ago. I was a hooker and a drug addict fighting a losing battle. I don’t know why, cuz’ he sees lots of my kind, but he saw something in me. Instead of jail time he sent me to a drug rehab program. Said if I’d complete the program, my sentence would be dropped. God got a hold of me in that place and changed my life.”
Even though the widow is the one grieving she wraps her arms around the young lady and prays for her. More tears flow. Without even thinking about it, Mrs. Chesterfield hands me over to Stacy.
After a good washing a few days later, Stacy tucks me into her purse. I think she plans to return me to my original owner. We leave her studio apartment. She walks to a church several blocks away. A small boy sits on the church steps. His head is laying in his lap. His shoulders shake.
Stacy looks at her watch as she walks up the steps. I sense she is late. She opens the door but takes one final look back. Remembering how Mrs. Chesterfield took time for her the previous week, she sighs and closes the door. She descends the steps and sits next to the boy.
“Hey, little guy. What’s up?”
“I’m lost. I want my momma,” he cries.
“What’s your name?
“How old are you, Nathan?”
“Hmmm. I have an idea. Why don’t we go inside the church. Maybe someone will know where you live.”
“O-o-kay,” he stammers. He wipes snot on his sleeves.
Stacy laughs. “Here, use this hankie. I don’t think sleeves make very good Kleenex.” She holds me to his nose. “Blow,” she says.
Sometimes I hate my job. Boogers, dirt and mucous mix together in a big glob.
“Here, you can keep it,” Stacy says as she hands me over to him.
Together, we go inside. The minister walks around the corner and nearly knocks Nathan down.
“Why, Nathan. What are you doing here? Where’s your mother?”
“I don’t know,” he says. His mouth puckers and eyes water up. He uses me to dry the flow.
“Pastor Dean, you know him? I found him crying on the steps of the church. He said he was lost.”
“His mother comes here occasionally to the church pantry. In fact, she was here a little while ago. I’ll call her and offer to walk him home. They live nearby. Thanks for taking the time to help him.”
“Hey, it’s the least I can do. Well, I’m here for the ladies’ bible study. Guess I’ll head on into the sanctuary. Bye, Nathan.”
“Bye.” He waves me as she walks away.
After a quick phone call to Nathan’s mother, we head out the door.
As we past the church’s cemetery, we hear more sobs. Goodness, this must be the day for crying.
Pastor Dean stops for a moment and listens. There’s a woman kneeling before a fresh grave. We head slowly towards the woman. She looks up. Her eyes are red. Mascara leaves a trail of black.
“Hello, Pastor Dean.”
“Hello. Tough day today?”
“Yeah. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I miss him so much. Does God even care? I feel like He’s forsaken me.” Her face and clothes are soaked from many tears.
“Here, lady,” Nathan says as he pushes the crumbled hankie into her hand. Her eyes grow wide as she looks at the gift given to her.
“Life’s hard right now, but in His own way He’ll let you know He’s still with you, Mrs. Chesterfield.”
“I think He just did,” she says as she holds me close.
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