Hunting for Christine - Writing Challenge by Chris Mills
Chris Mills issued a writing challenge with the following conditions:
One thousand words or less
It is my pleasure to be a part of this challenge.
Surprise Phone Call
As he packed his belongings, he suddenly received a surprising phone call from the coffee shop, Wholly Grounds. The owner said Christine had come in and learned of his hunt for her. In fact, she was there right then. Frank was so excited he grabbed a cab and quickly arrived. He spotted her and saw her get up, using her red cane, and come toward him from her plush seat in the library area. As she threw her arms around him, all ninety pounds of her, in a teddy bear hug, he was both surprised and pleased.
The Beginning of a Friendship
They had met in Germany where he was stationed, five years ago, and she was on a trip to visit relatives. Coffee shops were their favorite meeting places, as she was addicted to peppermint coffee. They had a few dates, and he learned she was low on money and had some health problems and no insurance. Their relationship was just friendship, and he did not lust for her.
Now back in the United States, he had tried looking her up in the phone book to no avail and tried to contact relatives. The Internet showed no record of her death, and she wasn’t in any hospital. Once, he thought he saw her on the street and ran quickly after Christine. But she quickly disappeared around the corner. She did have that red cane, so he knew it must be her, remembering how fast that cane took her.
He kept returning to the coffee shop, Wholly Grounds, that she said she frequented, as he tried to find her in the Bronx in New York City. Aware, that she sometimes went elsewhere, he looked everywhere. With the look of a frantic man, Frank met many folks along the way who remembered her - Christine, the fiery redhead, who used a bright red cane. It reflected her femininity with a small red and white bow in the middle of the brightly painted wooden decorative cane.
Plush Coffee Shop
Wholly Grounds was an elegant coffee shop that might only exist in a large city. It was a large red brick building that seated about one hundred people. A bakery filled with yummy delicacies in all colors stood in the middle of the shop. Books filled one area with various open seating arrangements and a disabled area..
It surprised him that Christine would frequent the shop, but it was actually quite reasonable in price. He knew she liked it because of some German delicacies. He later learned that the proprietors were originally from Germany, and that is how they knew of Christine. He wondered where she could possibly be, almost hiding from her favorite place.
Frank finally talked further to the owners, learning that Chris had recently become engaged to someone she met at the coffee shop and was on a long honeymoon. His face gave away his disappointment, and yet he knew this development might solve all her problems. Preparing to leave the city, he felt his visit was all in vain, until he received the phone call.
After all these years, they still recognized each other. He felt his heart skipping a beat, as they sat down to renew acquaintances. It was as if no time had passed, since they last saw each other. He asked about her health, and her look was grim. She said her leg was worse and may be cancerous. She had just broken her engagement, as she did not want her fiancé to bear this burden, and she had some reservations about their relationship, in addition to being without insurance. Her reliance on her lovely red cane was very obvious to him, and Frank remembered the insurance problem.
Money for Christine
Then the whole story came out. Frank, talking as fast as he could, almost unintelligible, told her the reason for his intensive hunt for her. He said, “Christine, I have just inherited a large sum of money from my parents, and I have never forgotten you and your medical issues. I have looked everywhere for you to offer my funds to help in your healing."
He saw tears welling in her eyes and her look of compassion as she replied, “Frank, I cannot believe that our brief friendship led you to such an impossible offer to me, a nobody, who has always walked with a bright red cane. Nobody ever asked many questions about the cane or my health, but you have such a caring attitude to make me feel like I am somebody, maybe even a special person, and not a nobody. I know you mean it, and I will never forget your sacrifice.”
He looked at her in disbelief that she would not consider herself special, as she was one of the most special persons he had ever met. In that moment, he finally realized that fact. Their eyes met, and they both realized how intense their relationship had become. It blossomed in the middle of the Wholly Grounds coffee shop in the plush area near her favorite German delicacies and peppermint coffee. Frank realized he could help return her to good health as a miracle from the Angels. Maybe, she might even discard her favorite red cane with its lovely red and white bow.