Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reverse Alphabet Exercise

Zack could hardly stand to look at the reflecting pool of water anymore. Yesterday's events were still rolling through his mind, and the water did nothing to distract him. Xenophobia seemed to surround him on all sides and he had no idea what to do about it. Without much help or offer of friendship, he was a one-man protest against the scowling population. Vindictiveness was a quality Zack had never possessed, and so could not understand it in others. Unless he decided to give up everything he had worked for, he would have to learn to deal with the locals. To many people, he represented an encroaching difference, which they did not know how to abide. Sewn together in a web of distrust, the people nonetheless grudgingly accepted and counted on his services. Quietly, they would thank him for his expert advice, then run off quickly before they were discovered doing so. Perhaps it was this contradictory behavior which led to yesterday's actions.
Open until the last rays of sun faded in the valley, Zack closed his office in the dark. Never before had he encountered someone after he closed his doors, but as he turned, there stood Suzie Johnson, staring at him intensely. Moving toward him, he stepped back from the recklessness in her eyes, but she closed the gap swiftly and planted a kiss on his lips. Little did she realize that someone else was walking by, so when she saw the startled man, she turned back to Zack and slapped him, hard, across the face. Knowing the likely outcome, Zack pursed his lips with anger and looked at the ground, waiting for Hell to fall upon him. Just before the potentially fatal moment of the furious man's approach, Zack's eyes flitted up to Suzie and he saw the confusion, anger, and fear flit across her face. Instead of following through with the role of victim, she flung herself at Zack, screaming, "Wait!"
His heart was pounding, uncertain what anyone would do next, as the all stood, frozen, in the wake of that scream. Gaining a moment of perspective, the man stepped back and appraised the situation.
"Forever getting herself into trouble, little Suzie. Even for an educated man, she sure can do a lot of crazy, confusing things," the man muttered, looking at Suzie before nodding slightly to Zack as he walked away.

Donning a half-grin, Zack looked out over the water and wondered where the crazy girl had gone after she, too, had run away. Counting on the xenophobia to win out, he did not expect to see her again and was frustrated that she would never explain herself. Before he walked away from the pond, he felt a hand flutter at his shoulder and felt an answering stir in his heart as he turned to find Suzie standing, flushed, beside him. Any other time, he would have been shocked and suspicious, but now he could not help but smile as she dove into his arms and held herself there, cheek against his chest, tears soaking his shirt.

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