12/11

Prompt: Black

Death By Coffee

Jaine Stevens brushed the back of her hand over the newly erased page. She sighed deeply and laid her head on the paper. This was so much harder than she thought it would be. She had been “writing” for three days now, and, although she had filled sheets of paper, nothing seemed to be right. She lifted her head and began reading the first few lines again.

She had to give the speech tomorrow, but she just wasn’t ready. She picked up the pencil to erase a few more words when her coffee mug seemed to jump out in front of her hand. The now cold black liquid spread like a brush fire across her speech.

“Oh!” She jumped out of her seat. “Oh no!”

She dabbed uselessly at the ruined pages. She could feel her eyes welling up with tears and one by one they began falling down her face. Soon she was sitting on the ground with her knees cradled in her arms, crying outright.

“I can’t do it, I just can’t,” she sobbed.

“I can do anything through Christ, which strengthens me.”

The verse came out of nowhere, startling Jaine. “Wh…?” Her eyes came to rest on a picture that had gotten knocked over on the desk. She knew the photo well, she didn’t need to look at it to see it.

 

The next morning, Jaine pushed open the double doors with shaking hands. She followed the hallway until she came to a door with a sign that read: CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Guest Speaker Jaine Stevens.

She pulled the door open and 60 pairs of eyes turned to look at her. Some with fear, some with sadness, others with sympathy, and some with hope. She made her way to the front of the room and took out a single sheet of brown stained paper.

“Hello everyone,” she began, “My name is Jaine Stevens. Almost six months ago my eight year old daughter Savannah died from brain cancer.” There was a collective sigh throughout the room and many eyes looked away. Jaine swallowed past the lump in her throat.

“They asked me to speak today about three months ago. So I tried to plan a speech. To tell you all about the things to expect and so forth, but nothing I wrote seemed to fit. Last night my entire speech was ruined. Death by coffee.” A few scattered chuckles resounded.

“But, um,” she cleared her throat, “at the bottom of the mess I found this,” she waved the single sheet of paper in the air. The tears made her voice sound choked. “It’s a poem that my daughter wrote. For me. Three days before she died. And I would like to share it with all of you.”

Jaine blew air through her puffed out cheeks and straightened the sheet of paper. Then in a clear voice she read:

“There is a hope inside of me

Living there for all to see

God saw my heart was full of fear

So he held out his arms and drew me near

Now the fear has gone away

And only my hope is here to stay

For God sent me someone to hold my hand

To help me through the parts I don’t understand

A voice that sings a song of love

An angel sent from up above

I understand that you don’t know what to say

As you watch me get sicker everyday

But I am not afraid of the things you are

I may go away, but never too far

And someday I’ll be with you again

Because we will both be with Jesus in the end.”

Jaine’s voice broke on the last line. She looked out at the audience with tears thick in her eyes. “I really think she wanted me to read that to you today.” She cleared her throat softly. “If there are any questions about what you are facing, I’ll try to answer them now.”

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