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The Bow (standard:romance, 6319 words)
Author: J. NicklausAdded: Jan 22 2002Views/Reads: 3156/2120Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A symbol of gifts, and this bow is no exception. A woman receives guidance from a most unlikely source.

Thirty miles from the nearest inhabited building she sat. Moonlight
softly punctuated the darkness where the birthday girl sat on a tree 
stump anxiously bouncing her right knee up and down. From her perch she 
could see the twinkling lights of the small town below and hear her 
boyfriend's footsteps coming from the car. He strode forward, hands 
behind his back. She clapped her hands together like a little girl and 
inwardly squealed. 

Moonlight revealed him finally as he stood in front of her and presented
her with her gift. 

"Happy Birthday, sweetie!" he said, followed by a quick kiss and a

Placing the package on her lap she admired it for a passing moment, each
edge sharp and the paper smooth and very pretty. Most attractive, 
however, was the bow. Even in the milky moonlight there was something 
about it she couldn't put her finger on. It was big, but not uncommonly 
so. Perhaps the color of the bow was its draw; it was mostly a warm 
valentine red, but marbled throughout were muted pink and daisy yellow 
veins. Something about this bow, she thought. Almost as quick as the 
feeling came, it was just a swiftly replaced by the intrigue of the 
contents. Unsure as to why, she nevertheless carefully pulled the bow 
from the package and set it next to the stump. 

With great elan, she tore into the toaster-size package while he stood
there and grinned. Within seconds the thoughtfully wrapped gift was 
reduced to an empty box stuffed with already forgotten wrapping paper. 
Delighted with it, she stood up and threw her arms around him. The 
night shared a moment with the couple, and then they walked off, empty 
box in tow. She completely forgot about the bow next to the stump.  
Darkness and quiet settled around the clearing as the couple drove off. 

II Morning brought with it a gentle wind, enough to stir leaves and
carry loose dirt across the clearing. The bow tumbled end-over-end 
across the clearing towards the edge of the bluff, which overlooked the 
small town, its color standing in stark contrast to the surroundings. 
The decorative ribbon would find a purpose with one woman in the small 
town below. Only Mother Nature and Father Time stood between the two. 
Mother Nature whispered a gentle draft, causing the bow to roll over 
the edge of the bluff and float towards the valley floor below. Father 
Time stepped in to do his part. 

III Thoughts had kept her busy during the long drive from the next town
over where she worked. An obligation here, a short-term-go-nowhere 
thing there, and wrapped around it all the lure of a heart and soul 
she’d never known the likes of before. She needed clarity, not 
confusion, and perhaps some small sign to help her along. She rolled 
into the small parking lot of the convenience store, which sat on the 
outskirts of town. Opening the car door, a gust immediately caught her 
long hair sending it flying all about her face. She brushed it away as 
best she could and stepped inside the store. Morning sun streamed 
inside the large front windows. 

From behind the counter a disembodied voice welcomed,   “Good morning,

“Good morning, Jimmy”. Her voice hung in mid-air, a response offered
while in mid-thought. 

“Everything alright? You seem a little detached this morning”, Jimmy
offered. The store was empty save the two of them. 

“Yeah, just a lot on my mind, and tired. The over-nighters kick my
butt.” She forced a smile then went about gathering the few items she 
needed. Minutes passed without another word. 

“How long you been coming in here?” Jimmy asked. 

Closing her eyes she tried to remember. “ About a year and a half, I
guess. Why?” 

Jimmy stacked another cartons worth of cigarettes behind the counter.
“Mind if I make an observation?” 

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