Authors Showcase: Innocence of a Child
June 28, 2012
Jacob loses his leg, his faith, and he faces the dilemma of how to keep the dead Marine’s last request without hurting the grieving widow all over again.
God’s plan brings them together by using the faith of a child’s innocent wish for his mother.
It didn’t take Jacob long to realize that all of his fears about meeting the students and parents were unfounded. Everyone seemed pleased to meet the new History teacher and football coach. His spirits were lifted by their warm welcome, but even that wasn’t enough to stop the pains that had begun shooting up the upper half of his damaged leg. After standing for so many hours on the uneven ground, the prosthetic limb was rubbing painfully against what was left of his real leg. At first Jacob tried leaning on the tabletop to help to take the pressure off it, but after a while even that failed to help to relieve the pain. He was looking around for a smooth surface to sit on when another customer entered the tent.
The small, blond boy looked over his shoulder, as if looking for someone, before finally walking over to the table. He held out a crinkled dollar. “I want to buy a wish.”
At that exact moment another sharp pain shot up Jacob’s leg so he leaned both elbows onto the tabletop to take the weight off of his leg. That position put him at eye level with the child. The first thing that registered was how clear and blue the child’s eyes were. They had a sweet innocence in them that only children seem to possess.
Jacob took the offered money and then slid the pen and sheet of paper over to the boy. “Sure. Here. Write your wish while I fill the balloon.” He stood and turned to do just that when the child stopped him.
Jacob turned and shifted his weight onto his good leg. It took all of his willpower to not wince. “Yeah?”
“My mom’s favorite color is yellow. Can I buy a yellow one?” The boy leaned toward Jacob as close as he could get and whispered loudly. “This wish is for her.” He looked down at the sheet of paper before meeting Jacob’s eyes again. “Can I have two pieces of paper so Mom and I can both send our wishes up together? Granny only gave me one dollar to spend. Will that be enough for two wishes?”
Jacob opened the cash box and put the crumpled bill into it. He tried not to smile at how earnest the young man was about the whole making a wish thing. It was easy to become jaded with age so it was refreshing to see someone so innocent and unmarred by life.
Jacob leaned once more on the table in order to be closer to the boy. He could sense that he wanted the whole exchange to be in confidence so he whispered back. “Two wishes on one balloon is still just a dollar.” He looked over the boy’s shoulder out toward the crowd milling around. “Where’s your mom at, or are you going to write her wish too?”
The little boy leaned in a bit closer. “She’ll be here in a minute. Would you help me write my wish before she gets here? I don’t want her to know what it is. It’s a secret.”
Jacob was immediately sucked into the boy’s serious expression and tone. “Sure. I’ll write your wish for you.” He pulled the paper and pen back over toward himself. “What do you want me to write?”
The little boy stood on his tiptoes and leaned in even closer. He was almost laying on the tabletop by this time. “Write this. Please God, send Mommy someone to love.” He nodded as he watched Jacob write the message. “Mommy doesn’t say that but she looks so sad sometimes. I think she needs someone to love her.”