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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Gift Part 3. Do You mean You Lost It?!


      The Bicycle tour was scheduled to start Saturday morning and would continue until Sunday afternoon. After that they would head back to Rome and after a quick change and a shower they would be given an opportunity to tour a famous Roman Catholic Church.

                The excited babble of  voices reached a high pitch by the time the rented bikes had been paid for and the bevy of females had lined up for the first lap of the journey. They listened carefully to the instructions which their tour guide jokingly called their instructions for life;  pace yourselves carefully, follow your map, always keep at least one buddy with you, and keep your cell with you, with the battery charged at all times!  Melissa tuned the words out eventually. It was an awesome day to be biking, and she couldn’t wait to get started.

                Most of them stayed together for several miles, but soon the heartier and/or more enthused ones peddled on ahead. Melissa was among them. They were supposed to gather at a certain wee teashop in a historic village at three, but until then, they were more or less on their own.
                Melissa flew ahead of the others with Jenny struggling to keep up. The wind felt great in her hair and she loved the beautiful colors of the beech and other trees. They went on and on. Sometimes they would deliberately lag behind when they saw something that caught their interest and others would pass them, but many times it was the other way around. At the tea shop they stopped to recuperate and enjoy sweet, delectable dainties with exotic tasting teas. Soon they were off again, although some of the girls preferred to linger in the teashop/gift shop area much longer instead of exercising so strenuously.

                “Do you have the time on you?”

                “Of course. It’s almost 7:30.”

                “I think we had better start heading towards that town where we are going to spend the night now.”

                “Ah, Jenny.”

                “Yeah?”
                “I think we took a wrong turn awhile back.”

                “Well, don’t you have the map? I think we could figure it out in short order.”

                “I did but”—

                “But what?” Jenny felt a knot forming in the pit of her stomach.

                “I left it at that restaurant where we had tea.”

                I thought something like that would happen! Why didn’t I just keep it myself! But she is so independent and self-confident that—

                A small voice interrupted her thoughts; “Are you mad at me?”

                Jenny ignored her. “Look how fast those clouds are coming up. That wasn’t predicted in the weather report this a.m.”

                “We had better find shelter.”

                “Shelter? Not yet. We’ve got to stay out in the open in case we are on the right road, so the others can spot us.”

                “We aren’t on the right road,” Melissa whispered to herself.

                Jenny tried repeatedly to text various ones but finally gave up in despair. By then the clouds were overhead and they were in the middle of a downpour.

                “Why don’t you try calling someone on your Smart Phone? I have no service here. Hey, don’t you have GPS? Let’s duck into that small cave over there until it stops raining, and then we can find our own way back.”

“Jenny.”

Jenny’s eyes widened. “Don’t tell me you left that at the restaurant, too!”
“No.” Melissa looked bleak. “I lost it.”

Jenny stared at her, speechless. The Pearl. The Pearl of great price, and she lost it. She lost it. How could she? How will we ever find our way back?

                After the rain stopped, they backtracked along the road where they had turned off; searching every inch of the way for that illusive cell phone but it seemed to be gone forever.

                “I’d take advice from anyone,” Melissa finally admitted with a lump in her throat, if I could only have that phone back. It was a gift! What would my father think if he knew I had been so careless!

                Eventually Jenny had enough bars of service to get through to one of her other friends. By humbly following instructions they were able to return to the right road, but it took a long time.

                Melissa grieved deeply over the loss of her phone, and vowed if she ever got another chance to own another one it would be her most precious possession.

Never again would she so casually devalue The Pearl; the pearl of Great Price