“Where’s my briefcase?” Sheri rushed from the bathroom and glanced at her roommate sitting on the sofa.
Megan took another sip of coffee before pointing toward the door. “Right there.”
“I’ve got a nine o’clock meeting with Mr. Harmon.” Sheri grabbed her case and pushed her sleeve back to check the time.
“Slow down.” Megan shook her head. “You’ve got an hour to make a thirty-minute drive. Why don’t you give up this high-stress job, find a nice man, and settle down with a couple of kids?”
Sheri reached for the door and laughed. “Typical. Soon as a woman snags her own man, she turns matchmaker for her friends. Even those who don’t want to be tied down.”
“Oh, you’re tied down all right. To your job. What is your title now? Assistant head of public relations?” Megan set her cup on the coffee table and stood. “If a certain David Black walked into your office, you’d forget work soon enough.”
“David Black?” Sheri froze with her hand on the doorknob and stared at Megan while her heart beat an erratic tune. For seven years she had shoved the memories away. Now they tumbled through her mind.
She’d met David in college. After dating for two years, he proposed marriage. She remembered how her heart sang with joy as she leapt into his arms shouting yes. Late into the night they talked outside her dorm until their plans ended in heated words. David wanted to marry right after graduation. Sheri thought they should wait until she had her masters and he passed the bar exam and established himself in a prestigious law office. She had ambitions that couldn’t wait. Ambitions David didn’t understand.
Their engagement lasted two hours. When David walked away, he never looked back. She hadn’t seen him since graduation. He married less than a year later.
“His wife died, you know.” Megan pulled a ring of keys from her handbag.
Sheri’s heart lurched. She stared at her friend. “No, I didn’t know.”
“A couple of years ago, I believe. A drunk driver hit her car head on. Thankfully, she was alone.” Megan’s eyes brightened as she met Sheri’s stare. “I ran across an ad in the paper last week. Jones and Sheridan have added a new attorney. His name is David Black. I wonder if he’s your David.”
Sheri couldn’t move. She willed her heart to stop pounding against her ribs, as she schooled her features into an indifferent mask and pulled the door open. “What difference does it make? He made his choice, and I made mine. I’ll be late if I don’t go.”
David is here? Sheri drove, letting habit guide her car as she replayed the conversation with Megan. It doesn’t matter. Shearbrooke is too large a city for me to run into David unless I look for him, which I certainly won’t.
A construction detour sign blocked the street she normally turned on, so Sheri continued going straight. She gripped the wheel in frustration as she entered a residential area at a slower speed. After a couple of blocks, she turned left. She would save time by cutting through to a major street without following the detour all the way around.
A bump and jerk of her steering wheel as she turned the corner told Sheri one of her front tires had hit something. When she lifted her hands from the wheel the car seemed fine so she pushed to the speed limit and a little beyond. She’d gone halfway down the second block when a hissing sound caught her attention. This time when she checked the steering, her car pulled sharply to the right.
“I can’t believe this.” Her tire thumped with each revolution.
Sheri pulled to a stop against the curb and climbed out. Her right front tire was flat. She grabbed her cell phone and called work, explaining her situation to a secretary.
As she started to call for service, a fragrance penetrated her concentration. “Did your car get broked?”
Sheri turned toward a small voice and met a wall of roses. Red, pink, and white blossoms each larger than the palm of her hand grew on a hedge bordering a well-manicured lawn. They filled the air with a wonderful fragrance. Sheri breathed deeply.
“Do you like my flowers?” A small girl of about five stood at the wrought-iron gate watching.
Smiling at the child, Sheri moved closer to touch the satiny smooth petals of a pink rose.
“Daddy says don’t touch ’cause they bite.”
“Oh, I’m afraid he’s right.” A thorn held Sheri’s sleeve. Afraid she might tear the fabric, she struggled to release it only to find her skirt held securely by another thorn.
“What’s going on, Tera?”
Sheri froze at the sound of a voice she would never forget.
“Daddy, help the lady. She got caught.”
The gate hinges creaked in protest as David Black stepped through. He hesitated before a smile broke over his face.
“Well, well, what have we caught in our rose trap?”
“Hello, David.” Could he hear her heart pound?
“Hi, Sheri.” He stepped close and soon had her free. He studied her face. “It’s been a long time.”
“Yes.” Could he read the longing in her eyes?
“Tera and I are going to the zoo. Want to come with us?”
“The zoo?” Something important tickled her memory. Something she had to do at work.
“Yes, or are you too busy?” Pain mixed with challenge in his eyes.
Her job didn’t seem so important now. “Mr. Harmon can wait.”
Sheri smiled at David and held her hand out to his daughter. She felt the child’s small hand slip trustingly into hers, while love she had tried to ignore for seven years welled in her heart. “Let’s go to the zoo.”
His laughter held a promise. She could scarcely wait to discover what it was. Maybe Megan was right. She had plenty of vacation time saved up. Might as well use some.
Workaholic – work·a·hol·ic – noun informal – a person who compulsively works hard and long hours.
Ephesians 2:9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
John 10:41-42: And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Martha was a workaholic just as Sheri in the story above is, but Jesus reminded Martha that we need to take time to rest at His feet from time to time to renew our spirit. Like Martha, I’m guilty of spending too much time working and must guard those special times of quiet and rest while I seek the good that God has for me. How about you?