Meant to Live: Chapter 8
She then hurried to the door and made her way to the dining hall. It was full of girls and teachers and she could tell supper was almost finished. Filling a plate, she found a seat and began to eat.
She was immediately badgered with questions, but they remained unanswered.
A week passed and the graduation ceremony arrived. Christine and two other girls were the only graduates. The day was full of food, games, and celebration. Christine was praised by teachers and girls alike and many girls wished her well. Despite the enjoyable day, Christine’s mind was preoccupied. She had tried hard to put into practice what Mr. Brady had told her, but it was difficult not to think of the young man in the hospital.
Monday morning arrived and Christine was up early, packing all her belongings. Mr. Brady would be driving her to the train station at nine o’clock. As she placed her clothes and books in her satchel, Christine thought over all the years she had spent at the academy. She thought also of her parents and siblings at home, wondering how they were. She had not heard from them in several weeks.
After breakfast came the time to say good-bye. Christine was surprised by the evident love that the girls displayed toward her. Students and teachers surrounded her, hugging, kissing, and saying kind words. Geneva was the last girl to bid her good-bye.
“Good-bye, Christine,” she said through tears. “I will miss you very much. I have been wanting to tell you that your Bible reading every day has been very convicting to me. I was raised in a Christian home but after my father died, we no longer went to church or read the Bible. I would now if only I had one.”
Christine reached inside her bag and took out her most cherished possession--her Bible. Handing it to Geneva, she said, “Here, this is a gift to you. If you will read it every day, I know God will use it to change your heart. I will miss you as well, but I know you will do well here. Good-bye!”
Geneva was too full for words. She only nodded and waved as Christine left the dining hall and walked toward the front door.
At the door stood Miss Martin and Mr. Brady. The driver quickly took Christine’s bag and went out to the waiting carriage. Scarcely had the door shut before Miss Martin burst out.
“My dear Christine, I cannot bear you leaving. You have been close to my heart ever since you arrived and you always will be. I don’t quite know what is different about you, but there is something, I know. I know you will do well in life. You have learned your lessons well and have always obeyed instructions. Keep your chin up and whatever you face will be bearable.” Miss Martin then took her in her arms and hugged her warmly.
When she let go, her face was wet with tears. “Now, off you go. Good-bye, my dear.”
Christine only nodded with a smile, so very surprised was she at this sudden show of affection. Miss Martin had taught the girls herself that affection must be very carefully displayed and only at the right time. This, then, must have been the right time.
Christine was handed into the carriage and made herself comfortable as Mr. Brady climbed in on his side. It was a thirty minute drive to the station.
“Well, good morning to you,” began the driver. “Before you ask, yes, I did mail the letter last week and I am sure it arrived in good condition. Have you heard more of that young feller?”
Christine shook her head. “No, but I suppose he’s on the mend and will be home some time this week.”
“To be sure, I have no doubt he’ll heal up nicely. No doubt you’ve been wanting to see him, eh?”
Christine smiled. “Yes, I do, but I’m willing to wait until I’m invited. Funny, though, I know where he lives. It’s not a five minute walk from my house.”
“Now ain’t that convenient?” Laughed the driver.
“Oh, don’t tease me now!” Christine pretended to be upset.
“I ain’t teasing, I’m bein’ genuine!”
The ride went on with a little more talking before they arrived at the station. When Christine had dismounted, she faced the driver.
“Mr. Brady, thank you for all your advice and kind words. I will not forget them. I hope I shall see you again, and until then, I wish you well.”
Mr. Brady nodded and smiled. “You’re quite welcome, young lady. I am glad a few of my jumbled words helped you. Have a safe trip home!” With a wave, Christine and the driver separated.
It was not many minutes later before Christine sat down on the train. Placing her bag on her lap, she leaned back and closed her eyes. Scenes of Charlie passed through her mind. Their first meeting, the dances, his smiles, his words in the hospital. He seemed so perfect, Christine wondered if he had faults. She was sure that, if he did, they were not bad and could be easily forgiven.
Christine’s mind wandered here and there until the train stopped at Grandstone. She stood and walked down the aisle to the door. A man in uniform took her hand and helped her down, turning to help the next passenger. Christine immediately left the station and began the short walk to her house.
To be continued next week...