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The Love Puzzle

by Tanya Shliahov  
3/30/2020 / Short Stories


It had been a Monday, that dreaded day of the week, when she had first seen him. Amber West had been drafting the final layout of the magazine’s May edition, and he had been balancing a cup of hot coffee on his clipboard as he pushed the staff room door open with his elbow. He was tall and visually pleasing. He had the look of a person who would have been a part of the debating crowd back in high school, not her usual type, and he was lean but not due to active living, his limbs appearing to be unaccustomed to vigorous exercise. His dark hair needed mussing up at the front, and she hadn’t been that keen on his choice of pants but those were minor matters.

Although she had not had a chance to hear him speak yet, he gave off an air of being a person of integrity. He was most likely a kind person. Amber wouldn’t be surprised if he had good relations with his parents. His manner gave the impression that female flames were treated respectably and gently, and so it wasn’t surprising that a warm sensation had drizzled through her heart that day like gooey chocolate running like molten lava over a crispy wafer, as in one of those ‘Snickers’ chocolate bar ads.

The flutter in her heart at the sight of him had surprised her. She hadn’t felt a flicker in her heart for years. She had begun to think her heart had forgotten how to work and had been happy with that. Her last association with a man had not been genial. It could rightly have been described as an unholy nightmare! All Amber’s ties with men seemed to be of that calibre, although she had always, for the most part, followed godly advice on how to meet men. So, she had pushed that part of her life to the side, believing she must have a placard stamped to her forehead stating ‘Trash’, and become more consumed with other affairs.

Then, on Wednesday, he had come back into work again. Through unobtrusive sleuthing, she had discovered that he was a journalism intern, and when a senior staff member had called out to him in the carpark, through the window of the cluttered office block, it had become clear what his name was, Marcel Bosch.

“Marcel Bosch” Amber had enunciated inside her head, while photocopying a clever idea for a magazine story, and then “Amber Bosch”.

“Whoops! It’s far too early to be stirring up and awakening love” she had cautioned herself. She still hadn’t found out if he was a Christian.

Then, on Friday, their paths had crossed more decidedly, and it was then that she had glimpsed it. Had that been a look of tenderness in his copper-coloured eyes and a tone of warmth in his resonant voice as he had made a playful comment on her choice of shoes that day?  While appearing to be engrossed in ensuring that the clues to a crossword puzzle weren’t too difficult to figure out, Amber had listened to his conversation with their other colleagues. Nothing in his choice of topics or words had indicated that he was a Christian but then, nothing in his choice of topics or words had indicated that he was not. She decided that on Monday, if he was to return to the busy magazine headquarters, if asked how she had spent her weekend, she would reply she had attended church. Hopefully, his reply would be the same.

Alas! Monday had arrived and instead of happily echoing that he had spent his weekend in the same manner, Amber had received a friendly but indifferent stare when she had mentioned her end-of-the-week pastime. So, Amber had decided to leave Marcel in God’s all-understanding hands. Although Marcel had shown many positive traits that men of her faith had seemed to be lacking, she knew that pursuing anyone who was not devoted to God would tempt her heart to turn after other gods, making her heart not wholly true to the Lord her God, and she had not wanted that. She had attempted to behave in a friendly manner towards him, without seeming interested, while keeping her distance from him, without coming across as a snob, a very unattractive trait for a Christian to have.

“You just never know” Amber had thought “perhaps, down the track, God will give Marcel an understanding of his need for forgiveness and a desire to be in relationship with Him, and then I can seek a closer relationship with Marcel too!”

 

Song of Solomon 8:4 NKJV

1 Kings 11:4 NKJV

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