Normally, celebrating a teen birthday is cause for major excitement.
But in Faith’s mind, it is just another rotation of the planet on its axis, and she makes light of all the fuss. Her big day gets started by finishing up her honors science fair project about fractals found in nature. Hope had suggested she turn in a butterfly collection. Honestly, she loves her mother to death. But sometimes they have difficulty communicating at the same level. She did find a fractal pattern on one species of butterfly and incorporated it into her project. It turned out to be a good compromise, as her mother enjoyed helping her find a good specimen to photograph.
The day continues at the library with Jimmy, helping him brush up for the next math club competition. As is always the case, they end up squared off against each other in their favorite online game. They have become pretty evenly matched, since learning each other’s dirty tricks. Faith wins the day, and teases him with a good-natured, LRN2PLA.
The day winds down with a small party consisting of close friends and family. Faith always enjoys seeing Aunt Dara and Uncle Richard. Grandpa Mark’s sister, Mary, and her family also come to celebrate. Faith is more pumped about having family all gathered together than she is about her birthday. She jokes sarcastically that the only thing it means to her is more homework. But the car that Mark presents her with as a birthday gift helps to change this outlook somewhat.
Sunday morning finds Faith at the church early to help out at the soup kitchen. She has not seen Doc since that night several weeks ago, but still sometimes wonders about him. Her grandfather had said he was doing an amazing job organizing all of the books at the bookstore. But then, one day, he just up and quit.
Faith spends the remaining part of the day going wherever her whim takes her. Her first stop is the gym, where she asks a few questions about Doc. If he had come back here to bathe, surely somebody would have seen him. After a good workout of her own, there is still no sign of the odd man. Her focus shifts away from him as she drives to the outskirts of town, with no particular place to go.
For Faith, having a car means more than getting places quicker. It also means that she can go farther and still get back before curfew. She drives for miles, following the coastline, enjoying the scenery and exploring her world. Perhaps there is a bit of an explorer in her, because she finds herself not wanting to turn back when the time comes for her to head home.
It has been a full weekend, she realizes, as she regards the road winding its way back to Sunset Valley. Her life is so completely filled with joy, faith, family, friends, and prosperity that it makes her pause to give thanks for such incredible fortune. There is no doubt that she has been blessed; and recognising the source of this grace seems not only appropriate, but necessary.
She smiles at the thought of hugging her mother after a long shift at the bistro, and beating Jimmy in yet another online match. This adventure can wait for later, since there is still plenty of it waiting for her at home. She begins the long drive back to Sunset Valley, letting her mind drift from one place to another.
But it eventually settles on the odd man who called himself Doc, and the mystery of where he came from. More curious still, is the question that has been driving her a little bit crazy. Where did he go?