I was one of the chosen. I bore my soul in a letter and I had been selected to bear it in a book. The perks? The experience promised to be series of firsts – the first time I would travel to this quaint New England town; a place of instant comfort, with its neighborhood bookstore and elegant restaurants.
It would also be the first time I’d see my words in print and the first night I’d sleep in the beautifully staged room of a bed and breakfast inn.
I was excited but preoccupied. My little boy was turning 7 and his birthday party was on Saturday afternoon, the same Saturday I was to leave the suburbs of Boston.
I had counted the number of RSVPs. Nineteen squealing kids would soon be sliding and diving into a pool of plastic, primary-colored balls. As many sets of parents would congregate, smile and secretly pray that their children wouldn’t fall victim to an invisible strain of something.
Even with all of the planning, I had still missed something. I didn’t count on what it would take for me to actually attend the party.
My bus was leaving the station at 7:30 in the morning then heading to the airport. At 6:30, I turned the pages of the phone book. The taxi dispatcher answered. I made my request.
“I need a taxi to take me to the bus station. Yes, this morning,” I explained.
“Ma’am, we don’t have a taxi that can take you. Both our taxies are heading to the airport.”
I quickly looked for the other number – the only other number – and got a similar response. I should have called ahead.
Well, I’ve got two legs. I’ll just walk.
Without much thought or a GPS unit, I headed toward the bus station. Just to check the accuracy of my sense of direction, I stopped to speak to a man who was sitting in his car.
“It’s about 2 miles that way,” he answered, thankfully pointing in the direction I was going.
Houses and neighborhoods blurred past; architecture and nature that I didn’t have time to enjoy. My baby was turning 7 and I had to be there.
Up ahead a lady was getting her early morning exercise. I power-walked alongside her and started what seemed more like an explanation than a conversation. It was clear that seeing a comfortably dressed Black woman rolling a green suitcase wasn’t an everyday sight during her morning walk.
We parted at the crossroad. She turned right to continue her walk, while I kept straight continuing mine. I looked at my watch and sighed. I wasn’t going to make it to the bus station on time.
I made a pure, simple, faithful request. I whispered, “Lord, I need a miracle.”
At that moment a car slowed down and pulled over. I looked over to my left and quickly recognized its driver. The anonymous exerciser had traded in her walking shoes for the car keys.
Some of us served cake while others discussed school events and classroom policies. We all were bathed in the infectious laughter and squeals of nineteen kids.
And we secretly planned how we would disinfect our children when the party was over.