The girl peered through the polished window of the Internet Café, nose pressed against cool glass, hands cupped, shielding dark amber eyes. Her stark reflection exaggerated jet black unkempt hair framing a sallow skinned face, delicate cheekbones, upturned mouth. Shoulders hunched against the cool evening breeze she leaned in as if expecting the glass to melt her into the café.
The city streets were teeming with anonymous people going nowhere and anywhere. A group of indefinable nationalities brushed against her, thrusting through the heavy door, laptop bags hanging from stooping shoulders. Crashing down at a table near the window they spoke flippantly to a tall man in white, before setting up laptops on the wide table. Thick rimmed steaming mugs were set in front of them as they tapped on the keys, conversing loudly amidst intermittent bursts of laughter. The girl wondered if one of them might be Google.
Layla had left her village, old enough now to experience the world in the city. A world whose ways were only familiar from textbooks used by the teachers of the small village school. It was from one of her teachers that she had first learned about Google, who knew everything about anything. She knew he hung out in the Internet Café in the city from snatches of overheard conversation and had determined to find him. She had an important question that no-one in her village had been able to answer.
Nervously entering the Café she hesitantly made her way to the counter, well worn flip flops whooshing against the hard wooden floor, backpack slipping from slender shoulders.
“Can I get you anything?”, enquired a smiley faced lady wearing a dazzling orange uniform, motherly eyes taking in the shabby appearance of the girl.
“I’m looking for Mr Google,” she responded, eyes taking in the diversity around her, searching for her minds image of the man who knew everything about anything.
The waitress, fighting to suppress a burst of laughter, led her to a small table nestling in a tiny alcove, where an old laptop stood ready to use. She pulled out a flimsy chair, instructing Layla to sit whilst she brought coffee. Returning with two brimming cups she pulled out another rickety chair and sat beside Layla.
Experienced fingers tapping on the keyboard revealed what was to Layla, an unfamiliar image.
“There you are,” the waitress said, a gentle smile hiding the hurt she felt for Leyla‘s embarrassment.
“There’s your Mr Google. The fount of all knowledge - but definitely not wisdom. Just a computer search engine. What question do you have?”
Layla fought to overcome her confusion and disappointment and with a slight tremble in her quiet voice replied,
“I want to know who Jesus Christ is.”
Tap tapping, white arrow flicking like a moth around a light, words, words and more words spiralled down like a waterfall on the laptop screen. Bewildered, Layla began to read.
The screen blanked, powered off. Shut down.
“Well, we googled Him. So much information yet not one iota of recognition. You will never know Him from words on a screen, nor even in a book, except of course the Bible and when His love pierces your heart.
Their eyes met and the girl saw nothing but compassion on the face in front of her.
“I’m Sarah. My shift is almost over. If you want to wait I can take you to a man who would love to introduce you to Jesus.”
They left the melody of the Internet Café and stepped out into the contrasting brass band of the street. Entering a small building Layla became aware of the sweetest music saturating her soul and lifting her spirit.
Her eyes were drawn to the simple table at the front of the long room, a small wooden cross standing on a lovingly laundered cloth. A semi-circle of chairs gave a homely feel and books were littered around haphazardly. A man rose from one of the seats, turned and faced them, hands held out in greeting, face glowing with a loving smile.
His appearance almost matched her mistaken image of her Mr Google, the silver grey hair of a wise old man, the wrinkled face of wisdom. But this face reflected something unfamiliar. The face of love, the compassion of bitter experience, the gentleness born of mercy.
Layla moved shyly towards him, heart filling with joy. There was no Mr Google, but this man knew Jesus and soon she would know Him too.
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