Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)
TITLE: The Answer My Friend...
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I think of what my friends would say, “A longer night, money’s right.”
If I had a dollar for every time they say that.
I need money too, but longer nights mean colder nights. They say I’ll get used to it but I don’t want to. I don’t want cold weather chapping my lips and face, or freezing my fingers and toes. Working outside isn’t my idea of a career path. I didn’t bust my butt getting good grades for this. But no one listens to me, no one cares. They blow me off just as this wind is blowing those leaves off the street. The wind determines where the leaves go and where they’ll land. They’re helpless victims of the wind, just as everyone thinks I’m a helpless victim of the streets.
Standing at the bus stop I spot one leaf trying to break away from the others. I watch as a lone leaf struggles for freedom, round and round it twirls, spinning along, pirouetting as a ballerina on a dimly lit stage. With one more leap it descends, gently landing back on the street from where it originally came. It is the only leaf the wind could not control.
I smile. One did get away. If it’s possible for that leaf to defy the powers of nature and its fate, why can’t I break away from the fate imposed upon me?
I climb up the steps and into the warm bus. I breathe deeply, dropping my tokens into the meter. Then I drop my shivering limbs into the first available seat. Quickly my head follows, dropping my chin to my chest. I don’t want to see who is sitting next to me, or to talk, I just want to warm my trembling body.
The bus waits for a group of running teenager girls. They climb on board, and then stumble past me, staring.
“What?” I snap, “Haven’t you seen piercings or tattoos before?”
They turn their eyes away, rushing to the back. Soon their giggles fill the bus. Their chatter gets louder. Unwillingly, I hear their conversation and quickly identify them.
“But at youth group; he was at the altar; a summer mission trip,” they don’t miss a beat. I know who they are. I was once one of them. When I sat where they’re sitting, I too was oblivious to the world around me. I also judged by what I saw. Now I’m being judged by what they see. They assume I’m going to hell without knowing anything about what’s going on inside of me.
After several stops, the only ones left on the bus are me and the church ladies. They move forward, sitting behind me. One girl hands me a folded paper as she says, “Jesus loves you.”
“I know,” I whisper, the lump in my throat throbs.
“You do?” she asks, her eyes widen.
“Yeah, you think you’ve got the market on religion, honey?”
“Well no, but, I mean, if you know Jesus loves you why do you, I mean…”
“Why do I look like I do, and do what I do? Cause Jesus didn’t make my baby’s daddy stick around or my minister father take us in, or the church people stop whispering about what they didn’t understand. Jesus didn’t give me any options, the street did. But I don’t expect you to understand.”
I look out the window, tears roll down my cheeks.
“I’m sorry. I never realized that inside a hooker could be someone who once knew Jesus. I just assumed you didn’t know any better.”
“Well, you assumed wrong. In fact, every day I ask God to forgive me, to protect my kid, and help me break away from this life. And, by-the-way, my tattoos are fakes and my piercings are clip-on.”
We all laugh. The girl next to me sticks out her hand. “I’m Lindsey, and I’d like to get to know the real you, the one deep inside.”
“Maybe tomorrow,” I say, exiting the bus.
The wind brushes my tear-stained cheeks. I remember the leaf that got away from the wind’s grip, returning to where it came from.
“Maybe tomorrow, I will too,” I sigh, glancing back at the gawking girls.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.