editor’s letter feb 2009

Editor’s Note: Following is a last bit from my previous chapter of BUS RIDE, my 2007 spiritual journey. “The man in black approached me for a reason. God is showing me the way out of my trouble!”

FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY

Dropping my cell phone into my carry-all, I pushed through outer glass doors where the man in black had disappeared into a bunch of other men. He asked me about a cab for a reason. I have to trust God. I am being led. I will be all right if I relax and follow God’s lead.

Warm, moist air greeted me as I stepped onto a wide walkway. I glanced up and down the road which was empty except for three cabs waiting at the curb behind the circled men. Warily, I approached the group of Black men. When I saw the big guy I quietly said, “Excuse me…” He turned and I finished, “I think I would like a cab after all.”

He smiled and stepped toward me.

Just then, another man in the group said, “Wait! It’s not your up.”

The large man stopped and turned back. Heads bent together, the men murmured about whose turn it was to take a fare. The big fellow stepped back from the bunch and turned to me. Eyebrows like sides of a gable roof he shook his head, “Sorry, Ma’am.”

But God brought this big man to me… My courage faltered. I took a breath and held it. I had heard when plans did not proceed smoothly, God’s will was not in that path. Is there another option?

Just then a slender man in a white formal- looking shirt and matching pants emerged from the group of men and said, “Where do you want to go?”

I hesitated, but heard The Counselor, Just go on with your plan. Answering his question I exhaled, “I need a rental car. Where’s the nearest?”

He confirmed my guess, “The airport.”

“How much?”

“Forty dollars.”

That was nearly as much as my bus ticket! I have the money… I swallowed but nodded, “OK.”

Hand out for my suitcase, he walked over. I pulled the bag up beside me and presented its handle. Pulling my suitcase, he walked ahead and I followed toward the far end of the tan brick terminal. Street side, we passed two yellow cabs, and a white one. On the terminal side, we passed Silk Shirt leaning on the building and smoking a cigarette.

“What’re you doing out here?” I called to my fellow passenger.

“Waiting for my ride.”

I nodded recalling his destination was Detroit. Still behind the cabby, I waved, “Bye!”

Then I stopped and looked back, “Wait! What’s your name?”

He smiled, “Joe.”

“Bye, Joe! God bless!”

He raised an arm to me as I trailed away toward a corner.

White Tuxedo did not stop at

the intersection marking the back of the terminal. He rolled my suitcase down a smooth place in the curb and started up the street. I reached the curb and stopped. The situation suddenly seemed odd. If he is “next up” why isn’t his cab first in line? I called to him, “Where are we going?”

With those words, suddenly I fell into my past and was again a pre-school five-year old. I had been standing on the busy corner waiting for Jerry, my older playmate, to get out of school. I waited there most afternoons and had seen the teen-ager before. Other days, the kid had nodded at me from the other side of the two-lane truck route. But, that day he crossed over and approached me, “Want to see something?” When I didn’t answer, he opened his eyes in delight as if licking an ice cream cone on a hot day, “You’ll like it.” He turned and coaxed over his shoulder, “Come on, I’ll show you.”

Even though I didn’t know him, he had acted friendly other days. I trailed behind him, “Where are we going?”

“Up the street.”

As we walked past my house, I suddenly decided to ask my younger next-door neighbor Barbie to come along.

“Wait! I want to take Barbie along.”

“OK.” He shrugged and he walked past her house then waited at the alley next to it.

I rang the doorbell. Inside I heard Barbie’s baby brother crying. When her mother opened the door, she held JD over her shoulder, patting him. Feet together I asked politely, “Can Barbie come for a walk with me?” Hearing my voice, Barbie ran to the screen and grinned. She always wanted to play. Since she was four and too little to color, we usually walked.

White apron over her blue housedress, Mrs. Arch patted the baby she held over one shoulder inquiring, “Where are you going?”

“Around the block,” I lied.

She nodded and Barbie burst out. As soon as we were away from her front door, I told Barbie we were walking with the boy to “see something.” I opened my eyes wide like he had.

Up the dusty alley we followed the young man. But reaching the next street I stopped and looked at him, “I’m not allowed to cross Seventh Street.”

“I wanna’ see something!” chimed Barbie.

Frowning, I hesitated.

“Come on!” the little girl urged.

“How much farther?” I asked the brown-haired stranger.

He tipped his head across the street, “Just up the way…” adding with a shake of his head, “not as far as 6th Street.”

I looked at Barbie who pranced by the curb, wanting to go.

“OK.”

We scuffed up the alley to an open garage. “In here,” the kid said, nodding toward the empty stall. We walked in and he followed us in.

“Where is it?” asked Barbie. I glanced around, too. A rake and shovel hung on the open wood stud wall. I didn’t see anything but I felt funny.

“Let’s go!” I pulled Barbie’s hand and stepped back toward the alley.

“Wait!” the boy walked in front of us, deeper into the space, “I’ll show you something goood!” Back to the alley, he stepped toward the wall and unzipped his pants. Barbie craned her neck to see better.

My eyes got very wide and stomach hurt. I’m going to be in trouble! “Come on Barbie!” I took her arm but didn’t move, fascinated as the boy pulled on the fat pink member he had pulled out of his pants. Suddenly it spit white stuff. Barbie’s eyes were glued to the show. My stomach really hurt.

“We have to go!” I said. Holding my little friend’s arm, I retreated to the alley.

As I took big steps back toward Seventh Street, pulling Barbie along she wailed, “What’s the matter?”

Something I could not name was so wrong I could hardly talk. Scared of the kid now, I glanced over my shoulder to be sure that boy was not following us. I felt better when I saw him at the opposite end of the alley turning onto 6th Street.

I had confessed to my mother who had called the police after Daddy got home. While I had never seen that kid again, I never forgot that terrible feeling.

Standing on the curb in Detroit, my stomach felt like it had that long-ago day. Thinking back on my five-year old episode, I shook my head. I had had at least two warnings. First when he wanted me to follow him, and again when I stopped at 7th Street. My stomach gripped that same way now. Is this a warning? Maybe I’m irrational — after all, I’m an adult now…

That’s all for now. More next month!

Frances Fritzie

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