Monday, May 02, 2016

The Girl - by Peter A. Black

It’s the big day! Three double-decker buses roll to a stop, kissing the kerb. All is abuzz. Little kids, teens and adults – mums and dads, singles and seniors, are herded aboard. Today’s the Annual Sunday School Outing, eagerly anticipated; a highlight excursion to a country park by the banks of Lochwinnoch.

Three Buses like those in the background
Fun galore – races for every age group and lots of prizes; sneaking off with a couple of pals to explore, then falling into the water and getting soaked . . . again, this year? Brief, stiff lecture about wandering off.

Breathe it in – the familiar smell of wood-fire smoke, blending with the mellow odor of damp woollen clothes drying out. Body gradually warming up in chill Scottish air, fingers cradling a cup of hot sugary tea. Hmm. Lunch – everyone gets the same: a tasty Scottish spiced-sausage pie, fern cupcake, Blue Riband caramel wafer bar and a big round, icing-topped cherry-in-the-middle jam-filled Empire Biscuit, or maybe a shiny red-and-green apple.
What a grand view from the upper deck! Almost all are aboard now – all two-hundred-plus of us. Church door and gates are locked, Mr. F              climbs on board our idling bus. Engines roar and gears engage. We’re off!

Her printed cotton dress moves gently in the breeze. Her brown hair – not too short, but not too long, either – doesn’t hide her endearing round, rosy cheeks. What do her eyes say, as she stands all alone, gazing up, eyes scanning the windows? The lower deck? The upper deck?

Source: MRM Black
I gaze into those eyes; a fleeting second is all I have. What do I see? Disappointment? Sadness? What does she feel?


Left behind, all alone . . . on a city side-street, outside the padlocked gate of a church.
What will she do now? What will happen to her?
I’m on the bus. I’m ten.
She’s . . . three-and-a-half, maybe four.
I’ve wondered about that little girl more often than I can recall during the more than six decades since that day.

She tugs at my heart every time.

Peter, now retired from fulltime pastoral service, is an author, inspirational columnist and songwriter living in Southwestern Ontario. He enjoys singing and playing sacred music and praise songs – especially for his friends in a number of residential care facilities and in area congregations.

~ Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart
~ Parables from the Pond


Eleanor Shepherd said...

What a beautiful piece of writing, Peter.
Thanks for sharing this.

Susan Harris said...

Beautifully expressed, Peter. I hope she had a good life.

Peter Black said...

Thanks, Eleanor and Susan. I also wonder whether the little girl grew up with lasting impressions of how she felt at being left all alone to find her way home that day, and how it may have, in some way, shaped her life. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

Why does this make me cry? So lovely, Peter. Surely makes me think about how we sometimes don't think - about the plight of others. Bless you for your compassionate heart - even at ten years of age. . .

ramona said...

It tugs at my heart strings too. There's a lump in my throat. I'd like to believe she met a Peter in her life.

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