I Was Her Answer

    “I Was Her Answer,” New Era, Aug. 1998, 26

    I Was Her Answer

    Was she just plain strange? Or a stranger who just plain needed help?

    I could not help noticing the lady in the seat across the aisle. She was looking around the bus with her eyes wide and glossy, her thin hands clasped together in front of her. She kept squinting out the window, shaking her wispy hair, and making a funny noise. She began fidgeting more and more, and I wondered if she was going to make a scene. I turned to the window, trying to ignore her, but curiosity made me look back again.

    It was then that I saw tears in her eyes. I wondered if she might be in trouble. I wanted to help, but what if she did make a scene? I wouldn’t know what to do. Besides, I thought, I have to get to school on time, and my stop is coming up.

    Then I looked over to where she was sitting and saw the fearful expression on her face. The next thing I knew, I stood up, crossed the aisle, and sat down beside her.

    “Are you okay?” I asked. “Do you need some help?”

    Her eyes were wet and her hands were shaking. Her delicate face stared at me blankly, like a young child’s, so I asked her again, “Are you okay?”

    She looked down at her green handbag and fumbled through it for a pen and a notebook. She began writing, “Have we left Ottawa? I think I took the wrong bus.”

    I picked up the pen and wrote, “Are you deaf?” She responded with a nod. “Don’t worry,” I continued to write. “We’ll figure this out.”

    My stop was coming up next, and I knew this would make me late, but I didn’t ring the bell. Instead, I approached the bus driver, who phoned the station for directions. I wrote the alternate route down for her, and the bus driver said he would ensure that she caught the connecting bus.

    “What is your name?” I wrote quickly, before getting off at a stop quite a distance now from the school.

    “Anna,” she scribbled. “Thank you. You are the friend I was praying for.” A calm smile spread across her face that made her hazel eyes sparkle. I could feel her love and appreciation. As I smiled back at her, I felt an understanding that bonded us together.

    As the door swished behind me, and I waved good-bye, I could not believe that I had almost let Anna take that frightening journey alone. I ran all the way back to school with a smile on my face. I was glad I had listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost telling me that someone else needed help.

    Illustrated by Greg Newbold