Chapter 7: Lift Up Your Hands
Tonight my friend and I got manicures and pedicures. She took me across the city to a nice little place she frequents and we laughed as the Pedicurist worked vigorously at our feet, mostly mine. It was a relaxing affair… until the nail polish dried.
You see, once the nail polish dried, it was time to leave that little piece of heaven where were pampered on plush red couches.
We left and after she helped me figure out which bus to get on, she went off to take the metro home.
I went after the bus. I saw it, but I wasn’t quite there, so I ran… sort of… in my sandals and got there just in time to watch it drive away. So I waited and waited and waited. At last, another bus with the same number came. When I got on the lady didn’t charge me because when I said “To Wal-Mart,” she knew I was on the wrong bus. She told me which bus to get on by scribbling the bus number on a sheet of paper and told me to get off and catch it at the next stop. I thought she was pointing across the street.
So I got off and went across the street and got on that bus number. Across the street, the buses go in the opposite direction. On that bus, after saying “Wal-Mart” in every way I could think of, “Wa Er Mar,” “Wearmar,” “Wal-Mart”… the driver just said “no” and shoed me off the bus. At that point I was starting to get anxious.
I went back across the street and caught the same bus number, but going in the opposite direction, the original direction. The lady working the tickets got a young girl to tell me as best she could in broken but respectable English that I needed to get off at the stop I was instructed and take bus 22 in order to get to Wal-Mart. The reason I wanted to go to Wal-Mart was simply because I forgot the little card at home that tells me which bus to take to get home and Wal-Mart is close enough to home that I can walk.
We drove down a dark remote road and they told me to get off. I was expecting a bus stop with the bright lights and signs that have at least the name of the current location in English, a sidewalk to stand on, and a covering to stand under. No, not this place. There was a sign, no larger than a street sign sticking out of some bushes. There was no quality lighting and I’m almost certain there was prostitution right across the street. Then I saw bus 22 coming. I got on and the bus driver signaled that I didn’t need to pay. I felt hope. He didn’t speak English, but he had a caring face. He smiled. He tried to ask questions, but we didn’t understand much of each other. I pulled out one of the cards that gave a location I am at least familiar with and showed it to him. I didn’t have any luck with the previous bus drivers when I said “Sea World or Wal-Mart… I don’t care which.” Sea World is the name of a part of the city that is well lit, has many restaurants, lots of people, and I know which bus to take to get home from that spot. He smiled and drove. I could tell we were close. The bright colorful lights that fill the streets began to fill my sight. I saw the big lit up boat, which by the way is why they call it Sea World. There is no sea. There is a boat affixed to land. That makes it… Sea World.
We were at Sea World. Well, we were almost there. We were on a remote street on the other side of Sea World, the side I’d never seen. The side I didn’t know existed. I could see the lively streets, over a huge dark, pit where construction was occurring. Then, he stopped. He gestured for me to get off. My heart sank. I signaled one more time just to make sure he meant for me to get off. He pointed to the big boat that symbolized Sea World and gestured for me to follow the winding road. So, hesitantly, I got off, with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.
He did a U-turn with the bus and went back. I was on a lonely street with no bus stop in sight at 10:00 PM. No one except for the occasional man on a bicycle peddling along the sidewalk or a small group of men meandering down the way were present. I didn’t know which way to turn. I looked up one end of the street and it wound around a corner, a relatively dark corner, and the other end did the same. Then I looked a third direction. It had no light at all.
I started walking up the street, the most well lit street. I quickly realized that only way to get to the “safe” part of town in my mind was to cross an abandoned, dark, muddy, rocky, desolate construction site that happened to have one or two men inhabiting, or to walk through a dark abandoned overpass—or I could see what was around the dark stretches of road beyond the high rise buildings under construction. I walked back and forth, crying. Looking for some other route, trying desperately to not get out of the lit spot I was in. A few cars passed. I crossed the street. I went forward down the winding road a few feet and then I came back. At last, I stopped, cried, looked at the part of town I needed to get to, remembered a quote my aunt put on Facebook this morning and followed its directions.
“When all seems lost and you feel like giving up then you need to Reach up as far as you can and God will reach down the rest of the way~”
so I literally looked up, put my hands in the air, said God I need you to send help because I can’t do this. I’m stuck.
I turned around and whizzing down the street was a taxi. I didn’t even have to flag him down. I just walked towards the street and he pulled over. It was like a scene from a movie. He had a gentle face as well. He didn’t speak English but he understood Wal-Mart and to Wal-Mart we went. At last, I was home.
The greatest sound of my day came from the beep of the electronic keypad as I opened the door to my building. God is good, all the time.