IWSG 6 December 2017: Looking Back

IWSG Badge-smIt’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s  Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG are: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

IWSG Question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

IWSG Short Answer: I didn’t say, “Thank you.”

In June of last year, I was on my own in France, I didn’t speak a word of French, and Rick (my husband) was on morphine in a nearby hospital. Today’s challenge: find the bus to his hospital and put money on my cell phone.

Head down I studied my wrinkled map and hoping it I was moving in the general direction of the bus stop and phone store. I sensed someone walking in step beside me. I was instantly on guard. I glanced to my left and there was a somewhat disheveled young man with a shaggy hair cut, a tired backpack strapped to his back, and wearing frayed sneakers.

My first thought, “Is he homeless?”

He asked, in English tinged with a French accent, “Can I help you with your map?” I asked myself, Do I accept his help? Can I trust this young man? I’m on high alert remembering the time I gave a friendly smile to a stranger and damn near got raped.

I decided my need for help was greater than my safety.

I glance over and say, “I’m trying to get to the Orange phone store and put money on my cell phone. Can you find it on my map?”

I hand him the crumpled map, he looks at it and turns it 90 degrees. He says, “See the railroad station over there?”

He nods to our right. Then points to the railroad line on the map, and says “Now where we are standing is in alignment with the railroad tracks.”

I think to myself, “Duh, I’m so stupid. How did I miss the railroad tracks?

With the map oriented to the railway station, he pointed to a street a few blocks away, “The Orange store is there, let’s go.”

I said, “The owner of the Inn, where I’m staying, gave me this map and told me to stay on this street, walk three blocks, and turn left.”

He said, “This is a short cut.”

“Do I go with him?”

After about a five-minute walk, I see the Orange store up ahead in the middle of the block.

He says, “I’ll go in with you to make sure you get what you pay for.”

I thought, “Be careful, he’s probably going to pick your pocket. Don’t let him see how many Euros you have in your wallet.”

We finish my transaction and back on the sidewalk, he asks, “Where are you going?”

I reply, “I’m taking the bus to the hospital to see my husband.”

He said, “I’m going to the hospital, too.”

Now I’m convinced he’s going to tell me his Hard Luck story and try to separate me from my money.

We boarded the bus and pay the fare. The bus is fairly empty, I settle on a bench seat and he sits across from me. Convinced he wanted money, I offered him two Euros for his help. He refuses and says he goes to the hospital twice a month.

I turn from gazing out the window and ask, “Are you a hospital volunteer?”

He kinda shrugs and says, “My kidneys are failing, so I go in for renal tests.”

Looking at my shoes, I say, “I’m so very sorry.” I lift my chin and ask, “How are you doing?”

He replies, “I’m OK. I have my own place and my parents live nearby.”

I asked, “Do you have a job?”

He replies, “No, I’m on disability. My biggest joy in life is helping strangers.”

I say to myself, “And I thought he might rape me!

Suddenly, my mind sparkles with insight and fresh understanding.

We look at each other and I know I can trust him.

The bus stops at the hospital and we get off. Silently, we walk together toward the hospital and before we go our separate ways, I turn and say, “Take care of yourself.”

I stepped into the elevator and punched the second floor button. As I ascend, I realize I was so consumed with fear and distrust, I didn’t ask his name or even thank him.

14 thoughts on “IWSG 6 December 2017: Looking Back

  1. What a powerful story, Lynn! There are some amazing people in this world. I’m really glad you came across one in such a difficult time. I hope that your husband is doing all right. My heart goes out to the young man whose kidneys were failing. My mother died of renal failure, so I’ll send a prayer up for his well being. Enjoy IWSG Day and happy holidays!

    1. Hi Louise,
      This incident has stayed with me, tucked in a special place in my heart. I’m so very sorry your mother suffered from renal failure. Thank you for your pray for his well being. One of my regrets is I have no way to contact him. Thank you for visiting and taking time to comment. Happy holidays to you and your family. Happy travels.

    1. Hi Chrys,
      Thank you, Chrys, for visiting and commenting. In addition to sharing a bit of his story, I’m grateful I could express the events that a way that touched you. I enjoy the monthly IWSG and finding personal stories that compliment the question.

    1. Hola mi amiga Joylene,
      I’m grateful I’m finding the time to write these small stories about ordinary people that have touched my life in interesting and unique ways. Thank you for being there to help light the path. Thank you, also for taking the time to visit and comment.

    1. Hi Alex,
      I agree with you, someone was watching over me. He’s forever in my memory and heart. Thank you for taking time to visit & comment. Thanks to you, I look forward to each month’s question. Great addition to IWSG monthly blog hop. Your site offers something for everyone.

    1. Hi Wanda,
      I believe trust is earned and the cornerstone of relationships. I’ve noticed that expressing patience and kindness is more appreciated than ever. Probably, because there is so much insanity. Thank you for stopping by and taking time to comment.

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