We’re driving down Angel Street at three o’clock in the afternoon, perfect late summer day, nice iced coffee in the cup holder, pretty girls in summer dresses everywhere and no runs coming our way.
We approach The Rhode Island School of Design just as a bus is leaving, full of kids going home from a week long summer program. The bus is packed, and it slowly pulls away from the school ready to bring the kids back to wherever it is they came from.
I hear shouting behind us, a happy sound, kids whooping it up. Dozens of kids run past us, flanking the bus, jumping up and down, waving, smiling from ear to ear. The kids in the bus respond in kind, and it is sweet mayhem for a minute, then the bus moves down the hill, toward the city.
The spontaneous honor guard follows, escorting the bus, shouting, waving, keeping pace for a while before the machinery outpaces the humans and distance spreads. The guard keeps running. They catch the bus at the next light, more euphoria ensues, the joyous cacophony contagious as pedestrians and drivers, and tired EMT’s are caught up in the display of affection, and sheer, unblemished happiness. A few join in, and honk their horns, or raise their hands in the air, or chirp their siren and the bus moves again, finally outdistancing the pack.
The tired runners slow down, then stop, then turn around and head back up the hill, and wait for their bus to take them back to whoever it is they come from, new friendships formed, and an experience that will last them a lifetime.
I’m stunned at the effect this little moment of magic has on me. This morning’s drowned two year old, the dead twenty-five year old from last night, the beaten teen, the hopeless and lost all recede into the back of my mind and light shines through. It is a moment of grace delivered at just the right time and I never saw it coming, or knew how badly I needed it.
Another call came in, we had to respond, and my voice sounded a little different when I answered the radio, and wiped my eyes, knowing that no matter what, things will be alright…
Thus begins my next book, created one story at a time right here on this blog, available everywhere on October 10, 2017 from Post Hill Press.