I wrote this journal entry on March 30th, after staying the night in Bay City, WI.
I was escorted to my seat, led hand in hand by two little girls. Once they made sure I was comfortable, they walked to the middle of living room and started giggling fitfully. I awkwardly smiled and glanced into the kitchen, where their parents were talking to one another and cleaning up our dinner mess. I returned my eyes to the middle of the room where the girls were now situating themselves, getting ready for the performance. The youngest one, Joy, suddenly stood straight up as a very serious look fell over her face. Her older sister, Hope, stood a few feet to the side, eyeing her younger sister, waiting.
“The…sun will come out, tomorrow! Bet your bottom dollar that, tomorrow…!” She began to sing. Hope started to lip sync the words of the song and conducted wildly, keeping them chaotically on beat. How out of tune notes, messed up lyrics, and a missing tooth lisp can sound beautiful is beyond me, but there I sat in amazement as their music filled the house. She rocked back and forth on the heels of her feet as she sang through the song in its entirety. Before the last word, she breathed in as much air as her tiny lungs would allow and bellowed the final note. She cut it off abruptly and didn’t say a word. She was staring right at me, waiting for my reaction.
“Bravo!” I cheered and began to clap my hands. They both began to giggle wildly and jumped onto the couch with me. Before I knew it, Joy was giving me huge hug as Hope began telling a very detailed story her sister’s love for singing. I had only just met them both less than three hours earlier when I finished up my day’s walk from Nesbitt’s Nursery. They had come home from school and within minutes they were sharing their toys with me, telling me of their Easter plans, and talking as if we were all lifelong friends.
I asked for an encore and so they sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jesus Loves Me, and many more. They sang and twirled and laughed and joked. Soon, however, it was their bedtime, and they struggled to keep their eyes open, trying to convince themselves that they were nowhere close to being tired. I bent down and gave them both a goodnight hug. I said my goodbye to Hope, since she would be gone to school before I got up to head out the next morning. I got ready for bed myself and soon I was laying in my made up futon bed in the basement. For a few minutes I reflected on how far I had to go until Miami. I thought about how much I already missed my family and my friends, only three days in. I wondered how my body was ever going to hold up with almost 2,000 more miles to go. Without even realizing it my thoughts slipped through my mind and I was asleep.
The next morning, gray clouds littered the sky and a cool wind nipped at my cheek. My muscles were sore and extremely stiff and it hurt my brain to think about the twenty-six miles that awaited me in just a few minutes. Joy, her parents, and I walked the few blocks to the town’s cafe where we ate breakfast. After our meal, we walked the one block to Flat Pennies Ice Cream where we drank coffee with a scoop of ice cream in it. The drink was delicious and I wished that I could just spend the morning there, sipping coffee and visiting with new friends. Within a few minutes, however, I had drank my glass empty and it was getting past the time I had hoped to leave by. We thanked them for the coffee and head back out to the street.
Joy’s mother told her to walk down the sidewalk with me so she could get a picture of us from behind. Joy ran up to me and took my hand. As her little fingers squeezed my own she launched into a story about her coat and that it was called the “watermelon coat” due to it’s pink color and green trim. As she spoke I suddenly became aware of the cars speeding by and the train clamoring down the tracks. Without really realizing it, her safety was passed to me, just for that one block as we walked. And with that I began to understand, just a little more, the looks that my parents had given me as I headed off on my walk. Though they had let go of my hand many years ago, the worry of passing cars and unexpected dangers never really leaves a parent’s heart.
Joy’s giggling brought me back and I saw that we were at the corner of their block. I bent down and gave her one last hug. She didn’t look me in the eyes, as I think she had just realized that I was now leaving. I shook her dad’s hand, gave her mom a hug and began walking south. A few steps in, a cold breeze pushed up against me and I felt my stride shorten and my muscles moan. I couldn’t help but to let the cloudy weather add to my apprehensive mood of continuing my walk for the day. I looked back towards town and felt my heart sink just a little when I saw them crossing the train tracks, heading back to their nice and cozy home.
As I turned back to the road ahead of me I suddenly felt the sun’s warmth hit my face. I glanced up and watched as one of the gray puffy clouds floated aside, revealing the bluest sky and the brightest light. A smile spread across my face as Hope and Joy filled my heart. Yesterday’s tomorrow was today… And the sun had just come out.