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Finding the Way Home
Light exploded over the black blanket of sky, illuminating it with glittering colors. The colorful specs of light rained down on the spectators below as they let out exclamations of “Oooh”s and “Ahhh”s. The people were packed together all along the Boston River, eyes raised to the sky. It was a day that many waited for. Plenty of planning and plotting went into the execution of this event.
The birthday of such a great nation was not taken lightly. National flags were hung on every street corner and people walked around in nothing but red, white, and blue. Street vendors sold anything, red or blue or white. Every child watching the great spectacle in the sky had some glowing toy held tightly in their grasp and a large smile on their face. Some of the more outgoing adults wore crazy hats to show the support of their country. Patriotism was strong this day.
Deep in the middle of the large crowd, a daughter turned to her father and whispered in his ear. She had to go to the bathroom and could not hold it any longer. The father turned to his sister beside him to tell her that they were leaving to find a restroom. The sister nodded her head and turned back to the show up in the sky.
Without looking away from the sky, the people in the crowd slowly parted for the father and daughter. Away from the crowds and down the deserted streets the father and daughter dashed, looking at every store, praying that one would be open, but to no avail. The booming from the fireworks could be heard and the array of colors could be seen off in the distance. The two slowed their pace as they approached one of the few still-busy streets. The daughter looked around desperately until her father elbowed her and pointed across the street. The only open establishment for miles stood before them: a Marriot hotel.
The daughter walked out of the restroom drying her hands on her pants. She questioned her father, who was on the phone, but was waved off. Minutes later he revealed that it was his sister; she had said that the fireworks were over and the rest of the pair’s family was on their way home. They had been left by their own family.
The two debated how they were to get home. Since they were just visitors to the city of Boston, they hardly knew their way around well enough to take a subway home. Finding the subway station would be a whole other adventure in itself. The father and daughter were eventually helped by the kind man behind the hotel desk; he had called a cab which would be there shortly. A huge sigh of relief was breathed by both. They would be home soon.
The prospect of being lost is something that almost all humans fear. They are, by nature, habitual creatures and take comfort in familiar things. Being lost in a place so far from their safe comfort zone tends to send them into panic.
What will they do? Where will they stay? What about food?
For parents with children, the instinct to protect their child makes everything more urgent. There is not one, but two beings that must be taken care of.
A yellow cab pulled up and the father breathed even easier as his daughter climbed in and he followed. It was just a short drive and they would be safely at their hotel. He had done his job as his position of “Dad”.
All over bars were filled with celebrating people. Most of these people were not celebrating the anniversary of their countries independence, but the fact that they had an excuse to drink down shot after shot until some wise person cut them off. Once they had been cut off the people would wander the streets looking for an empty cab to take them back home.
One such person climbed into a cab that had just dropped off a man and a young girl. After slurring out the location that the cab driver was to take him, the intoxicated man looked around the back seat he was currently occupying. He reached over and grabbed the brown leather wallet lying in the seat next to him, opened it up to look for cash. Nothing. The man carelessly tossed the wallet over his shoulder where it fell out the window and onto the bridge the cab was driving over. Several cars proceeded to drive over the wallet, forcing it down through a crack and into the water where it was lost forever.
The Father and daughter stepped up to the hotel room they had been staying in the last few days. Before her father could even reach into his pocket, the daughter had excitedly pulled out her key card. She swiped it and they entered their room. Minutes later the father frantically felt in his deep pockets for his wallet. It was not found.
No wallet meant no bank card; which meant no money. Worse still, no wallet meant no identification… Which meant they could not get onto the plane home.
The man immediately placed the blame on his daughter. This large misfortune could be no fault of his own, surely.
Self preservation is another human nature. Protecting themselves at almost any cost is the first instinct. The man admitting that he had hugely messed up was not something he wanted to do.
Blame was passed from father to daughter: The man handed the girl the wallet, but the girl never saw it. After several rounds of arguing over whose fault it really was, the man sighed and sat heavily in a chair. It did not matter who left the wallet in the cab, it just mattered that it was left. It just mattered that the two were now stuck in Boston by some bad twist of fate.
If the daughter had not had to go to the bathroom…
If the man’s sister had not left them to get their own way home…
If they had asked directions to the subway instead…
But that was no help. Being lost was scary, and being stuck some where foreign was just as scary, and once the impulse to simply protect oneself had passed, logic kicks in and one finds a way out of the mess one is in.
The man called his sister and explained what had happened. He made several other calls, all through the night in a vain attempt to track down a wallet that was lost in one of the many cabs found in Boston.
Long after his daughter was lost in sleep, the man crawled into his own bed. He knew by that time that the wallet was lost forever. He did the only thing he could think of; he sent up a prayer that both he and his daughter would be safely on a plane home the next night.