The Gift, The Miracle

” You act just like your father. Nothing but a stupid ass. No brains, can’t do anything right.” Father walks into the kitchen and scratches his head. Pulling his sweat pants up with holes in the knees he looks at mom and daughter.

” See, take a look at him. He ain’t had a bath in days. Then he wonders why I won’t lay in bed with him. A donkey has more smarts than him, and I hate to say it but you are following in his footsteps.”

” Father looks at daughter and then at mom and then says to daughter, ” You are just causing too many problems here. I guess the best thing you can do so mother will settle down is to find another place to live. It just ain’t gonna work out here for you. Sorry, I love you, but I need my woman side me.”

Daughter burst into tears and runs from the kitchen to her bedroom. Getting in her closet and getting out her tattered suitcase, she tosses it on the bed and opens it. Going to her dresser drawers she yanks out what she owns and throws it in the suitcase.

She throws herself into her pillow and sobs wildly. Mom was right. I was worthless, plain stupid, just like father. Here I am going on 16 and I have done nothing with my life. All I ever learned was to cook and pick-up after everyone.

She gets  her toiletries and lays them gently in the case and then clicks it shut. She looks at her walls and her bed. A torn bedspread, passed down from two cousins ago. Faded pink curtains, that used to be bright like the sunshine. A couple of posters on the walls lingered, as if bidding her not to go.

She smiled when she looked at them. Posters of famous artists. She then remembered her pencils and sketch pad. She grabs them from under her bed and tucks them in her backpack. Sure that she had everything she walks out the door and back into the kitchen.

Her mother had packed  her a sack full of some crackers and a couple of apples. She hands it to her daughter. As her daughter reaches out to take the sack her mother snorts, ” You best learn something girl while you got the chance. Go out there and hook-up with someone who gots something to offer you and don’t let go til you can stand on your own two feet. Don’t end up like you father, stupid and poor.”

Daughter shakes her head in understanding and with nothing else to cling to she walks out the front door not looking back. She had no idea where she was going. She didn’t have any money. She had read stories about scared girls who get picked up by bad men and this scared her. How could she tell the difference?

She started walking towards town. She walked past the bakeries with the sparkling frosting and wished for one. She smelled grease from the diner. The next place she passed was the bus stop.

She wished she had some money. She would catch a bus and never come back. She would go far, far away and become a famous artist one day. She walked under the roof where benches rested; waiting for tired bottoms to sit down while waiting for their bus.

One by one, buses came and left. The sun was going down and she pulled her suitcase closer to her. She opened her backpack and got out her sketch pad and pencils. She started drawing people’s faces until there was no one left to draw. Putting her things back in her suitcase, she picked it up and moved to the very back where she wouldn’t be seen as easy.

The sun down, dark shadows bounced off the benches. Fear started to over-take her but she was determined to not give in to it. Buses continued to come in, dropping off customers.

One customer stepped down the two steps and glanced around. Obviously his ride hadn’t arrived yet. He then noticed her back in the shadows. Yes, that was the same girl who had been there earlier.

He started walking towards her and she saw him coming. She clung tight to her suitcase and her backpack. He was near her now, looking down at her. This made her fear rise and she tried looking the other direction, as if to let him know she hadn’t noticed him standing so close.

He came closer and sat down beside her. ” Aren’t you the same girl who was sitting here earlier today? I believe you were using a sketch pad and drawing customers waiting for their buses.”

She looked at him and shook her head. ” Would you mind showing me your drawings? I love art and I love anyone who has an interest in it.” She slowly pulled the sketch pad out of her backpack and handed it to him.

Neither said a word as he thumbed through the pages. Every once in a while he would ask, ” You drew these?” Once again she shook her head. ” Are you in some sort of trouble young lady?”

” I guess so. My mother says I am stupid like my father. I guess that gets on her nerves. Father said I had to leave in order to keep peace in the house.”

” I see, well anyone who can draw like this, is definitely not stupid.”  “Really? you don’t think my drawings are stupid? Mother thinks it is a waste of paper.”

” So where are you headed? Do you have a place to sleep tonight? It looks like you are waiting on someone or a ride but yet you go nowhere.”

” I will be just fine. I just haven’t figured out where I want to go yet. Don’t you worry none Mister, I will be just fine.”  ” Oh I am sure you will be fine, but for tonight, wouldn’t you like to get out of this and into some place a bit safer? She didn’t say anything.

” What about if I go to that pay phone over there and get you a room for the night at that motel right over there.” He pointed his finger in the direction and she looked that way. She still didn’t say anything.

It was then that his wife came up to them. She asked him about his trip and if it had been successful. He said yes and then told her about this girl sitting on the bench. ” You stay here with the girl honey. I will go over and make that phone call.” With that she left the two sitting together, neither saying a word.

In no time at all, the wife came back. ” The motel is so close I think you can walk there. I tell you what, you go over there and give them my name.” She then scribbled her name on a piece of paper and handed it to the girl. ” In the morning one of us will come back here to this exact spot and we will get you some breakfast.”

The girl saw nothing to fear and with the paper in hand, she mumbled a thank-you and then walked the one block. While Mr. and Mrs. Miller drove home, they both were thinking about the child they were never privileged to have. Both of them were thinking the same thing. Oh how they would love to show this girl that life had so much to offer.

” You should have seen that girl’s drawings. She showed them to me and they are quite good  honey. You would have been pleased.” Her ears picked up as she listened intently to what her husband had to say. His wife was an art teacher at the local high school in town.

The two of them talked about the girl through most of the evening. When both laid their heads down to rest, dreams of loving this girl were dancing in their heads. In the morning they both dressed and headed out the door. They drove back to the bus station and there she sat. He got out of his car and walked to the other side. He opened the back door waiting for to come with them.

The wife smiled and said, ” It’s ok missy. We aren’t  here to hurt you. We just want to help you.” With the smile so sincere the girl picked up her stuff and walked to the car. The husband put her items in the trunk and she climbed into the back seat.

All drove in silence to the restaurant. The girl was a little nervous but not full of fear. The restaurant came into sight. He parked and got out. He let  his wife out followed by opening the girl’s door. The Millers led the way into the front door.

Smells of coffee and sweet syrup made her realize how hungry she was. She had been saving her crackers and apples for when she was feeling starved. The waitress led them to a booth and they all sat.

” Order what ever you wish dear. Don’t be shy around us.” The girl opened the menu and decided on two eggs with two pancakes with whipped topping and blueberry syrup. While they were waiting for their food to arrive the man spoke.

” My wife here is my best friend in the whole world. She is an art teacher here at the high school. Do you attend there also?’

” Sometimes I do unless mother or father have something they want me to do.” The two looked at each other. ” Are you happy in your home dear?”

” Well I don’t know if happy is the word I would use. It is all I know of a home.” With that said their food came. All were quiet while they ate their breakfast. After everything was eaten the wife spoke.

” I understand your father asked you to leave and find a new home. My husband and I have always wanted children, but God never allowed that to happen. What would you say to the idea of coming to our home and staying with us a couple of days until you decide what you want to do?”

” Oh I couldn’t do that. You seem so nice, both of you do, but you are strangers to me and besides I wouldn’t want to impose. I am told I am nothing but a bother.”

” Well why don’t you let us decide if you are a bother or not. At least come and stay for a short time. You can attend you school”

” Oh no, I couldn’t go to school. I have nothing to wear. Most my clothes are looking pretty bad by now.”

” Well that can be fixed. If you want to go to school you can or I can let the school know where you are and you can take a couple of days to decide what you want to do.”

A couple of days with nothing to do? No cleaning or picking up after anyone? This sounded real good.

” Well I guess I could do that for a couple of days since you are a teacher at the school. You must be a nice lady, and you too sir.” With that the bill was paid and they walked out of the restaurant and got into the car.

The next place they drove to was the department store. Upon entering the double doors the teacher asked the girl what he clothing size was. ” Um, I really don’t know. I ain’t really had new clothes. I get mine mainly from cousins who out grew theirs.

The three of them walked to the teen department and upon speaking to the sales lady, a collection of clothing was tried on and when they left the store, the girl had two big sacks of brand new clothes.

He drove the car home and they went up a long winding drive way. The girl was speechless as she saw the big brick home with the four white pillars holding the porch up. She had never seen anything so pretty in her entire life.

They led her inside and took her to the guest room. White frilly curtains graced the windows. A big four-poster bed with a big frilly, white bedspread going all the way to the floor. A dresser with six drawers and a big mirror and her very own bathroom was more than she could have ever dreamed of.

” You can use any of the drawers you need to. Go ahead and unpack and be sure to hang your new clothes up so they don’t get wrinkled.  I will run you a bubble bath and you can bathe and wash your hair.”

The girl looked at her with eyes that looked like those of a puppy dog in a pet store window. The wife was already falling in love with this girl and left her to unpack while she went to her bedroom and prayed to God for a miracle to happen.

The two days flew by pretty fast. The teacher went to school and her husband went to his office. The girl did sketches and took bubble baths and filled her stomach with good food. She never wanted to leave these nice people’s home, but she knew she had to tomorrow.

That evening over dinner the husband took his wife’s hand and said, ” We have really enjoyed having your company. In fact we did some serious thinking. My wife looked at your sketch pad and I made some phone calls. If it would be alright with you young lady, we would like to talk to the courts about you living here. If you like that idea, we know of a special school not far from  here. A bus would come here and pick you up and bring you home. It is a school for the gifted, an art school. Would any of this be of interest to you?”

The girl got up and walked to where the two were sitting. Tears started flowing down her cheeks as she shook her head in agreement with their words. From that day on, this became her home. She grew and learned, she fell in love with life and her new parents.

She advanced in school and was offered a scholarship to a college of her choice in arts, which she easily accepted. God had been good. He had heard the prayer for a miracle and had given the gift.