So, anyway, as I was walking home tonight, I distinctly sensed there was rain in the air. As is my habit, I muttered to Jesus: "I'm going to grab a bus. And I'll pray Evening Prayer on it."
As is NOT my habit, I also distinctly heard an answer: "Oh, you'll pray all right!"
I climbed on the bus and was greeted by the cutest little girl and her beautiful Mom. "Hey! I remember you!" the kid cried out. I didn't recognize her, but gave her my most (or so I thought) dazzling smile. And opened my breviary (on my phone) to Vespers. This wasn't going to happen.
Little Girl (hereafter known as "Kid," turning and smiling at me...she couldn't have been more than five): "Hey! It's ME!"
Me: (recapturing so called dazzling smile) "Oh yes! How are you"! [leave me alone kid]
Kid: "You remember me, right?"
Me: "Oh, of course!" (?)
Kid: "Well, I have a question!"
Me: [As. Kindly. As. I. Could. Get.] "Oh! Sure, what is it?"
Kid: "Well...my Mom here has a beautiful smile. Daddy always says so. Why are your teeth so crooked?"
[Picture, if you will, said Beautiful Mom, wanting to drop into a hole somewhere.]
Me: "Uh...well..(thinking frantically for an answer...yep, got it!)...well, when I was a little girl, a bit older than you? I disobeyed my Mom and Dad and didn't wear my braces!"
[Which was, o' course, a damn lie..my parents couldn't afford braces.]
Kid: "Oh. But why do you have that brown thing on your tooth?"
[Damn tea, black coffee, and that Saturday Night Cigar, anyway!!!]
Me: "Oh! Well! It's from -- hey, what's your favorite soda?"
Kid: "Oh, I love Coke!"'
Me: [after a brief prayer of gratitude] "Me too! But...you'd better watch out. Too much sugar, Cokes, candy, and all that other stuff? It'll make a stain on your tooth!"
Kid: "But that's what my MOM said!"
[insert beautiful Mom offering me a glance of supreme gratitude]
Kid: "But why are you so skinny? My Dad thinks my Mom is beautiful!"
Me: [kinda warming to this] "Because I Didn't. Eat. My Fruit. And Vegetables!!!"
[Another lie, but what the bleep...blame it on Jesus! :-) Also I got another grateful glance from the Very Well Built Mom, so hey...what harm?]
Kid: "Oh. But I don't like vegetables. I like fruit though."
Me: [warming more to my nonexistent subject] "You only think you don't like vegetables. Actually? They make you beautiful!"
Kid: [evidently bored with the dietary conversation]: "Is that JESUS on you???"
Me: [stupidly looking down on my sweater] "Why...yes, this is a `crucifix.'" [I'll show her!] "Do you know what a `crucifix' is?"
Kid: "Yes, yes, yes! I have one of my own, right Mommy?"
Mommy: "Yes, baby."
Kid: "I'm NOT a baby."
Mommy: "Show the lady your Crucifix."
And she did! With a dazzling smile!
Me: [suddenly welling up with tears]: "It's beautiful. Thank you for showing me."
Kid: "Oh, that's okay. I love you. Do you love me?"
Me: [about ready to lose it]: "Yes, very much. I...oh, gee, I've got to get off at the next stop."
Kid: [tears also welling up] "NO! I'm having FUN! You CAN'T get off now!"
Mommy: "Let the lady go, sweetie."
Kid: "Okay, but can't we go home with her?"
Mommy: [looking apologetically at me] "Not tonight, hon...maybe some other time."
Me: [thinking what the bleep? I WANT to take them home....then I came to my senses] "Okay, guys, time for me to get off."
Kid: "Bye! Thanks for talking to us!"
Me: "Bye! Don't forget to say your prayers!"
Kid: [rather scornfully, I thought, but maybe not]: "Don't YOU forget!"
~ ~ ~
The bus driver let me kiss them both good-bye before I got off. And I think I heard Jesus say, very quietly..."nice prayer!" :-)