Note: This spring, 2020, during the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, I found myself with a lot of at-home time. During that time this story was completed. There are 12 sections to this story that will be posted starting December 26, ending on January 6, the day of Epiphany. “Wanderers” can also be found in my book “My Best Christmas and other stories of the season” at Amazon.com.
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Let me make this abundantly clear. Things don’t just happen. Fate, chance, luck have no place in our world. Coincidence? Things just happen? Oh well, that’s life? Que sera? I don’t buy it. There’s a reason and a purpose for the events that occur in our lives, no matter how unbelievably coincidental they may sometimes seem. That’s why I need to tell this story.
It’s a story about wanderers, Thomas Start, Betty Williston, Harry Spaulding and others. They all started in different places, at different times and from different circumstances. They were wanderers, each in their own way, yet somehow came together. These wanderers, all strangers to each other, were brought together in the fullness of their time, to make a difference and shed light into the lives of each other.
It’s a story of Epiphany. It’s a story of God working behind the scenes as he does in all of our lives for a reason and a purpose that, in the end, reflects his grace. Indeed, he is the author of our stories and the main character as well.
A cold shiver crawled through Ruby as she shed her rain-drenched jacket. The two of them just got back from school and their in-car, oneway discussion continued. “I hate science!” Who cares about all that astronomy stuff anyway? Mr. King is soooo boring!” Ruby said, rolling her eyes.
She carved a sour look on her face and with a low, growly voice did her best, worst imitation of her teacher.
“And so, because, in the nighttime sky, these points of light appeared to move about among the fixed objects, stars e-t-c-e-t-e-r-a…” She drew out the word with her best British accent. Ruby cleared the imaginary phlegm from her throat in dramatic teacher style. “These, what we now call planets, were known to the ancients as wanderers.”
Ruby’s mother, Meira, fought the urge to chuckle and hung her coat in the closet. She said, “C’mon, Ruby it can’t be all that bad.”
“Besides, with 100 percent clouds all the time who can even see any of the stuff he talks about?” Ruby said. “And look at this!” Ruby dug through her school binder and extracted her science notes from her language arts folder. “Look at all these vocabulary words! We have to know them by Monday!”
Meira rescued the sheet from Ruby’s angry hands and said, “These don’t look too bad. I’m sure Grampa will love to help you review.” She skimmed the list; planets, supernova, conjunction and a dozen more.
“Why do I have to stay at Grampa’s?” she said. “Why can’t I just stay home while you and Dad are away? I’m old enough! It’s not fair!” Ruby’s foul mood was precipitated by a bad Friday at school, of which she had many, especially with Mr. King the science teacher. Today was no different.
“Ruby, we talked about this. Dad and I have a meeting to attend and we’ll be back sometime Saturday morning. And no, you can’t stay alone overnight.” Ruby rolled her eyes. She was twelve after all, a sixth grader, in middle school, no less. “Besides you like staying at Grampa’s.”
“Why don’t you get your stuff ready. We should be ready to go when your dad comes home. At this Ruby stomped to her room to pack her stuff. Her imagination worked overtime creating weekend scenarios that were not to her liking. Not at all! Little did she know what she imagined and what was true were to be very different.