A Short Story by Audra Ohm
She drove down this road a million times to get where she wanted to go. Today, she was taking her daughter to ballet class. The day started out like any other day, except that there was a very dense fog surrounding her 1998 purple jeep. She could barely see 2 feet in front of her but she stayed confident, gripping the steering wheel as if it would help her see better. Oncoming cars passed as if they appear out of nowhere. Her peripheral vision could not see the huge subdivision to her right, everything was white. If it wasn’t for the roaring engine it would have seemed as if they were floating in the clouds. Worried if they were going to be late, she glanced down at the time it read 9:45. In front of her she saw two tiny red lights, like eyes peering at them through the cloud. Suddenly, she realized it was a car breaking to make a turn and she slammed on her breaks just in time. She knew she couldn’t add another bill to the stack that collected dust on her dining room table. She tried to gain speed again but everything shut off. She quickly veered over to the side of the road to get out of the way of other cars. She suspected something like this would happen eventually, but today of all days was not the day! She put the car in park and tried to start her car again but all she heard was silence. Letting out a deep sigh she looked down at her hands that were holding the keys and said a short prayer. “Father God, I need this car to start….” She let out a deep sigh as she listened to her daughter asking a billion question she couldn’t answer. Her answer like most stressful days was “I don’t know.” In a low defeated tone. She grabbed her phone to call for help, only to find it had died once again. Her throat tighten and a tear fell from her eye and landed in her lap. “What do I do now God?” Quietly she heard, “Step out.” She yanked on the door handle and the car door squeaked as she stepped out of the jeep. To her surprise her feet hit gravel, she must have went too far. She shook her head and looked around her, noticing the fog had lifted and they were in the middle of miles of tall green corn fields. Stunned, she opened the back door to get her daughter out as she knew they would have to start walking. Down the road she saw a car approaching to her left, it was a bright blue farm truck fully restored. She had no idea of the year but guessed it to be from the fifties. There was a tall slender young man in the driver seat. He was wearing a white shirt and his hair was slicked back. He definitely fit the part. As he approached, he slowed down, his window was down with his left arm hung holding a cigarette in-between is fingers. “You in trouble ma’am?” addressing the situation. As she explained the situation, he told her to keep walking and his house would be up the road a bit. He said his wife was outside doing laundry and would give them a nice glass a lemonade while he looked at her car. She thanked him and headed down the quiet road. A little white farm house sat on the side of the road a few yards up, in the drive way sat a Chevy two door car with white wall tires, like the one her grandparents use to own. She never knew her grandma, she had died at a young age but the snapshots replay in her mind daily as she yearned to see her just once. One of the pictures she saw once was her siting in a car just like this one. The house was a small two-story square house with a wraparound porch. In the back there was a freshly painted red barn with a few animals outside. Just as the man said, she sees a young woman hanging her laundry on the line, her slender figure is hidden under a very modest summer dress. The young lady started walking toward her, smiling, as they approached. Before she could get a word out of her mouth her daughter let go of her hand and ran right up to the woman, giving her a huge hug, as if they’ve known each other for ages. The women looked at her with sincerity in her eyes and asked, “Are you okay?” Trying not to cry she answered in a low voice, “not really, our car broke down and your husband sent me this way.” “Of course, come this way” she said. She followed her up the dirt path and couldn’t shake that this lady had a familiar face. There was a sweetness in her face that complimented her wavy brown hair, the ends landed just above her shoulders. The lady turned to pick up a small metal truck in the path then turns back around toward her, “I’m Katie by the way” “Nice to meet you, my name is Emma. Thanks again for your hospitality.” The edges of her red painted lips curled upwards and she nodded as she told her to sit down, before running into the house for the lemonade. Emma looked around for a seat on the porch. There was a small antique glider and a red metal chair. She picked the chair; it didn’t glide but it still had a bounce to it. As she sat down, she took a deep sigh peering over the railing to look out at the kids. Moments later Katie pushed open the screen door with the back of her foot and turn around with a tray of lemonade and sugar cookies. She held out the metal tray and she grabbed one of the colorful metal glasses, the dew ran down her fingers. Katie went over to the glider and sat the tray on the table beside her. There was a brief silence as she looked out onto the road. She loved how peaceful it was out there. She took a sip of the lemonade and the sweetness hit every taste bud in her mouth, she knew this was freshly squeezed with roughly six cups of sugar added, it was heaven and she savored every sip. Assuming they would miss her daughters, ballet class Emma crossed her legs, leaned back in the chair and chose to enjoy the beautiful day with her new friend. As the kids played, they sat there for what seemed like hours, talking & laughing as if they had been friends for years. Her worries were a distant memory as the sun hit the peak of the sky. Just then her purple jeep pulled into the driveway. She glanced at Katie not wanting to leave and politely said thank you, looking at her in a way that said this moment would be cherished. Together they walked down the path toward the car and thanked the young man as he got out. Katie leaned in and hugged her tight. She pulled an enveloped from her pocket and handed it to her. Tears fell as she watched the young man wrap his arm around his wife and pull her in tight and her hand rested on his shoulder. She was filled with gratitude for God’s provision. She looked down at the envelope Katie gave her and slowly opened it. A necklace with a small key attached fell onto her lap a small picture peeked out. A bit confused she took it out, and as it peaked from white edges, she noticed a very familiar picture. It was the one she had seen as a young kid, her grandma Catherine, smiling from the passenger seat. As she looked back up to gain clarity, she was surrounded by the fog once again. She looked around her in all directions, there was no sign of the young couple, the house or the hot sun. She looked back down at the photo, turned it over and it read, “I love you dear granddaughter, -Grandma Catherine but my friends call me Katie.” tears began to flow from her eyes and they landed on the sweet words. She took a deep breath, “are you ok mommy?” came from the back seat. “yes” grasping the necklace. She looked at her clock and it read “9:45”. They would indeed make it to ballet.