By: Lauren R.
Wandering. I've done my fair share of it. I am admittedly not the greatest driver. I try to follow the GPS, but when you haven't paid the update fee and it's from four or five Christmases ago there's really no telling where you'll end up. So, after refusing to stay the night at my friend's, after a very spirited concert from Deerhunter, I made the two hour journey home.
Getting to Cleveland had been easy. It was daylight out, I could somewhat recognize towns, buildings and signs. Getting home was another story. I found myself at a detour. All I needed was for this stupid bridge to be open, but alas I was forced to follow a detour that in the daytime had been so easy to navigate. Now as darkness had ascended and it was roughly 1 a.m., I found myself driving in circles. Around and around I went, 422 West, 422 East, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ohio. My phone, dying, me crying to my parents who were awoken by my frantic nature. Smart phones seriously suck.
The thing is a few hours had passed and after unknowingly successfully navigating the detour, I told my dad I gave up. I was driving back to a nearby city with a college, and I would wait for him. That town I had chosen is not exactly the kind of place you want to be at after hours. It's the kind of place people warn you not to stop at red lights at. So, as my phone breathed its last breath, I told my dad I was parked near the college in a church parking lot. I figured God would protect me and that if any trouble would happen you'd have to be crazy to attack me near a church.
My dad didn't know my phone had died. My dad didn't even really know where I was. Heck, he was a half hour away, half asleep coming to get a daughter who was delirious with sleep and tears. I walked out of my car and looked around, for some reason police were everywhere. I didn't know why, but I went back to my car. I realized my dad would not be able to find me. I was kind of not near anything he'd recognize. I spotted a janitor car at the nearby school building and walked over hoping someone would be there.
There was this lady, whose name I have forgotten, who was my angel. I cried and told her what had happened. She was so gracious, so kind, she let me use her phone. She told me that someone had escaped jail and that she had seen me walking around and was worried for me. I waited with her, crying to my dad on her phone, thanking her again and again. I have never felt relief like that night when I saw my dad pull up. I hugged that lady, I hugged her so hard and told her she was my angel.
Following my dad home, I passed a sign I had pointed out to my dad over the phone. A sign that meant I had actually found my way home hours earlier, but didn't know it. Safe in my bed 30 minutes later I went to sleep, swearing I'd never tell my friends the story. Oops.
I don't talk much about my religious beliefs, but to this day I know that for me the only reason I got home was finding that church, finding that school janitor and God putting that lady there. If I hadn't found her who knows what would have happened, who knows when I would have made it home. It seriously crossed my mind to just sleep in my car and ask for help in the morning. I am forever thankful to that lady, and anytime I recount the story I feel that same sense of anxiety, that same sense of wandering off the path and feeling just a tad overwhelmed.