Non-Fiction Short Stories. Travel, oldsters, love, moments worthy of pause. Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
I’d lost track of how many bridges I’d crossed, which was not my first mistake, but one among many. I thought I had been retracing my steps, but must have begun tracing someone else’s. With only an hour until I am due to meet with 30 new students, I can’t find my way back to where I’ve started. A man with a map passes like an angel! I ask if I can take a look. Of course, my map skills are nearly as excellent as my general sense of direction. So I stare at the colored canals and Dutch street names and feel even more distress.
“I’ve got another map,” He digs through his bag. “Here. It’s yours.”
I thank him, but stare at it just as blankly.
“Do you know where you are? We’re HERE.” He marks the map with a blob that resembles a turtle. And, glory, it works. I find my way. I begin to recognize landmarks and find the names from the map on the sides of the buildings.
So I break out helplessly in a grin–a ridiculous one. I’ll make it on time. I’ll have plenty of time! I make my way with growing delight, grinning so much that small children smile at me, grandmas on bicycles smile at me. A man driving a tram gives me a giant wave and a matching grin. Pedestrians waiting at stoplights, clerks at cafes, flower salesmen behind their blooms–the city seems to share my relief, my joy at finding a path back home. Dank je wel!
-Amsterdam, The Netherlands.