Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
In Medjugorje, there’s a crowd of people entering the church, praying at the grotto, climbing steep hills in prayer. It’s a place of retreat, usually quiet, usually peaceful.
This morning there’s a long queue at the ladies’ room between Masses. Waiting in the line are speakers of many languages, but two Italian women walk right past us, ignoring the single-file suckers. They march to the front and go for the next doors that open.
Two Irish women are supposed to be next and also head toward those recently vacated stalls. One of them is younger, the other older and determined. She steps in front of the women who cut ahead, and forces her way into the stall that is rightfully hers. The Italian women begin to scream, raise their hands, make a scene–almost precisely as the church bells ring outside. Women in line tsk-tsk, and the lady next to me says, “Italians! They never think the rules apply to them!” Though I have met plenty of nice Italians on this trip, I have noticed many were often maneuvering in front of me in a line.
The younger Irish woman exits her stall first and hustles past the Italian women. She glances at those of us in line with a blush. The Waiting Women nod at her with encouragement and support. The older woman takes a slower approach, her head held high, knowing she did the right thing.
I catch up with the Irish women outside, feeling I must ask about their encounter. The older one laughs, “I don’t know how I turned into a fish man’s wife! I’ve been here on pilgrimage for a week and I felt so much peace. But I just couldn’t let them cut the queue.” There’s a rosy glow to her cheeks, and she seems enlivened to have stood up for all the Waiting Women.
The younger woman also smiles at compelling order on those who tried to cut ahead. “There’s a reason people wait in line. It’s only right. Especially here!” It is a marvel that anyone could be rude here, and to two women so kind and dear.
“So now,” the older woman grinned at me and leaned in close, “So now you’ve really seen the Fighting Irish.”
I should note that while I have blogged about some frustrating encounters with people from Italy on this trip, I also met very sweet Italian people. Still, this story had to be told with the countries of origin. It seemed mandatory. 🙂