Another short fiction writing.
It had been another long day. I had already worked ten hours and there was no end in sight to the conclusion of my deadlines.
There was the Stadium to check for the 100th time in preparation for the upcoming Total Eclipse. So many slots to fill with employees that were no longer with the University. Each person was currently being asked to perform two people’s work…and I needed them to perform twice that much.
All available staff were excited to be a part of such an historic event. I wondered how they were able to keep their morale so high…with so much expected of them?
It was brutally hot on Eclipse Day.
As the visitors streamed in, I could not help but notice the elderly couples that were eagerly part of the throng…in anticipation of being a part of history.
I was struck with the new University Chancellor’s accessibility and kindness and concern. He invites all that he meets to address him by his first name. Now that may not seem extraordinary to you…but it is of note in a hierarchal University setting.
Leading the Housekeeping staff had always been a joy and a challenge, especially during large events…that were expected to come off without a hitch. As the years had progressed and our department had lost more and more staff due to budget reductions…I had cautioned University Leaders that the day would come that we would not be able to address emergency situations.
When it became clear that the cloud covered sky was going to obstruct the view of our many assembled guests…a homeless woman…who was unkempt and dirty and dressed in rags…asked me for a bottle of water.
At the time of her request I was addressing the concerns of several disgruntled and hot and ill people. I wondered, what is this poor homeless woman doing here…I am sure that she did not have the money to purchase a ticket…and what else can go wrong!
The woman explained that she was thirsty and that she had traveled a very long way to observe the Eclipse and that the importance of this day, to her, was immeasurable.
I quickly walked over to a bottled water vendor and purchased her two bottles of water, at four dollars apiece, and brought them back to her.
As she drank…I asked her what her name was and she replied, Mary. She went on to say that this day had importance…on the Great Clock of the Universe…and I just listened.
I told Mary that it seemed that many of our guests would be disappointed because it appeared that the cloud cover would obscure the Totality of the Eclipse…and she smiled.
Mary said that it would be better if the clouds would roll away.
As I looked away from Mary…the sky was suddenly…cloud free.
When I looked back…Mary was gone.
‘Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angles unawares.’ Hebrews 13:1 KJV