Why is it some memories stay with you?
We had a business conference. Jackie and I had left the evening meal early to get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow would be filled with number crunching presentations making up the exhausting 8 hour day.
Everyone’s experienced the loss of mobile phone battery, and, as we were half way back to the hotel Google maps was no more. My phone beeps before turning itself into nothing but a black screen. It was 10.30pm. We were in the middle of Birmingham. We had no idea where, or how, we could get back.
Jackie was probably the most anxious person you’d ever meet. Imagine a middle aged woman throwing a tantrum in the middle of a dimly lit Birmingham street. Then multiply that by ten and you’d have a good image of what I was having to face.
But, luckily for the both of us I don’t suffer with the same type of worry. We had to rely on the public for help.
The eye opening truth is, no one communicates any more. We walk past each other, heads down, with a concerned look over our faces as we hurry through the streets. I realised this, more so, on this night.
I approached a couple.
‘Sorry, do you live here?’ I asked. I was offered a yes and as I started to explain our predicament the frowned brow and concern drifted from the locals faces.
They couldn’t help, but it allowed me the confidence to soldier on, Jackie in tow, cursing and berating me for my approach in getting us to the hotel.
It was when we hit a spot for the homeless people of Birmingham that had her, literally, stomping her feet. But it is also the memory of which I hold so greatly with respect.
‘Our hotel is by the Bullring, could you please point me in the direction?’ I asked, as I, once again, explained our situation. A man, appearing like half my height, shrunken in his wrinkly skin, and a cough rumbling through his chest, spoke.
‘You’re nearly there,’ he replied and pulled at my arm. Jackie on the other, clawing for dear life. ‘Look, see,’ he pointed to a light which illuminated the top of the Bullring.
‘Ah brilliant,’ I said and tapped his hand that rested on my arm. ‘I hope the cold stays away tonight,’ I offered and he smiled.
There was a round of goodbyes as I thanked them and we went on our way.
‘We could have been mugged, I can’t believe you made us do that,’ Jackie rebuked as we made our way towards where we needed to be.
‘But we weren’t,’ I said as veered her forward.
We walked in silence. I could feel the frustration emanating off of her as we saw the blue strip of light that illuminated our hotel.
‘You see,’ I said as I pointed.
‘Oh thank god,’ she replied and hurried towards it.
I thought to myself, it’s not God you need to thank. I smiled at the memory of our saviour and followed her in.