PINK NIGHT NAVIGATION
Lynn P. Penner
(about 500 words)
Thunk-fffwhip—thunk-fffwhip—thunk-fffwhip…. On the highest setting, the windshield wipers did not keep up to the deluge. Torrents of wind relentlessly bullied my van under the severely bruised, rolling autumn sky that night. I often avoid driving at night, because I feel vulnerable to blindness. I’m directionally challenged, too, so, throw me into a dark storm, and the heebie jeebies descend on my head.
The University of Western Ontario Campus in London seemed to be a city onto itself. The twists and turns of its unfamiliar-to-me roads within the area had been previously navigated in the late afternoon daylight when my fourteen-year-old daughter and I had arrived for her cheer leading competition finals. Afterwards, lingering after touring the university, we became aware of being the last to leave. The halls were empty and echoey.
Once outside, we fought to keep our balance against the feral, noisome wind and rainfall which was too much for the earth to gulp. The dark parking lot of the confusing campus grounds was desolate, foreboding. In a lot adjacent where I had parked, it looked as if two immense wet rocks crouched. It was most probable that these cars belonged to night cleaning staff. Immediately, I was panicked. I had counted on following someone out of the perplexing maze. We then realized the campus ground street lights were off as well.
Thoroughly soaked by the unexpected downpour, we jumped into the van to travel to our home, forty minuets away, probably longer in the storm. My headlights seemed to make little difference as I drove slowly. I was disorientated. At campus ground intersections, I guessed—a few times. I passed the immense ‘wet rocks’ more than once. Nerves, nerves. The main artery in London where I would regain my sense of direction to go home seemed unreachable. It was too dark. I felt claustrophobic.
We were lost and drowning in the inkiness of rain-pelted pavement. I lost all rational. My tension piqued and my molars were clamped to a grind. I panicked and cried out, “Please, God, help me! I can’t see. I’m freaking out—I hate being lost! Please make the rain stop so I can see!” My daughter joined me immediately, praying for a dry sky. Our voices blended together in our independent prayers as our vessel swayed in the brutal rain storm. But the bellies of the savage clouds continued dumping their contents… Thunk-ffwhip—thunk-fffwhip—thunk-ffwhip.
It was not the windshield wipers that cleared my view. It was the earnest, confident prayers of faith my daughter and I had uttered. His answer was a pink-lit pathway. Literally and immediately. From above, and all around us, a gentle pink light, the hue sometimes seen in the clouds at late dusk, lit the entire area. I was too awed to even say thank you, but my daughter was cheering. After a few moments of being speechless, I joined her to thank God for an unusual miracle, just for us. That beautiful pink-lit path stayed with us right up to the point where we entered the well-lit, main street to finish the voyage home.
Sometimes when it pours, the rain just stops. Had that happened that night, our answered prayers may have been an arguable coincidence, but this comforting pink light all the way to the main street? How can anyone explain that?
© L. P. Penner, 2000