W A R D U N I
V E R S I T Y|
& Voices IV
AN ANTHOLOGY OF VERSE AND
"Inky," said my mother only half way visible through my heavy, sleep- hazed eyes. "Inky, where's your jacket?" When I finally realized that the force against my arm was my mother's nudging, I became even more disoriented. Why was Mama soaking wet? Why had she stopped the car? And what did she want with my brand new pink jacket?
I peered through the sheets of rain that now hammered onto our '88 Chrysler New Yorker. I noticed a woman's figure standing in the median of the interstate. She was holding some important bundle, which she held tightly against her chest. "Inky, your jacket, now!" Puzzled, I peeled off the bright new jacket, a birthday gift given to me just two days before. She quickly grabbed the jacket and darted to the middle of the interstate where the woman stood, shaking. My mother removed the bundle from the woman's arms and carefully wrapped it up in my new pink jacket. When I gained complete consciousness, I realized that Mama had stopped our voyage home that night to help another mother whose car had spun off of the highway's rain- slicked pavement. The bundle was the woman's seven month- old infant.
When Mama finally returned to the car, emerging through a clutter of emergency vehicles and flashing lights, she was drenched from head to toe. Her long dark hair had fallen from the French twist that she was sporting, and curly tendrils framed her glistening face. She resumed her seat behind the steering wheel. She smiled at me with a tired, relieved smile. "Ready, Bumpy?" she said to me, as if I had been the one bustling around on the treacherous interstate that night. I remember how beautiful she looked under the street light at that moment. Her face was luminous with a glow that seemed to radiate from within. It is my mother's beauty, at this moment, which I seek to attain in my life. It was a splendor that was beyond the physical, and seemed, for a second, to expose her soul.
I will never forget that dark, rainy night. My mother exhibited a natural beauty, not dressed up in pride or self- gratification. She helped that woman out of genuine concern. This experience with my mother lit a fire inside me that, today, encourages me to aid others whenever I can. As a seven-year-old, I felt powerless to make a difference in this world with its problems and concerns. Now that I am older, I am physically and mentally able to make a difference, and realize that there are so many small things that can make a positive impact in the lives of others. Compassion is one of the most important traits that my mother has given me, a trait that I consider far more beautiful than "good hair" or high cheekbones. She has given me the desire to, if just for a moment, experience and touch the life of another person. This is a gift that is more beautiful than any tangible item in the world, including bright new pink jackets.