We are all on a journey. A road, full of delays, dead ends. With bright and beautiful views and storm clouds and darkness too. It seems somewhere along the way I took a wrong turn which led me somewhere I didn’t want to go. Now I am just trying to find my way back, so, I keep on driving and keep on searching. This is my journey.

It wasn’t always this way. I was a good man once, a father, a husband. But I lost the woman I loved and I have myself to blame. And ever since it’s been hard to keep going. To keep a job. So, the foster team came and took my daughter away. And now I am a man in despair. Desperation makes you do funny things. I told him I wouldn’t transport drugs, he said, “don’t ask, don’t tell”. It was a simple job, just drive that truck. Rain, hail or shine, straight through. Those are their orders. But what was I carrying? Who was I meeting? These questions haunted me. I started hearing things, seeing things. I knew something wasn’t right and then it happened. And I never even saw it coming.

It was a straight road, all deserted. I was exhausted with the thought of hauling miles. The cool breeze forced me to take a nap. I pulled the truck off the road and reached the carriage of the truck to find some place to stretch. I heard someone sobbing. The faint sound of sobbing, it seemed to be a girl and the sound came from inside the carriage. I pull open the carriage to find 2 girls in their early twenties holding each other in fear and despair. The surrounding around them was filthy and was stinking. One of the girls warned me in her own language, maybe she was speaking Spanish. I was freaked out, and tried to collect my senses and asked them to relax. I kept asking them, how did they reach here, and since how long have they been stuck in here. The silence and fear in the other girl’s eye made me keep low. I assured them that I was not a danger to them. After helping them get out of the carriage and making them sit comfortably beside me in the front of the truck, we headed to a local store to get them in good shape. I could see they were shivering. While I was taking off my pull-over, she sensed danger and warned me again, I asked her to relax and handed the pull over to cover herself up. I tried to communicate in her language, “It will help keep you Fuego“. She smiled and repeated the word Fuego in a correct accent than I did. The other girl who looked younger said, “Gracias” and I replied,”No problemo“. I said I am going to refill the gas, till then they could freshen up in el bano. They understood and nodded with a smile. I warned them to keep their mouth shut, no talking to anyone, they agreed. We entered the shop and bought some new clothes to put on. I asked them to quickly change and get back to the truck. They obediently followed my words. They came out of the restroom dressed up in the new dress. An aged man held the hand of the younger girl and forced himself on her and asked who was she with, and she pointed her finger towards me. I held him through his collar and separated him away and rushed out of the shop, boarded the truck and set off to the destination. Late in the evening, I pulled the truck into a diner. The lady with a notepad appeared before us, and the two girls very fluently spoke their orders out, 2 Cheese Burger & 2 French Fries. I was speechless, I turned to them and said,”This entire time you knew English and you chose to keep quiet“. She said, “I have heard of the people here and thought it would not be safe, so I spoke Spanish. By the way, we are from Tenancingo in Mexico. Our father owed some local man some money, so we are here to work for him and pay the debt. We want to work as a waitress to pay the debt. My name is Antonia & she is Maria.” Maria quickly introduced her dream to be a singer and she wanted to be like Taylor Swift, she asked whether I like Taylor Swift. I said no, but my daughter likes her. Antonia was happy to know that I was a man with a family. She said that she was happy for me to have a family. I told them about my wife and her death, and my daughter being under the foster care of my mom. The only relief that my daughter is in safe hands.

We set ourselves on the way to the destination. I had this tattoo on my hand which Antonia read it out loud, “Let all you do be done in love“. I said that’s a reminder. She pulled out her chain with Jesus and said, I have a reminder too, a similar message. I did not agree with her statement and said I don’t know. She asked if I believed in him, I said I lost the belief since my wife passed away and my daughter was snatched away from me. I did go knocking a few times at his door, turned out no one was home, so I leave him alone, and he leaves me alone too. Antonia turned her face away and said, It makes me feel sad, sad because you think you are alone. No one is alone, not even your daughter. She has you, even when she can not see you, she again pulled out the chain and continued, it is the same with him, he is with us. I will pray for you and your daughter. I thanked her and she smiled. The sky was clear and stars were dazzling, they shone so brightly in that dark night and below that dark sky was the glittering city lights. I pulled the truck aside, and we stood out there looking at the beauty of nature. Antonia said I am a daughter who misses her father, and I see a father who misses his daughter…You are a good man James. I said to myself I am trying…

********Priceless E02 on 12th May********

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One thought on “PRICELESS

  1. Impressive…Nice one…. man or the story teller. .can I have some short stories from u which says the untold or the angle..which was not..explored before

    Liked by 1 person

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