a Magazine for Writers
By Tina Portelli

Rhonda Miller walks to school every day alone. She knows not to talk to strangers or to walk too close to the curb, and avoids walking close to doorways.  She knows never to talk to strangers. Her mother would walk her to school, but she has to leave for work across town too early in the morning, and it’s only six blocks to the school. The father can’t walk her because he skipped out on her and her mother when Rhonda was four
months old.

So it’s just the two of them, mother and daughter, looking out for each other. An observer of the two might think that Rhonda, twelve, was the mother in this relationship. She is the one with the most common sense.  She is street smart. Clarissa usually dates losers and Rhonda is very observant of her mother’s choices.  She will scold her like a child after meeting one of her dates, pointing out that a man without a job is someone they don’t need in their life.  Or, that finding cigarette butts under the couch left by the evenings guest  is not someone she wants in their apartment.  But Clarissa knows that she would never become serious about any of these men. They are only there to fill her lonely nights  until Mr. Right comes along.  Her daughter is not so sure about that.

On a windy day in Spring, on her usual school route, Rhonda starts to feel dizzy.   The Lower East side of New York is not always safe, but she has to stop and sit.

Rhonda is sorry she talked her mother out of getting her a cell phone. Always the role of the little Mom, choosing not to be extravagant.   But now she regrets it, for at this moment  she really needs her mother. Sitting at a curbside, head in hands, trying to shake off this feeling, sweat beading her forehead, Rhonda was not aware of the man looking at her from across the street.

A few moments later, this gentleman approached her and asked if she needed help.  Rhonda’s immediate instinct was to say no, but she was really feeling ill, stomach cramps, dizziness, and the man looked normal enough, clean shaven and neat.  Knowing she’d be taking a chance, she said yes anyway. She was too ill to think about other options. Would he please walk her the rest of the way to school, just three short blocks. He was happy to help her and delivered her safely to the nurses office at her school without incident.  She thanked him,  he wished her well and he left without further

It was her appendix, Rhonda was transported immediately from the nurses office to the emergency room at Downtown Beekman for emergency surgery. When Clarissa was notified at work, she rushed to be with her daughter.  A few days later, Rhonda told Clarissa about the man who helped her.  Clarissa was at first very angry with her daughter for taking a chance with this stranger.  “But you do it all the time, taking chances with strangers” was Rhonda’s response.  Her mother knew she was right.  What was the difference?

It was two months later as Rhonda walked through Little Italy arm laced through her mothers that she spotted the stranger.  “There he is! The man who took me to school.”  She ran across the street, not even checking for traffic, to catch up to this gentleman.  Her mother, steps behind her, and out of breath, spilled words of thanks to the stranger.

“Thank you so much for assisting my daughter, she was very luck to get to the hospital when she did.  And luckier that  you weren’t crazy or criminal. Had it not been for you, she may not have made it in time.  How can I thank you? The man smiled and said, “Coffee would work.”

So the three of them headed toward Starbucks.  His name was Roger and he was a chef at Manga in New York’s Little Italy.   He was single, didn’t smoke and was employed. That was good enough for Rhonda.  Her hero was handsome as well, and that was good enough for her Mother.  And so a new friendship bloomed. Then a romance.  And finally they became a family.

By needing him then and meeting him now, Rhonda had found Mr. Right for her Mother.

Tina says, "I am 54, single and live in Brooklyn, NY.  I work in Manhattan as a full time office manager.  My writing is a newly found passionate hobby. I get my ideas from personal experiences and the adventures of family and friends.  I have never taken a writing class, but three years ago I started practicing meditation.   I attribute my newfound passion of writing to that practice, meditation gave me a clear and open mind.  No better friend than the soul of my pen." tportelli@powerbond.com