She Looked Back

There was a long line of vehicles; the wait was like forever. The entire day stood still as the rains kept pouring. The wind was angrier by the minute. Everyone was confused. Murmurs became louder. Food from the snackbar became the tension reliever.

“When is the barge coming?” This question was asked by anyone to anyone. No one knew the answer.

The unclear blare from a megaphone quieted everyone. “What did it say?” No one understood completely.

But who could give the right answer when everything beyond the port was dark. Not one knew what was behind that silhouette of dark clouds and pouring rain.

Everyone was praying. Rosaries were out from the bags and pockets. The murmurs stopped. Time stood still. It was time to pray.

As though prayers were answered, the sound of the barge came through the walls and glass windows. “The barge is here!” Everyone started to yell. As if on cue, everyone stood up, pushed one another to get to the line.

“First come First Serve,” said the Port Manager. “Do not panic; we are not boarding, yet,” he continued. Then he told everyone that not all could be accommodated; only a handful. Everyone started to murmur. Many complained. The crowd became a throng of angry people. They pushed and they pushed. Just minutes ago they were praying. But they could not be stopped.

The Port Manager left and the crowd hushed.

“We are now boarding those with Ticket numbers 1 to 150,” came the loud announcement. Everyone looked into their tickets. Then hands started to be raised. “What about us? When will we board?”

The Port Manager let off a loud and heavy sigh. He shouted at the top of his voice saying, “Is it our fault that there is a storm? Did we make the storm happen? Am I a God who can calm the storm? You better continue praying instead of complaining.” The Port Manager let of his heaviest sigh; a disgust of the crowd.

So the first one hundred fifty passengers got into the line. Nenita was one of them. She was going home with her children. Nenita had mixed feelings. She was happy that she could take her children home. But she was terrified to ride the barge in the storm. She held on to her children as she continued to pray. “Lord, please ride with us in this storm,” Nenita kept repeating this prayer in her heart.

It was dark out there in the sea. The waves pounded on the walls of the barge. Everyone screamed at every beating of the waters. Everyone got hold of life jackets. “Mother, we do not have life jackets. There is none left,” said the youngest child of Nenita. “It is okay, my child, let us just sit down and pray,” Nenita courageously pacified her son.

But the storm grew worse. The barge seemed like it was giving up. The sound of steel cracking at the beating of each wave sent chills and cries to the passengers.

Nenita, shyly stood up and said, “Dear friends, is it alright with all of you if we start praying in unison?” Then wide-eyed stares looked at Nenita. One Mother shouted, “Yes, let us pray as one.”

So Nenita led the prayer of the faithful ones. Each prayer was answered by the sound of the waves and the wind. “Let us pray louder than the winds,” said Nenita.

And they prayed.

It was a miracle that the barge arrived safely at its destination. It was a strong storm. When the barge docked at the port, people were again pushing against each other. Everyone wanted to be the first to get out of the barge.

Nenita and her children remained seated. They were still praying; thanking the Lord for answering their prayers. As almost everyone had left, Nenita told her children that it was also time for them to disembark.

And one woman came back. She said, “Thank you for leading us in prayer. We are home.” Nenita smiled and replied, “Thank God for the miracle.”