True to his daily routine, Baxter left his lonely home early in the morning to walk the few blocks to the local bus stop. Upon arriving at the bus stop, Baxter took a seat on the covered bench to await the bus.
After a couple of minutes, a little girl came along and sat to Baxter’s right. The little girl asked, “Will this bus take me to Los Angeles?”
Baxter chuckled and replied, “Oh, no, this is just a local bus, you need a much different bus to get to Los Angeles.”
“Oh,” said the little girl, “where do I go to get the bus to Los Angeles?”
“Well, I’m not sure,” offered Baxter. “Los Angeles is a long ways from here. You would need to catch a Greyhound Bus or a Trailways Bus a something like that. I’m not sure where you catch those around here. I guess you would have to go into the city to do that.”
“Why,” asked Baxter, “what’s in Los Angeles?”
“My Dad,” said the little girl, “I am going to go live with him.”
“Oh,” responded Baxter, “who do you live with here?
“My Mom,” answered the little girl, “but I don’t think she wants me to live with her any more?”
“And, why’s that,” asked Baxter.
“We had a fight last night and some of the things she said made me think I should move to my Dad’s”
“Oh, well,” said Baxter, “sometimes when people get mad or angry they can say some awful things that they don’t really mean.”
“Yeah, but it’s not just that,” replied the little girl, “I said some pretty awful things, too. I made her cry and I am not sure she can still love me after the things I said to her.”
“And, did you really mean those things,” asked Baxter.
“Well, not really, but we were yelling at each other and the words just came out.”
“How old are you,” Baxter asked.
“Have you loved your mom ever since you were born,” Baxter continued.
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“Well, one bad fight doesn’t wipe out ten long years of love,” Baxter said, “I am sure your mother still loves you and knows that you still love her, too,” said Baxter.
“How do you know that,” asked the little girl, “’I never told her I love her.”
“Oh,” said Baxter, “the people who love you … they know. They always know.”
“What is your name,” Baxter asked the little girl.
This response brought a smile to Baxter’s face.
“What,” asked the little girl, “is that a funny name?”
“No, not at all,” responded Baxter. “My wife’s name was Ginny. Virginia, really, but everyone called her Ginny.”
“Where is she,” asked the little girl.
“Oh, my wife died about ten years ago,” replied Baxter.
“I’m sorry. How did she die?”
“It was a car accident,” Baxter said.
“Were you in the car, too?”
“No, I was not. I was at home.”
“Why? Why weren’t you in the car with her,” asked the little girl.
“Well,” started Baxter, “it just so happens that we had one of those fights that day. We said some pretty awful things to each other and she needed to get away from me for a while, so, she drove off to go see a friend and she got into an accident along the way.”
The hurtful memory brought a tear to Baxter’s eye.
“And you’re still sad,” asked the little girl.
“Yes. I never got the chance to tell her I was sorry and didn’t mean the things I said,” replied Baxter.
The girl looked at Baxter for a second and then said, “Mister? Do you believe what you just told me? One bad fight doesn’t wipe out all the years of love. If you loved each other … she knows. That’s what you said; the ones who love you … they always know.”
Baxter could only wipe away the tears from his eyes.
At this time an older woman arrived and sat down to Baxter’s left. “Good morning,” she said.
“Good morning,” said Baxter, as cheerfully as he could manage.
“Who are you talking to,” asked the older woman.
“This little ten year old girl,” said Baxter.
The old woman leaned forward and looked around Baxter to the other end of the bench. She then leaned back and said, “You know there’s nobody there, right?”
“Yup,” sniffled Baxter.
“But, you said you were talking to a ten year old girl,” continued the woman.
“Yup,” said Baxter, “my wife.”
“You wife,” exclaimed the woman, “you are married to a ten year old girl?”
“Yup,” replied Baxter, “for over thirty years. She just wanted to let me know, she knows.”
“I’m sorry,” said the older woman, “but I am a little confused.”
“That’s okay,” responded Baxter, “I no longer am.”
And with that, Baxter stood up and started walking back home with a much lighter weight upon his shoulders.