I missed my stop.
Only as the train pulled out of the station did I realize I was supposed to get off there. Surprisingly, I wasn’t paying attention, not because my head was buried in my phone (like it is often), but because the sky stole my focus.
Through the train window, I watched the sky stay consistent and vast as the world below it morphed from building to bridge to building. I was not in a neighborhood that I knew, but the unwavering blue welcomed me anyway. It was the kind of sky you would expect in late August, clear and high with so much sun that I could take off my sweater and only wear a thin-strapped tank top.
At the next stop, I got off to catch the next train going where the direction I had just come, and to get to that opposite tracks I needed to cross a sky bridge. Perched above the West side, I could see the cluster of buildings that made up downtown Chicago. Nothing else around me looked familiar and I wouldn’t know where to go if I exited the station, but the sky will still gloating. I had given myself enough time to get to my appointment and reveled in the extra few minutes to study the sky, as if it was a piece of acclaimed art.
That Cerulean blue – stiff yet comforting – reminded me of the sky in Lesotho and fetching water from a sometimes-working pump near my rondaval. Situated on a slight incline, waiting for a thin stream to fill my 25 gallon buckets, I looked out into the full sky, above the valley of rocks and trees below it. It held such promise, that sky. I’d think about my upcoming vacation, what I would accomplish that day, what I could be in the duration of my lifetime. It was as if the heavens were telling me that I was just fine and that I would be OK.
The sky in Lesotho was so captivating because I could specifically link it back to when I was a kid, sitting inside and watching TV on beautiful days. I remember wishing and wanting to be somewhere else – like on tire swing over a lake in a forest or on the boardwalk of a coastal town – and hoping that if I wished hard enough those dreams could come true. The sky I imagined in those dreams was the same one I saw in Lesotho, then in Chicago. Sometimes, I wish I could go back and tell that little girl not to worry so hard, because one day she would go to boardwalk cities, lakes in forests and rural villages in Africa.
My train arrived, but I could no longer watch the sky like a movie because the car was full of festival goers. Instead, I started thinking about being lost. I felt unsure about myself and my future during those summer days as a girl, then in Lesotho and even now. Actually, there are few times when I didn’t feel lost in my life. Once a friend told me that she has never felt lost, and I know she was saying it to make me feel better, but I got the sense that that meant there was something wrong with me. But, as I go through life, I see that many of us don’t know what we are doing. We make decisions and trust that it will lead to our true path, even if we don’t quite know what that is.
Eventually, I got to my appointment, the sky guiding me on a short walk alongside a busy road. The world above us is miraculous like that; we change, it changes, but it never abandons us. I arrived at my destination a bit later and not in the way I had originally intended, but that’s OK because I made it. I always make it.