She had been up since 3am, her mind behaving like a dog chasing it’s tail, how was she going to present the data to the corporation heads without putting the doctors on the block.
Her thoughts went round and round in a closed circle with no answers and no way out.
Finally exhausted with this mental merry go round with no conclusion, she gave up trying to sleep. It was 4 am,she got up, showered and put on what she deemed her corporate suit. A dark moss green pencil skirt that just hit the knees but not short enough to be tacky and not long enough to be frumpy. She took her freshly cleaned and starched white collared shirt and tucked it into her skirt, leaving the top two buttons open with a hint of clear white soft female flesh but no baring of the decolletage. She shrugged on her moss green jacket and picked up her pearls. She was going to need those to prevent the all male Board from treating her like a “gurl’ and know that though a woman she was a professional player in this team.
While applying the last vestiges of subtle makeup she glanced out of the window, it was still dark.
In the garage, her heels clicked like the knocking of a steel hammer in the silence of the night and she slid into her sleek black BMW, and reversing it out of the driveway sped down the country road that would connect her to the Parkway which led to the medical school.
It was then she saw the lone figure, standing on the bike path. Her long dark gown partially covered with a parka and her head wrapped in a shawl like many muslim women she had seen on the internet.
For a moment the face of the woman lighted up from the screen of her phone at which she was staring and then raising her head to look down the road or so it seemed.
As she passed her she noticed a car parked on the opposite side of the road.
A lone muslim woman before the break of dawn in the deep south with a car on the opposite side which probably was broken down looking at her phone, maybe calling for help?
She drove on but a half a block down a voice inside her said “ you cant leave her standing there…….”
She had almost reached the right turn stop sign which would put her on the parkway to the medical school.
She braked hard to avoid getting on to the road leading to the parkway.
She made a sharp U turn and sped back to the lone figure.
the road was forlornly empty and being a country road had no street lights with only the silvery light of the moon which seemed to be playing hide and seek in the tall southern pines.
MEANWHILE ELSEWHERE IN A HOUSE NEARBY…..AT THE SAME TIME…
The alarm came on, it was at least an hour before the morning salah. She was determined that she was not going to miss this chance that occurs once in six hundred years. It was almost 4.30 am and it was time.
She looked at her long velvety dark brown long night gown which was quite worn out and had seen better days and hesitated going in the street with it, it was a bit ratty at the edges. and had golden embroidery at the shoulders which she had always thought tacky. Who cares at this time of the night, she said to herself all of the South is fast asleep.
She quickly put on her parka, covering her head quickly with a shawl and stepped into the cold garage. Thank God she had slipped on a pair of old sneakers , there was no time to look for socks. She forgot that she probably looked like a bag lady,she slid into her car and sped out of the subdivision in a hurry to find a good spot for the sighting.
Soon she was on the country road lined on one side with the bike path and tall southern pines on the other.
She found a soft grassy shoulder to park on the right side of the road and crossed over to the other side and stood on the bike path scanning the sky.
Not a soul was awake, there were no lights in any of the homes lining the road, there was no sound, the crickets had given up their night vigil and the morning birds had not yet gathered for their morning songs.
The bike path on which she had walked often in the past 20 years took on a sinister look. It was a ribbon bathed in moonlight lined by dark shadows which she knew from memory were the rhododendron bushes interspersed with old tall pines where the wisteria hung from them in the spring. There was nothing to be alarmed.
Suddenly the full moon appeared coming out from behind the trees and the clouds and shone directly at her……….She squinted to see if she could see it clearly but there was no sign of what she was looking for, she took her phone out and set the camera to maximum magnification to see if she could discern the shadow of the earth covering part of the moon……..
Suddenly a past superstition shot through her “ don’t do anything when there is an eclipse ….” She heard her Nanny advise her mother.
But this is not a solar eclipse she thought to herself, she herself was an eclipse baby with all superstitions coming true to touch her.
She again looked at the time, was it the right time, she googled the lunar eclipse, to confirm, if it was why didn’t she see it? She looked up when a dark car pulled up on the other side of the road….She stared at it mildly alarmed and wondered where she could run to if the person was a mugger, her years in NYC had set up an internal alarm system in her subconscious of unknown car drivers stopping for no reason.
“The drivers window came down silently. A woman with beautifully lush dark hair framing her face, which glowed with the reflected moonlight leaned out of the window. her white shirt open in the front and framed by her dark jacket looked like a luminous heart yearning to be free.
“ are you ok?” her clear but soft southern voice rang in the silence of the night.
The woman with the hijab crossed over, “ oh yes she said “ perplexed as to why this car driver would think she was not ok?
“ as if she read the mind of the woman in hijab, the woman in the car said” I saw you standing alone on the path and then I saw your car parked on the side….and I thought I can’t leave her standing there incase your care had broken down”
“ Ohhh said the woman with the hijab….. totally focused on her goal, she said ” I am looking for the lunar eclipse do you know what time it is supposed to be…?”
The woman in the car laughed with sheer relief at the comic situation.
“ I have no idea….. ” she said , “Take care” and she wheeled her car around and sped towards the medical school to face the sharks.
The woman in hijab on the bike path smiled, someone had genuinely cared about her, happiness sprinkling over her like fairy dust, the moon hid behind a cloud and she felt an angel had visited her.