Round trip

Published 8:38 am Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In Richmond, sitting alone on the second floor of Mayfield Apartments, apartment 11, Laura’s fingers moved deftly over the miniature keyboard. She hit “send.”

Three states away, sitting five rows back in Professor Richard’s Russian History class, Jose’ Ricardo wondered why he was spending his time learning about a people half a world away that were now in their graves. Glancing at his phone, he digested the text message and forwarded it to Richie. The teacher had just entered into his favorite Russian era. “This brings us to the Bolshevik Revolution, which brought changes to….”

It was hot. And somehow being on the end of a shovel handle didn’t help matters. Richie and his crew were barely halfway through digging the foundation for what would one day be Hope Presbyterian Church in Lubbock, Texas. Standing two feet below ground level, he welcomed the break as his phone spoke that familiar ringtone. Glancing down, he comprehended, smiled, and forwarded it on as he glanced into the sky, wondering when a cloud might give them some temporary shade.

Becky had just settled into those old familiar thought patterns that seemed to creep in whenever she was alone. At 29, it appeared all her friends were either getting married or married. Here she was, somehow missing that most cherished institution of holy matrimony. How could that be?!! How could fate be so cruel to one so innocent, so lonely, so desperate?!! Driving down Highway 40 towards Las Vegas, Becky was jarred into the real world as she glanced down at her phone. It was from Richie. She read the message, smiled, and forwarded it. “Richie,” she thought. “Now there could be some interesting possibilities.”

In Los Angeles, glaring at the computer screen as she had the last the last 10 years, Becky’s mom was often admired for her competence. Organizational skills had long been her strength. Numbers, budgets and charts were second nature and the computer leveraged an already gifted mindset that was valued at Lassiter & Company. Whereas many her age had shunned technology, Charlotte had embraced it as she grasped its potential for efficiency. She glanced at the text from her daughter, smiled, and forwarded it on, as she bathed in that intoxicating feeling mothers experience when connecting with their daughters.

At the speed of light, the message headed east. It crossed Mt. Whitney, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon. Across the Rocky Mountains, the Texas Panhandle and the Mississippi River. Through Memphis and Nashville and over the Great Smoky Mountains towards a little apartment in Richmond, Virginia. Mayfield Apartments, Apartment 10. Janice read it and smiled.

In a matter of minutes, words made a grand journey across the country and back. And for six human beings, cocooned in their particular place, the world was a little smaller.