Perfect TimingBy: Brenda Jackson
To the love of my life, Gerald Jackson, Sr. and to my sons, Gerald Jackson, Jr. and Brandon Jackson.
To all those who attended the 1971 Class of William Raines High School 30-Year Class Reunion Cruise aboard the Carnival Jubilee. Thanks for the wonderful memories and all the fun.
To Sheryl Muraca of Cruises and Tours Unlimited, Jacksonville, Florida. Thanks for making our 30-year class reunion cruise to the western Caribbean so memorable.
To a very special little girl, Mya Ki’Shae Sheppard.
To an avid reader and friend, Brenda Woodbury.
To fellow authors, Carla Fredd, Maggie Ferguson, Francis Ray, and Rochelle Alers. Thanks for listening to my plot and providing your feedback.
To Denise Coleman and Pat Sams. The beginning of our friendship was definitely perfect timing. Thanks for giving me sistah love and support when I needed it most.
To Randy and Andrea Watts, Terry and Dawn Johnson, Daryl and Tonya Knox, and Ben and Nina Davenport. I couldn’t resist because you’re all very loving couples.
To my Heavenly Father. I’m everything I am because you love me.
“Why are you so sad?” Seven-year-old Maxine Chandler pushed the long braids covering her head away from her eyes to get a better look at the girl sitting alone watching the other kids play. Just that morning the teacher had introduced her as Mya and said she was new at school and had moved to town from someplace where it snowed all the time. Maxine wondered if the reason she looked sad was because she was missing the snow.
“I want my mommy and daddy,” the little girl answered in a voice that sounded like she was about to cry.
“Where are they?” Maxine asked curiously, feeling herself about to cry too, although she didn’t know why.
“They went to heaven and left me behind. Now I have to stay with my granny,” the little girl answered.
Maxine nodded as she looked down at the girl thoughtfully. She shoved her hands into the deep pockets on her dress and asked. “Don’t you like your granny? I like mine.”
The question made the little girl lift her head up and push her chin out. “I like my granny just fine, but sometimes I miss my mommy and daddy awfully bad. I get lonely.”
Maxine nodded knowing that if her parents went away she would miss them too. She suddenly felt really bad inside. “Do you want me to sit with you for a while so you won’t be lonely?”
Mya looked up at Maxine then after a short while she scooted over. “If you want to.”
Maxine sat down on the bench next to Mya. Silently they watched the other kids in the schoolyard who were running around having fun. After a while Maxine said. “I’ll share my parents with you. My momma said my daddy always wanted another child.”
“You’re the only one?”
“So was I,” Mya said softly.
Neither said another word for the longest time. Then Maxine asked. “Well, do you want to be my parents’ other child or not?”
Mya thought about Maxine’s offer. “Does that mean I’ll have to leave my granny and come live with you?”
Maxine pondered Mya’s question then answered. “Yes, more than likely you’ll have to live at my house. My daddy says he only feeds what’s living under his roof, so you’ll have to come live with us if you want to eat.”
Mya tossed Maxine’s words around in her mind. Blinking away more tears she looked at her. “But I don’t want to leave my granny. She needs me now that my mommy and daddy are gone.”
Maxine nodded. “All right, but if you change your mind let me know. But we can be friends can’t we?”
Mya wiped away her tears and smiled. She was glad she didn’t have to leave her granny and go live with someone else for now. “Yes, we can be friends.”
Mya’s smile widened. “Yes, the very best. For the rest of our lives.”
Maxine scrambled to her feet and reached out her hand to her new best friend. “Come on, let’s go play.”
Evelyn Jerott, the girls’ teacher, watched as they rushed off with their long braids flying in the wind behind them. Standing not far away while watching the other kids in her care, she had overheard the two little girls’ conversation. She smiled. Maxine Chandler’s approach to Mya Ross had been perfect timing. Evelyn had been concerned whether Mya would sit by herself all day or whether she would eventually mingle with the other kids. Mya’s grandmother had explained the situation to her that morning regarding Mya’s parents’ death in a car accident. Her heart had gone out to the little girl but now she had a feeling she would be okay. Mya was laughing and running around with a new friend.