Wishful Thinking

Submitted into Contest #116 in response to: Write a story that centers around a parking permit.... view prompt

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Happy Friendship Inspirational

Greg and I had moved exactly one year after our daughter Esme was born to the perfect little seaside town about an hour outside of the city. Our house was a three bedroom, three bath cape style, light gray with black shutters and a beautiful magnolia tree in the backyard. The house on Birchwood Drive had everything on our check-list; a safe neighborhood, good school district, a fenced in back yard for our golden retriever Sam, low taxes, a two car garage, central air conditioning and a fireplace. I had always wanted a working fireplace. We did not however, ask our relator about the train station situation. It wasn’t until after our closing that one of the bank’s mortgage reps wished us luck getting a parking permit for the Eastport train station. He has been on the wait-list for three years and still nothing. His wife had been waking up at 5:30 every morning for the past three years to drive him to the train station in time to make the 5:50am train. 

“Do you think it will really take five years to get a parking permit?” Greg asked me on the ride home that day. “I really hope not”, but I knew it was wishful thinking. 

Our first month in the new house was great. Greg & I had both taken our two week summer vacations to move and settle into the house. My mother came to stay with us to help with Esme. Neighbors dropped off baked goods and welcomed us to the neighborhood. We started to inquire about what people in Eastport did for parking spots if they did not have a permit. Martha, our neighbor three doors down, laughed and told us she nearly got divorced over having to drive her husband to the train station every morning for years. When they finally got a permit it was like winning a golden ticket. She suggested we put our name on the wait-list as soon as possible and pray for a miracle. Since we would both be commuting into the city everyday, me to the magazine I wrote for and Greg to his dental practice in midtown, we needed a spot fast. 

My mother agreed to stay an extra two weeks and dropped us off at the station in time to make the 7:50 train every morning and picked us up from the 6:10 every evening with Esme in tow. Greg and I both knew this was a temporary solution to our permit problem. Without a parking permit we would either have to take a taxi to the train everyday roundtrip, or find a nice neighbor we could commute with. Unfortunately, none of our neighbors were even remotely on the same schedule as us. Most of them were rushing to make the 6:40 train every morning. Our nanny Alice did not have a driver’s license so she could not help us. And so, for the first month we took taxis to and from the station every weekday which proved to be unreliable, stressful and way over our monthly budget. We had to figure out a solution.

One Saturday morning I was up early with Esme when an envelope came through our front door’s mail slot. I peeked out to see who the messenger had been, but there wasn’t a person in sight. I opened the sealed envelope and found a shiny blue Eastport Parking Permit #3201 sticker inside. No note, no paperwork, nothing except the sticker. I grabbed Esme and ran upstairs to wake Greg up waiving the envelope in front of him. We could not believe our eyes, but who gave it to us, and why? “It must have been someone from the neighborhood” Greg said. “Someone who doesn’t want us paying them for the permit or feeling like we owe them something”. “Or someone who got the permit illegally” I said. “This is a free permit, not registered to our car and we cannot use it” I said. “We most certainly can and will use it Amy. Someone probably retired and they don’t need the sticker anymore” Greg yelled from the bathroom.

We had been using the parking permit happily for months and over time my feelings of guilt and concern lessened and I appreciated the parking spot close to the station house more and more, especially on rainy days. I still wondered daily who gave us the permit and why. It was one evening in December when Greg was meeting a friend for dinner in the city that I stepped off the train and saw it from the platform. Our car had a white envelope on the windshield. I braced myself for month’s of ticket violations, or a huge summons for an unlawful permit. Instead, I opened the envelope to find a neatly handwritten note, “This parking permit was given to you as a random act of kindness. It has been fully paid for and is yours to use until you no longer need it. I only ask that you pass it on to a deserving person, and they do the same. Happy parking!”. My eyes filled with tears. Maybe it was the long day I had, had or the realization that people do things just to be kind. 

I showed the note to Greg when he got home that night. We couldn’t believe the overwhelming kindness of a complete stranger and we immediately knew what we had to do. I had been given the opportunity to work from home for the magazine which meant I could now drop off and pick up Greg from the train station. I accepted the offer and over the following two weeks of my last commutes into the city I looked for the next deserving person. She was right there in front of us every morning pushing her son’s stroller up the ramp of the train station house. A single mother who did not have a parking permit so she parked her car five blocks away at a friend’s flower shop every morning. This spot in front of the train station house would be perfect for her, especially during the winter months. And so, we left the blue Eastport parking permit #3201 in an envelope on her windshield and watched her from our car as she wiped away happy tears. 

It has been five years since that random act of kindness changed our lives and in return, with the help and generosity of our community, we have been able to form a small non profit organization and purchase five parking permits that are given out to five deserving commuters every year, when they least expect it. We call ourselves “Project Wishful Thinking” and parking permits are just the beginning!

October 22, 2021 16:39

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6 comments

Kim Kelly Stamp
16:19 Feb 10, 2022

Love love love this story. Your writing is very believable and also very enjoyable. Thank you!

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Mercy Ineke
19:42 Nov 17, 2021

I enjoyed every bit of your story So fantastic

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Kari Larsen
18:48 Nov 29, 2021

Thank you so much! Kari

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09:24 Oct 27, 2021

I really love the ending part.Keep up the nice work.

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09:24 Oct 27, 2021

I really love the ending part.Keep up the nice work.

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Kari Larsen
11:42 Oct 28, 2021

Thank you so much!

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