Elizabeth Gilbert’s short story “The Finest Wife” features a woman bus driver who wakes one day to find not schoolchildren but past lovers waiting at each stop. When her final mate (her husband) steps on board, all the lovelorn cheer her rocky development. This closing tale in Gilbert’s debut collection, Pilgrims, gels a heretofore uncommon catalog of the writer’s labors and lessons learned to reveal a shared destination. Each of Gilbert’s characters shares an affinity for bad luck and bad relations, but they all manage to grow nonetheless. Gilbert has provided snapshots in a life that end up composing a new Pilgrim’s Progress. Experience it for yourself when Gilbert reads with Jeanne Wilmot at 5 p.m. at Chapters, 1512 K St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-5495. (Anthony Keats)