Monday, November 9, 2009


Tuesday evening and she was grabbing her purse off the big chair and headed out the door for the five blocks to the church.  Her hair had grown long—longer than she might have thought appropriate for a grandmother, if you’d asked her six years ago.  But it didn’t matter much now, like so many other things.  Her husband might have worried about her on this walk—it was nearly five o’clock and deep into autumn, it would be dark by the time she made it to the church, and she was a woman alone—but they had resigned themselves to things, agreeing to forego the work of prediction.  

She walked along the brick pathway to the church’s back door—the only one kept unlocked this time of the day—and entered the basement.  The floors were white linoleum, but seemed speckled—it was the years of grime that the mop would never get.  To her left was the boxcar-like room that for nearly thirty years now had been used for Mother’s Day Out.  She’d brought her youngest child here each Wednesday and Friday for three years of his early life.  She could not look over there anymore, but out of the corner of her eye she saw the white of the crib bars, the room lit only slightly and with no one inside.  She didn't know if it was her real or her mind’s eye that saw the child-sized blue rocking chair in the middle of the room.  She climbed the dark staircase and knocked on the basement door that opened into the church sanctuary and waited for one of the other parents to unlock it.

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