|Image by Omid Armin: Visual Verse, Vol 7, Ch 4 HERE|
by Margaret Bednar
Mama gives the impression of self-confidence, head held high, eyes not so much friendly as acknowledging, head offering a slight nod to strangers and a hint of a smile to those she recognizes as daily commuters. I know it's hard for her as she misses her home country, struggles with the language barrier, the customs. I peddle beside her, backpack balanced upon rear bike rack, reciting answers to math facts and spelling words in which she quizzes me. I long to make this short journey to St. Mary's School myself, maybe join friends before and after school for a bit of rascality. Nothing harmful, mind you, just fun, for rarely do we have recess during the school day; that's for the little kids.
Middle school is a whole other ball game, at least according to Mama. She pours over my textbooks each evening, reveling far more than I in history and science, brow furrowed as she pursues upcoming chapters in math and English. Come morning, we are off early, slide into the pew minutes before Mass, dog-eared bible carefully removed from her bag, sometimes pinches me if I forget to genuflect or become side-tracked with people-watching. Reminds me "Holy is often about not what we do but what we don't", softening her words with her hand smoothing my cheek. I'm torn between being a bit embarrassed and wanting to snuggle into her side.
Rain or shine, the routine is the same. I suppose it's comforting, her presence an anchor as she is all I have; Father having left before I was born. I often wish she could wear beautiful clothes, look as nice as many of the ladies in church. But she says she likes her sensible wool hooded jacket, "Clean lines and neat never go out of style." In church I watch a pretty lady fidget with her broach, hair, twist her diamond ring back and forth; think it's a new way to pray the rosary. Mama gently nudges me, tells me to kneel straight. Notice Ms. Fancy Pants puts a dollar into the collection basket; Momma $20. Whisper, "Not fair!" Momma tells me "Worry about yourself!"
I think I'm beginning to understand "Holy". So I'll keep quiet, ponder "They aren't as dark as the others" for that's what I overheard two women whisper behind their hands as Momma and I walked by. But as I peddle home beside her, see her beautifully reflected against the bluest of skies, my heart sings as there is no one I'd rather be more like than my Momma.
This is submitted to: Visual Verse: An Anthology of Art and Words Write to the image no less than 50 words, no more than 500. I clock in at 427 words. Writing time: one hour or less.