Last words & epigraphs
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In Ordinary Time
It was after Mass, and we were at Goldblatts: dad, like always, in Automotive, ma in Notions (looking for clothespins), and Marie in the artificial flower aisle. In Records, the elderly stockboy with the scrunched-up arm interrupted my reading of the liner notes for the new album by Maggie’s Farm with an annoying aphorism, muttered (as was his custom) seemingly off-handedly:
“‘Light reading dissipates the spirit, sullies faith, and makes the sacred wraith-like’.” As I moved away I heard him say, “What, you never heard o’ the sayings of St. Brave of the Champs-Elysées?”
“Today’s his feast day,” I sneered, remembering Father Nowak’s homily. But I knew I shouldn’t have answered, because he started after me:
“Hey, wait—you and your little sister still fightin’ over which group is better, Chicago or Bread?”
“Nah,” I said. “We settled.”
He wanted to know on what, but I was already out of earshot, halfway up
a flight of stairs and pausing to observe how the late afternoon sun through
the dusty landing window seemed like a presentiment of something, although
of what I couldn’t be certain. It felt like a glimpse of eternity,
but I didn’t want to indulge that fantasy, especially after what
Father Nowak had said in his homily.
From today, things are forever changed, I told myself as I walked out of Goldblatts into the mass of Sunday shoppers, pushcart touts, and promenaders. Today—the feast day of St. Brave, the first Sunday in ordinary time, as Father Nowak said. I felt like ma felt that time Marie fell in the sewer and got carried off to Bubbly Creek:
“Well, at least I won’t have to get up in the morning. It’s like I could be dead.”