Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The doorbell rings and I freak out because it's 10am and I'm still in my pajamas, sleep crusties in my eyes (I'm sure), and hair all askew. I know this sounds horribly antisocial of me, but I don't usually answer the doorbell when it rings. This time, though, I assume it's a friend I'm half expecting to come pick up something. But he was supposed to text me first. I run around the house, getting the envelope I'm supposed to give him, checking the mirror again to be sure I don't look like a troll, and peek the door open.

There stands a woman, wearing a floral skirt and fuchsia blazer, pleasantly perfumed, apologetic for intruding. "Hi, I know you weren't expecting us," she begins with a light Latina accent--and she's the only person I can see. And while I stand there with the door open ten inches and blocking it with my legs so none of the cats run out, she presents me with a glossy bi-folded pamphlet describing that Jesus takes away the sins of the world and if I visit her church on the anniversary of his death, April 17, after sundown, they will answer why, for whom, and what it means for me, and she invites me to visit, finishing with "we don't take any collections, ever."

As I have listened to her voice and watched her hold the pamphlet open and point to the date and address, I know I won't remember exactly what she's saying, but I have a strange affection for her. I study her calf-length a-line skirt and her light brown hair and big brown eyes, her short unpolished fingernails, and I think she could have a couple kids nearing middle school, probably would make a good mom. I know she is doing her duty as a church member, and yet I sense that she wants to make this strange and intimate visit as painless as possible for her hostess. When she hands me the pamphlet and wishes me a good day, I smile and reply likewise, hoping she catches my sincerity.

I probably won't be showing up at her church, but she keeps returning to my thoughts. The idea occurs to me that I wish I could get to know her a little better--maybe I could have even invited her in for tea or coffee. As long as she could spend a few more minutes before knocking on the next door.

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