She looks like a little bird except I've never seen a tiny bird with such a grim look on its face. Yesterday I saw her on the far side of the big church, shoulders hunched under her familiar blue trench coat, blue paisley scarf wrapped around her hair so that only her pointy nose was visible from where I sat. Her familiar presence comforted me. Funny how that is. We might complain bitterly about the scowly neighbour three pews ahead of us and yet community is not truly community without all of us, not just the ones we take a shine to. How else would we get our rough edges rubbed off without people who rub us the wrong way?
The first time I noticed her, several years ago, I watched how she walked primly up to the altar after the Mass and firmly blew out the candles. I remember thinking to myself that she was a no nonsense kind of woman, the kind who might whack someone with her cane if necessary. Earlier, I had watched how she looked at the man beside her, looked the other away, took a second look, heaved a sigh that said, "oh, alright" and then gingerly held his hand during the Lord's prayer.
I wonder if she is as crotchety as she appears to be. I wonder if she is like my scary looking third grade teacher who had the highest of standards and had a heart of compassion. I wonder what her story is. What tragedies and consolations she has experienced in her life. We don't get to be who we are without there being a story, do we?