To Amos Oz
She lay barren in the night…hopelessly calling unto death.
She lay listless, hoping to seduce death into believing, she was ready.
Then suddenly, she got hungry.
Mary was that way. Her wick was short…both for patience, for focus, for desire. During the day she was a patient at Londonberry Psychiatric Home. At night, she lit her wick and just for a flicker, she was brilliant.
She got up and walked over to the small refrigerator in her dorm. As she opened its door, light flooded in and lit the shadows all around her. She was accustomed to them as she walked in darkness, being born under the moon´s shadow. She reached in for the left-over hot-dog, she had started eating, earlier.
She hurried the door shut. Mary was reluctant to light. Her slight figure was more elegant at night. She was a shy and somber young lady…At daytime, just a profile. At night an enticing black hole.
She went back to bed.. and continued bemusing the fact that she had so much to give..but no one to give it to, and chewed her tough hot dog.
Her ideas were so short that despite their depth, despite their intensity and fathomless desire, they seemed trifle. But her life was built on those fleeting moments…on the broken pieces of her shattered light…that glittered every now and then.
Replenished, she stretched and spread her wings. She only unraveled them, under the shelter of the night. She actually sat up and expanded her chest, as she unfolded the weight on her shoulders. She was majestic as she cast her shadow under the moonlight.
Where would she go, tonight?
She took a deep breath as she inhaled a hail Mary, invoking wind under her wings..
Whom would she love tonight?
“I’ll just trust the silent call that beckons”..she thought to herself, as she actually stood on the window sill, preparing to let go.
Love is a type of madness. Letting go like that, fearlessly trusting the gaping abyss of all, unknown. It requires generosity to take the leap. But Mary was fearless that way. She felt she had nothing to lose.
Every night she would go through this ritual before flying off to someone in need. It was much more than prayer.
Tonight, she envisioned a nearby hospital. She flew in the pediatric ward´s window and hovered over the sleeping children. One was awake. He was a seven-year old with severe burns.
“What happened, baby?” she asked tenderly as she flew down by his bedside…
The little boy just stared. He seemed to have been expecting the visit, but was heartless. He had been playing with his brother as they prepared festive fireworks for the town’s patron saint. They went off in his face. They also reached his heart because he felt nothing. No fear. No excitement. No expectations. No hope. No pain.
He too, wanted to die…but he didn´t know it, she felt.
They didn´t have to exchange words. The shared memory was gruesome, enough. She took him in her arms and cradled him in her wings. Suddenly she began to sing. The notes echoed from heavenly orbs moving to destiny’s partiture. Every stave had a tune, deep in rhythmic repetition. It seemed almost like a soothing mantra, rocking the boy to sleep.
She prayed down ointment as she sang, endearingly spreading it to soothe his wounds.
She enveloped him in her wings, all night. Then she placed him back on his pillow, listless.
Back in her bed, she curled up, tucking her wings ‘neath her covers, just in time, before the morning nurse walked in with her pills. Shadow-time.