Francine woke up and found she wasn’t alone. Across the room, on the other bed,
there was a girl with headphones on.
The sister had been asleep when they brought the girl in. She wanted to speak, but
her throat hurt and her mouth was dry. Soma, and chloral hydrate.
Sleep therapy, the doctor called it.
were times when Sister Francine felt like a frozen sky. Starless and black. Without end.
Your head will tell you no.
Let your heart answer yes.
Father Timothy’s words were embroidered in gold on her dreams.
girl took off her headphones, and held up a stuffed animal, a small brown bear.
is Bobo, she said, and gave him a kiss. Bobo’s been with me forever. You’ll have the room all to yourself now. I’m through with my tests.
put on her shoes and left, and took Bobo with her.
girl was open and friendly, and the sister wished she could have responded
in kind. The soma and chloral hydrate was supposed to be a sort of shock therapy.
were times when Sister Francine felt enveloped in cotton, and stared at the
back of her hands.
will tell you no. Let your heart answer yes.
Father Timothy’s words shined like a pearl in the sun.
She put her hand on the wall. It was seven steps to the doorway. From
there she could see into the dayroom.
TV was on, and it spat out the headlines like seeds. Aftermath. Tragedy. Caliber.
Pictures flew by like birds in a storm. Gurneys. Weeping. Parents and Christmas.
girl, giving a toy bear a kiss.
were days Father Timothy’s words were an all-white thousand-piece puzzle.
are times when a girl loves no one.