By the time Hanna gets home from her work at the post office, she’s ready to be a nun. By then, she needs a gentler, more cloistered, even renunciate type of lifestyle.
“Our home should be our sacred retreat,” she said to Darcy, her fifteen year old daughter. “When we come here, we need to feel we’ve reached safe ground, home ground. We need to be welcomed, or at least acknowledged. It’s like we’ve just returned home from the wars.”
“Yea, right,” Darcy said. “Was just watching my shows, mom. So what’s the big deal? That I didn’t call upstairs, hi mom? Welcome home?”
“Yea. I guess that’s it. When you don’t interrupt your media for even a minute, what it means is that Everybody Loves Raymond, or whatever you were watching…”
“Okay, what it means is that you’ve decided that Real Killers is more important than real people. Flesh and blood people.”
“Okay, okay, mom,“ Darcy said. “I admit you’re real. But Real Killers, you yourself have to admit, can be a lot more interesting than a mom you see every day.”
Hanna laughed. “Yes, probably. Though it might depend on how hungry you are.”
“How hungry? What do you mean?“
“Well, let’s pretend you hadn’t eaten in three days, and I just came home with a slab of bacon and a loaf of bread.”
“I was eating a burrito when you came in.”
“Yes, I know, but if you hadn’t been eating a burrito, and you were real hungry, then you’d be happy to see me, right?”
“Okay. I’m happy to see you, mom. Welcome home from the wars. Thanks for bringing home the bacon. Now will you turn the TV back on?”
“Sure. Be happy to.”
“You’re weird, you know that, mom?”
“Yes, child, I do.”
“Ok. Can I get back to my program now?”
“Yes, you can. I will pray for the good guys to win.”
“That’s weird, mom,” Darcy said as she went back down stairs and Hanna went back out to the garage and flipped the breaker switch back to ‘on.’ From that day forward, Darcy yells, “Hi mom. Thanks for being home from the wars. Please don’t flip the breaker switch.”
It makes Hanna smile, just to hear it. Hanna answers Darcy kindly, then goes upstairs and changes into her at home clothes, her habit, pleased with her young nun in training downstairs. Nuns do have their loving, training rituals.
© 2019, Bear Gebhardt
BEAR GEBHARDT is a librarian at the New Buddhist Methodist Church, living in the foothills of northern Colorado, with wife of a hundred years. He’s been a free-lance writer for many decades and published eleven books, two of the latest being: A Wave of Thanks; Other Human Gestures: 31 Quick Stories; and How to Stop Smoking in One Easy Second, A Heart Mountain Monastery Murder Mystery. He’s published hundreds of articles, stories, essays and poems in well-known, somewhat-known and little-known places.