Wednesday, February 23, 2005


We want to live where we will be seen, where people will recognize our faces and smile and nod at us as we pass. Perhaps we will be familiar to someone on the brick lined streets of Boston or the secret roads of Savannah, who knows?

We don't even know if we really want to be seen. It's simply less painful to be invisible in a new place, a place where no one knows us, than invisible in a place where we've lived for more than twenty years.

"Norah? Now, do you spell that with an 'h' or an 'a'?" She asks, perfect blonde ponytail bobbing slightly with the question. She runs the center and must appear professional at all times.

"With an 'h." It's not as though my family has been involved in this center for just under fifteen years.

"I'm Cindy!"

"Yes, I know. We've met before." Several times, in fact, over the last fifteen years.

"Oh, we have? I don't remember." She shakes her boot-clad foot and turns her attention to the mess of papers on her wooden desk.

"It's okay." I smooth back my flyaway waves.

"Alright." Cindy eyes me skeptically. She thinks I'm lying, believes, instead, that I've never actually set foot in the center before today, despite the fact that I've volunteered for two months, went through another month of training, and have been here many times over the years.

It hurts to be invisible. It's easy to tell myself that this one person does not matter, but it's not one person. It's the pastor at church who isn't quite sure he knows Daddy, despite the fact that they are knights together. He always calls him, "Hey!" We've been parishisoners since 1981. Clearly not long enough. The church was founded in 1979 afterall. We must have missed the boat.

Still, there are times, like this morning, when I stepped outside at 9:30 on a sunny winter (almost spring) day and felt all the other 9:30 in the mornings fill me up. I remember Easter mornings with egg hunts, my little fingers poking through the raspberry bushes, hoping to find the last egg so I can go in and eat some nice, soft waffles. At 9:30 this morning, I felt Thanksgiving and waking up to prepare bread in front of the fire. At 9:30 this morning, I felt all those summer days spent running barefoot through my backyard, with a history of dogs playing beside me, tails wagging in circles. I am filled with 9:30 in the morning.

9:30 would be hard to relinquish.

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