PRAYERS THROUGH TEARS
By John Thomas Tuft
Molly stands alone, her hand on the gate to a remote farm on a lonely road outside Lancaster, PA. Her journey is hard, her destination a hope. She grew up in New York. Her only claim to fame is that she had coffee in the high school cafeteria on Long Island with a fellow adolescent nerd named Jerry. His life would go one way, hers another. At 18, she’s fleeing, getting away from a home where an alcoholic father ruled with an iron fist. Now, in the middle of the night, she is desperate for safe dwelling, aching to be found, tired of wilting under withering scorn. So she finds herself in the land of the Plain People, a world away from the frenetic fashionable fables of the city that never sleeps. She lifts her eyes to the sable sky awash with the endless lights of ancient myths.
Prayers through tears reflect the stars.
Molly stares out the window at the approaching storm, her fingers gently smoothing the rough fabric of her simple broadcloth smock. Now 33, it is her uniform, her badge of belonging. When she’s out on the streets of Manhattan strangers stop to stare, silently questioning her standards, soliloquies of disbelief. In the background a television blares the inanities of Jerry’s show about nothing. She turns back to the figure on the bed. Her best friend, Robert, struggles for breath. His body is covered with lesions. He is dying with AIDS. Everyone is terrified. Everyone. She sponges his forehead for the hundredth time that day. She holds him close as he slips away.
Prayers through tears marinate the soul.
Molly sits at the table, watching the conferees gather for instructions on hoping dreams into print. She’s changed from her gray smock to the simple blue one on this occasion. Her right hand is gently caressing her belly. She turns to her aspiring writer friend and whispers, “I’m not supposed to be pregnant at 44. The doctor says there a real chance for problems with it. I don’t know what to do. James works so hard to keep the farm going. He won’t talk about it. It’s all on me.” Her friend takes her by the hand, walks her past hotel windows aglow with the harsh light of Jerry’s final episode. They stand at the very Point of land where two rivers end and a mightier one begins.
Prayers through tears flow unimpeded.
Molly lies on the damp grass remembering the birth of her Sarah. The features of Down’s syndrome came as no surprise. The end of the marriage came as no surprise. Will the end of hope be far behind, she idly wonders without conviction. She is by herself in upstate New York living a life of simple sustained searching. Jerry is in cars getting coffee…on television. Twenty years come and go in a blink. Tell me again, what begins at 64, she wonders. She sits up, brushes the dew from her jeans, and offers the night breeze the psalm of Mary Chapin Carpenter:
Some people remember the first time/ Some can’t forget the last/ Some just select what they want to from the past…./ Come on, come on, its getting late now/ Come on come on, take my hand/ Come on come on, you just have to whisper/ Come on come on, I will understand…
Prayers through tears find their faith in songs.
Words are magic and writers are wizards.