For church I wore my Sunday uniform –
a lacy dress my grandmother made
puffed out with white tulle petticoats
that almost kissed my nose when I sat down
short white gloves
patent leather shoes
and ankle socks edged in lace.

As the bells called us to gather
I watched fathers guide mothers into pews,
a hand placed low on the back,
then the children filed in,
one by one,
sandwiched between two towers of love.

It made my heart ache
to see a father
share a hymnal with his daughter
pass a coin from his pocket
and let her drop it in the plate on her own.

I held my mother’s hand
as she found her own place to sit
away from the families, and the people,
who would frown at her
for being divorced.

I never thought about what it must have been like for her
seeing all those happy families
singing for their salvation.

I only thought about me.
It was always about me.

Each week
the service ended the same way.
I pretended to whisper The Lord’s Prayer
but really
I prayed a different prayer of my own.

My father, who isn’t here,
Tommy is your name.
When will you come?
When will you come?
When will you come?
for me?

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
All Rights Reserved