It was a scorcher. One of those ovenbake summer days where you feel like you’re huffing fur.
I had decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood, and re-acclimate myself.
As I walked down the block my fingers, Pavlovian in religious memory, signed the cross every time I passed a Mary. Like a recursive pop art icon, she featured in just about every garden or yard—Mary, with her mantle and shawl, her grace-bearing arms, keeping pious vigil over the entire block.
In my younger angrier days, even after I had renounced and scorned my Catholic background and its leading man, Jesus, I never turned against Mary. I always had a spiritual thing for her. Perhaps it was the mantle and shawl. Perhaps it was the grace-bearing arms that seemed a runway toward lighted enclosure. Perhaps it was those doleful eyes that pierced your heart if you stared into them for too long. In that respect, Mary was like the sun. Except staring at the sun would make you dizzy and see dark spots and potentially go blind, while staring into Mary’s eyes hurt in a different way. They made you feel human. Ashamedly human.