Page 49

And I will be an aunt as well.” I tried again to kindle the hope that Maria Elena and Margaret would fulfill their duties where I wouldn’t. Mama inhaled deeply and laid another coil of pasta on the wax paper. She stood staring at me, waiting. I hadn’t realized I’d stopped cranking the press. We were having company, we’d need more spaghetti than this, but I let the thin strip of dough hang in the air. “I know you don’t get attention from the boys like Maria Elena, or even like Margaret, but you have other things to offer than beauty. You will make a good home, a good wife. Your father will find you someone . . .” “I don’t . . .” I interrupted, but fell short. What could I say? I couldn’t tell her that no man, not any man, could convince me to make a home with him. I couldn’t tell her what I’d finally understood, that the way I was supposed to feel for men—the way Maria Elena had felt for Daniel—was the way I felt for Jeannie. I couldn’t tell her I suspected Jeannie had felt it too. Nor, for that matter, could I tell that to Jeannie. So instead I offered, “I don’t understand, Agnes went to Saint Cecilia’s. Agnes is going to take her vows . . .” My mother shouted, “Agnes did not go to Saint Cecilia’s!” I’d never heard her shout before. “Is this what this is about? Is this about what happened to Agnes?” My mouth hung open. I didn’t know what she was saying. What had happened to Agnes? If she wasn’t at a convent, then where was she? I was too afraid now to ask. “No, I’m sorry. This just . . .” I hesitated, “feels right to me. Like Father Pilliad says, it’s like a calling. Every day, I just want to be closer to God. I want to learn His Word and bring His love into the world. I want to bring children into God’s care, Mama. I want to lead others away from sin. And if it doesn’t work out, I can help take care of you and Papa. I can help take care of all my nieces and nephews and our cousins’ children. I think this is my calling.” I said it again, because it sounded indisputable, whether it was true or not. My mother heaved a sigh, and took up my place turning the crank. Her eyes did not meet mine. “It sounds like you’ve made up your mind,” she said angrily. Kramer 39

Profile for Red Cedar Review

Red Cedar Review Vol. 54  

Red Cedar Review Vol. 54  

Advertisement