The weary mother could find no rest. She had two young daughters, both of whom were wearing garments which were ripped and torn, and one of whom was crying incessantly.
“Don’t cry, Isabelle. Everything is going to be okay.” Said her oldest daughter, Mariana.
The weary mother scooped her crying daughter up and into her bosom. She took Mariana by the hand, and the small family stood up from their rest under the shade of the tree and started down the sidewalk.
“Where are we going?” asked Mariana.
“I don’t know,” The weary mother responded. “I don’t know.”
The weary mother was a young mother, aged well past her years, and had gotten pregnant some time ago, by two different men, both of whom walked out after the news of her pregnancy.
“Mommy,” said Mariana.
“Yes, little one?”
“Do you think you will fall in love again?”
The weary mother shook her head, then bumped baby Isabelle up and hugged her into her shoulder. “I have all the love I need right here.”
Mariana laughed. “Come on, mommy! We need to find you a new prince charming. We need to find us a daddy.”
The weary mother laughed, then stopped at a trashcan, and sifted through its contents. She retrieved three soda cans, smashed each of them under her heel, then set them into her trash bag, which she held over wrist as if it were a purse. “We need to find us a pot of gold.”
Mariana and the weary mother laughed, but Isabelle started to cry. The weary mother pet down her black strands of dirty hair. “There there, dear. All will be alright.”
They continued on down the sidewalk, until coming upon the local priest, two ladies in fine jewelry and two men in fine suits. The weary mother waved half-hardheartedly, but her gesture was given no return, other than blank faces and a turn away by the priest.
The small family continued on.
“Mommy,” said Mariana, again.
“Yes, little one?” Responded the weary mother.
“Why does everybody look at you like that?”
The weary mother laughed slightly. “Because I am a very poor woman, little one, and they don’t like to see you two being raised by someone who can’t provide.”
“Why?” She asked. “We usually eat and have a bed.”
The weary mother nodded. “Yes little one but you need more than that.”
“Are they bad people?” asked Mariana.
“No, not at all little one.” Said the weary mother, feigning certainty. “They just don’t like to see little girls suffer like you two. It is my fault.”
“Why?” asked Mariana.
Isabelle continued to cry, so that the weary mother patted her bottom and shook her over shoulder. “There there, baby. Don’t cry.”
“Don’t cry, Isabelle!” Said Mariana, taking her from her weary mother’s shoulder, than hugging her baby sister into herself. “Why though, mommy?”
The weary mother grinned slightly, until another couple passed, arms interlocked, at which point the weary mother looked down and avoided their glance. “Why what, little one?”
“Why is it your fault?”
The weary mother pressed her eyes close closed for a moment, coming to a stop. After a deep breath, she returned to walking as she answered.
“Because little one, I am your provider and I am not very good at it.”
“Oh,” said Mariana, as she swung hands with her mother. “Why don’t you get married, mommy?”
The weary mother laughed again. “Oh, little one, marriage is not for me. Maybe you can get married one day. That will make me happy.”
Isabelle stopped crying, and Mariana kissed her face. The two sisters chuckled together. “I would like that mommy. And my husband is going to be so rich he will pay for all of us.”
The weary mother laughed again, then ran a finger under her eye. “That would be wonderful, little one.”
They walked in silence for a bit, passing more than a few on the sidewalk as they did. None waved or said hello.
“Mommy?” said Mariana, finally.
“Yes little one?”
“Where are we going?”
The weary mother sighed. “I don’t know, little one.” She sighed again. “I don’t know.”
– Thomas M. Watt