Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

The French Braid

In Prose on October 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

“You know what I always wanted?” Maggie said dreamily, “I wanted a French braid in my hair…but I don’t know how…look at how my hair is anyway.”

“Not sooo thin. I can French braid. Come. Squinch over here on the bench next to me and I’ll do it.”

“It won’t hurt, will it? Tugging and pulling? I bet I have knots in my hair – I always do.”

“Hmm…not so bad.”

“But I hated it when Moms combed my hair. It always hurt, I swear, and when I was real little -”

“Oh here Maggie, keep your head still,” Ruth advised.

“Sure. Well, like I say when I was I was really little and she got her comb out – swoosh, zoom – I was out of there. Hid behind the couch, so of course she could see me,” Maggie chuckled, “and come after me with that big comb of hers.”

“Where’d you grow up?”

“Outside Pittsburgh by the Monongahela. Dirty city – all that soot, all the mining. It’s a steel town you know.”

“I know.”

“Everyone left though…ouch! That hurt! Guess I got a big knot there, huh?”

“Yeah, a bit. It’s ok. I’ll try to be gentle. So you were saying…everyone left?”

“Yeah, yeah. No work. The steel mills closed down. Oh, but you know what I remember? On the corner of Crossin there was a soda fountain, and on my birthday every year I could get a soda. My favorite was black and white.”

“What’s that? Black and white?”

“Oh, it’s chocolate soda and vanilla ice cream. I think…wait now…I’m not sure. Maybe it’s vanilla soda with chocolate ice cream.”

“Hey, maybe it can be either! Whichever you want – hold still, don’t twist like that. I can hear you fine without you turning your head around each time you talk to me.”

“Hmmm…I guess I don’t remember because it was so long ago. I don’t even remember what color my bedroom was. You know, I had to share it with my sister and my brother. I hated that. They were so stupid, such brats. I wanted a room of my own. I guess everyone does, huh?”

“Yep.”

“Did you have one?”

“A soda?”

“No, silly,” she giggled. “A room of your own?”

“No, I can’t say that I did. Well, that’s it dearie, you’re done! You’ve got your French braid. That wasn’t so painful, was it?”

“Oh, man…a French braid! On me! I can’t believe it!”

“Here, here’s a little mirror. Take a peek.”

“Wow, wow look at me!”

“You’re a beauty, I must say! Now, you know what I think? I think there’s something you need to have that you’re not going to get in that soup kitchen of yours…come on, grab your bag. We’re gonna go find you a black and white – or white and black soda!”

Annie Q

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