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Writing can be cathartic.  I was a young stay-at-home mom with a baby glued to my hip when a neighbour, an older woman, knocked on my door.  She said her priest had instructed her to set aside one day a week to pray for the misfortunate and the sinners. Then, with a saccharine smile she announced that today was her Caring Day and she’d been praying for me all morning. I thanked her – what else could I do? – then I wrote The Caring Day.

First published in The Malahat Review, Winter 1993, Number One Hundred Five

The Caring Day

I'm pulling on my skirt and blouse and they’re getting tight across the belly I’m noticing, when the doorbell rings. “It’s open,” I yell coming down the hall, hoping it’s my husband come home. But it’s not. It’s Isabell. Fat old Isabell, standing in my front foyer wearing a pink terry towel robe and pink fake fur slippers. She’s wearing a pink scarf on her head too. It’s flapping up in the back and I can see some of her grey hair wrapped around pink sponge rollers.

“I’ve been calling and calling,” Isabell says. “How come you didn’t answer the phone, Honey?”

I never answer the phone Tuesdays. Isabell has been calling me Tuesdays for months now. Calling me and telling me she’s praying for my soul. Isabell’s got a list of souls to save written on pink paper and hanging from a magnet on the door of her fridge and I must be the wickedest because here she is. In person.

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