Little Lion

February 21, 2012
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Edna Rosenthal checked the refrigerator for meat and cheese, she moved a few jars around, they were not in there. She grabbed her mauve sweater off the beaten wooden chair, headed down three flights of scantily carpeted stairs, and out the front door of her brick apartment complex. Into the chilly breeze of Boston, Massachusetts she went. The wind was brisk against her thinning sweater, but she continued on to the market. Her high heels, click-clacked against the rough pavement. Edna stood tall, and proud at five-foot-four, Boston’s winds could not keep her down. The market, she said in her head. I must purchase the fixings for sandwiches for my husband. As a woman on a mission, she rounded the corner, and opened the gated entrance to the market. Dilly-dallying was not an option, quickly she grabbed meat, cheese and a loaf of bread-- for good measure, and took out her pocket book to pay the cashier. The man behind the counter looked at her items, and said with a smile “That’ll be $2.75, ma’am”.

She handed him three, crisp, dollar bills, responded “keep the change!” and with her items in hand, started back for the apartment complex. On the way home she admired the true beauty of her city. The delicate flowers, that managed to grow in the cracks of the sidewalk. The vibrant red leaves on the maples in the park. Acts of God, small, simple, but beautiful nonetheless. Edna’s walk was cut short when she realized that her husband was calling her name, clearly inebriated.

“Edna,” he shouted, stumbling over his own two feet, “where’s my sandwich!?”

“Honey, calm down. I have everything right here”, He knocked the bag out of her hand. “That was... unnecessary. Just go inside, and we can discuss this--”

“NO!” now he was throwing a temper-tantrum, “Snwich...” he mumble incoherently. Edna grabbed his arm, to drag him inside, in hopes of saving what was left of their reputation. Where Edna was strong-willed, she was not muscularly strong. As hard as she pulled on his arm, he would not budge. Eventually, he realized what she was trying to do, he laughed mocking her. She felt powerless.

“Sebastian Rosenthal!” she yelled. Something clicked in Sebastian’s mind, and his hand flew back behind his head, and swung forward only to hit Edna square in the face. The shock of it all drove her to the ground. She stayed there frozen, thinking. He was always getting drunk, always demanding things. She was a strong, independent, Irish woman. Pride picked her up off the ground. Pride poked her husband in the chest. But Edna was the one who dictated the words that came out of her mouth. She was fed up with having Sebastian treat her like she was nothing, and she was going to let him know it. “How DARE you strike me. Only a coward or a drunkard would strike a woman, and you are both. I have never seen such a pathetic excuse for a man in my entire life. The road will not rise up to meet you. The wind never be at your back. The sun shall not shine warm upon your face, and rains will fall hard upon your fields. If we meet again, Sebastian Rosenthal, you better hope that God is holding you in His hands.... ” her usually subdued Irish accent, was now heavy and filled with rage and disgust.

Edna had referred to the Irish Blessing, that was hung high on a plaque next to their beautiful, hand-carved crucifix. Now she was free, free from harm and indignity. Never again would she make a sandwich for someone, unless of course it was herself or whomever it was, asked very kindly. That was all she had ever wanted, respect. Now she had that and more. Freely she walked down the street, no longer holding groceries, no longer noticing the bone-chilling breeze. Finally, she could appreciate every one of God’s small gifts, without having to worry about getting home late, or “not pleasing her husband”.

She sat down at a park bench, and watched a single, golden ray of sunshine peak through the dreary gray sky, that had been hovering over Massachusetts for the last week. The one ray shown down on her, and the sturdy maple rooted next to her, illuminating the vivacious red leaves. A small thank you.

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