9

You know, when I was a child, I’d come home after school to an empty house. My father had flown the coop, and my mother worked as a maid in a hotel. It was lonely, so I brought in a baby squirrel I’d found, and kept him in a shoe box. And then, one day, when I came home, he looked sickly. He was dead already, but I didn’t know that. I’d forgotten to… feed him for a couple days. So I took him out of the box and I laid him on the table and I prayed my heart out for several hours. And when my mother came home and found us, she screamed bloody murder. She picked him up and threw him in the garbage. She worked hard, my mother. She was exhausted, and she couldn’t have known how cruel that was. But I cried and cried, saying, “God didn’t answer my prayers!” I remember… my mother was pouring herself a whiskey; the Martin family cure for everything. She looked at me and laughed. “God always answers our prayers, Judy. It’s just rarely… the answer we’re looking for.”

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