In Sunday School this morning Miss Hooker
caught me looking out the window during
the Lord's Prayer, or I caught her catching
me looking out the window, so maybe
we both sinned, fallen from having our heads
bowed and our eyes closed. I couldn't resist
temptation because the rain let up--I
knew it because suddenly I couldn't
hear it anymore--and I felt the sun
would shine and eventually so why
not then? And then I looked and was blinded
when I glanced at the front of the classroom
and saw Miss Hooker studying me. If
I didn't know better--which I don't, I'm
just ten years old--I'd say that she loves me
and was sneaking a peek while my eyes were
closed. I do that, too--I do that to her
sometimes, not when her eyes are closed but when
her head's down as she searches in the Book
for God or at least some of the smart stuff
written about Him. Maybe He wrote them.
I'm not sure--Miss Hooker went for two years
to junior college so I'll bet she knows
darned near everything there is to know, or
what matters, anyway, and she's only
25, still too old for us to splice,
but if prayer means anything it means
that God might answer mine and push her age
back so I can have a shot at her
when I'm 18 and so is she, which will
be in about eight years from now for me
and eight in reverse for her. Then we'll look
out the window together as we sit
on the sofa, my arm around her and
her head on my shoulder and her love all
for me, except what she still gives to God
and Jesus--They don't even have shoulders
and maybe not even sofas. After
class I waited for the other kids to
leave, then went up to Miss Hooker's desk
and said how sorry I was that I wasn't
paying attention. Miss Hooker stood and
looked down at me and I saw myself in
her glasses--two selves I saw though each looked
pretty much the same but I knew that one
was good and the other evil yet both
make me. I'm just complicated that way.
Please try to pay attention, Gale, she said
--you're the kind of person Jesus died for.
But before I could stop my words they said
Well, thank you ma'am--and just what kind are you?
Then she plunked right down and started to cry.
I don't know, she sobbed--what kind would you say?
Which started me leaking, and with the sun
slowly slipping from its high-noon height I
crawled into her lap and held her close and learned.