SISTER MARY of the All Saints Church, pt. V
Sister Mary of the All Saints Church, part V in a VI part series
Big, furry galoshes and a heavy-duty, beige,winter work coat, few would describe as appropriate attire for a nun. But, few would ever meet Sister Mary, or she hoped, ever need to.
Sister Mary had found Paul shivering at an abandoned gas station. She had pulled up beside him, before he had a chance to break in and scour the shelves for a bag of pretzels, or a slim jim that may have been left behind.
Paul was now sitting in the blissful, heated white paneled van, watching the headlight of the police cruiser out of the frosted, snow-caked side mirror. He had learned when and how to utilize his manners, and did so now.
Sister Mary’s "All Saints Church" van idled near the Catholic Abbey as Paul offered to leave the heated sanctuary the white van provided to talk to the blond haired boy who had only a green lime flannel shirt on his scrawny shoulders. His left shoulder blade looked as if it had been caved into his heart and lungs. Sister Mary gave Paul a quilted, flannel winter coat to give to the fair-haired boy. "Hurry, before he runs. He won’t survive the day dressed like that, " said Sister Mary.
Paul moved fast, traces of himself seen in the scrawny kid. "Hey, he shouted, "wait up, I just wanna give you this coat."
Josh was sitting on the floor of the heated "All Saints Church" van minutes, later.
Forty-five minutes later, they had added a female passenger. Caroline was sitting a few feet from Josh. Josh noticed Caroline’s purple fingers were slowly returning to white. He wondered if her fingers ached as much as his. Sister Mary was pulling the van into the long driveway of the "All Saints Church". Sister Mary parked the van next to an identical one.
Sister Mary quickly explained that she had a walkie-talkie to notify the police cruiser if at any time she felt compelled to do so.
Freedom was the choice made by all of them. Once, before she had broken too many laws, in too many places, Caroline had begged an officer to buy her a bus fare home to her mom. Or, to arrest her and transfer her to her home-town’s prison. He pretended not to hear, or see her as he pulled away from the curb.
The newly formed group, gathered around the kerosene heater directly in front of a cross with Jesus nailed to it. Father Patrick handed out sturdy gloves, knit caps, galoshes and packages of peanut butter crackers.