Lady of Knock

Photo by Lee Cartledge on Unsplash

I couldn’t take it any longer, the pungent smell of dead mouse under the Fabreze. I headed out to a diner in the Northeast section of the city.

Cold and rainy — a perfect night for hot food. I ordered Hungarian goulash over noodles. A man standing at the register was telling the cashier he was tense; his mother is in bad shape, and he was waiting for the phone call telling him it was time to come say goodbye.

“When I was in the room with her, I sang ‘Lady of Knock’ for her. It was one of her favorite songs but I don’t know if she heard me. And now this,” he said. (I remember the hymn from the annual Parish Night In Ireland.)

“I’m sorry, that’s very hard,” the cashier said.

“Yeah, it is,” he said.

The last time I was in this particular diner, I did not have cancer. I mean, I knew I might have cancer, but it was the last day I had no actual evidence I did. I couldn’t tell you what I ate, but remember cracking cancer jokes as I dined with my cousins.

This time, I didn’t have to wonder about whether I had cancer; I was thinking about the food. The waitress placed the steaming bowl of goulash in front of me, and I could only pray it tasted as good as it looked. (Reader, it did.) And the fresh green beans were perfect: not undercooked and hard, not overcooked and gray. I could only finish about a third of the meal.

I thought about the ten-year-old boy who was shot in the head the other day while walking home from school, not far from my house. He’s doing better after surgery, they said on the local news. Everyone describes him as a sweetheart of a kid. He just happened to be walking near the target of a drive-by shooting.

And I wonder, as I so often do these days, why people have to be such dicks.

Lady of Knock, my Queen of Peace
And the Lamb will conquer
And the woman clothed in the sun
Will shine her light on everyone
And the Lamb will conquer
And the woman clothed in the sun,
Will shine her light on everyone.

2 thoughts on “Lady of Knock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *