Saturday, October 22, 2016

Monologue Mania Day #983 Birds of Pray by Janet S. Tiger (c) Oct. 22, 2016

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Monologue Mania Day #983 Birds of Pray by Janet S. Tiger (c) Oct. 22,  2016

                                  Birds of Pray

                                             A monologue by Janet S. Tiger   
                                            (c)  2016    all rights reserved
When I was a little girl and we would go to church every week, I would look at the nuns, and they would look like those pictures of penguins I would see in the books in the library.

We didn't have a library card, because we didn't have an address......we lived in our truck, and during the days, when my mother would look for work, and if she couldn't find work, she would hunt through garbage pails for cans, my mother would leave us in the library for hours, sometimes all day, because there was a bathroom.  And she would wash us in that bathroom, quickly, and I don't know how she did it, but she always made sure we had on clean clothes - so we didn't smell.

And I would read books to my little sister quietly in the back of the stacks.  And we would have food my mother found in the dumpsters.  It went on like that forever....or maybe a few very long months.

I remember seeing one of the nuns from church come into the library.

I never knew her name, but I would watch her go into one of the rows and I would follow her, and she would have a small brown bag with her.  One day, I looked and she had gone, but had forgotten the bag.  I ran to take her the bag and when I told her she had forgotten it, she shook her head and told me it wasn't hers....then she pointed to the bag.  On the bag were printed the words - 'property of the girl who comes to church and likes to read'

When I looked up from reading this, the nun was gone!  So I opened the bag, and inside, were two sandwiches, two apples and two napkins.  And a dollar bill.

After we ate the sandwiches, I wrote the words..'thank you' and drew a picture on the back of the bag, and when I saw the nun the next day, I gave it to her.  She smiled, and put my bag in her pocket, and from under her robe, took out another bag, with more food.

This went on for weeks.....the bag with my name on it, and me drawing my thank you notes.  I didn't tell my mother because I thought she might say we couldn't take charity.  She would do stupid stuff like that.

My sister - well, I told her the sandwiches were from the library fairy, and when she reported that to my mother, I just rolled my eyes and my mother figured my sister was imagining things.

For the nun, I had decided to draw an extra-special thank you, because I wanted her to know how much her help meant to us.  I had found some paper thrown away that was very nice, just a little scrunched, but I weighted it under some books every day, and it looked almost new.

I used the pictures from the books, and I finally was finished, and I waited for the nun,  I looked at the picture I had drawn, and for some reason, I felt good, in spite of the fact it was getting to be Fall, and the truck had no heat, and we needed warmer clothes.  But somehow, I looked and I felt better.  It was the best drawing I had ever done.

When I gave it to her, she looked at it and I could see her smile, and yet she was almost crying.  She turned to me and said, 'Where did you ever get the idea for penguins in a church?'  And I said to her that's what the nuns looked like to me....birds of pray.

And she laughed out loud - then put her hand over her mouth and we both giggled.  Where had I learned to draw like that? she asked, and I told her, my father was a painter, and my mother, too.  But he was long gone, and my mother, well, my mother was.....always busy. We talked and then she left.  I didn't know that would be the last time I would ever see her on this earth.

But I knew she liked the picture, I could tell.  She was happy when she looked at it.  That was on a Saturday, and the next day, I thought I would see her in church, but she wasn't there.

On Monday, at the library, I looked for her, but she didn't come.  For one whole week I didn't see her, and that week became another and yet, somehow, the paper bag with the sandwiches was always there.  I learned later she had arranged it  with a young man who walked past on his way to work, but those weeks, I almost started to believe in the library fairy myself.

 I had given up hope of seeing her again.  And then, one Sunday, when we were praying, a man walked up to us, looked at me and pulled out the picture.

Did you draw this?

Yes I told him, is anything wrong?

He turned to my mother.  And you taught her?  My mother said, yes, is there a problem?
No problem, I have a job for you.

My mother almost fainted, and he caught her arm.

My daughter mailed this to me a few weeks ago, before she left for Guatamala.  She asked me to help the talented family of the girl who drew this, and that is why I am here.  I never wanted her to be a nun, and now.....

He bent his head and had to stop himself from crying.

And now she's gone.  She caught some bug and was dead in two days.  But I am considering this her last request.

He kept his word - he was an agent for other artists, famous ones, and he took my mother and me and my sister into his home, and helped my mother get work as an artist, and me....a job as a cartoonist.  You might have seen some of my work ....

        (Holds up a newspaper, hands it over)

Inside this paper, I've circled a number - if you're smart, you'll call it.....

        (Turns to leave, stops, looks back)

Why am I telling you this?  Because I'm retired now, and I travel across this great country, and I go into libraries wherever I go......and look for people, like

        (Exits to help others, God bless)

Janet S. Tiger    858-736-6315      
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8

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