Mollie played quietly in the corner with her books and colors. Mama laid on the couch, half asleep, half watching the television. The house was quiet, although it was late Spring the windows were closed, the room was always dark.
Mollie looked at Mama. She had become so skinny. Her robe, once a constant struggle to wrap around her body, now hung forlorn and large upon her frame. She gave Mollie a wan smile. Soon Aunt Kathy would be by, to break the silence and to bring them something to eat.
An air of sadness filled the room. Mollie wished that Mama was well again. At first when Mollie would come home from school Mama would be taking a nap after work on the couch. Mollie would wake her upon coming home and they would have coffee and cookies together, do chores, make dinner, do homework, and laugh. When Mama got sick, it took longer and longer to wake her from her naps. That’s when she started to get really skinny.
Mama’s hair used to be so long and shiny. Now it hung in a sad and thin ponytail. Her face and body got really bony, and she was so tired that she laid down most of the time. She no longer could work, and was not making dinner anymore.
The only thing about Mama that was the same was her voice. Mama would let Mollie climb in bed with her, and as they went to sleep they would talk. Mama would tell Mollie stories about when she was a girl Mollie’s age. Mollie held her Mama close and fell asleep to the sound of her voice and her prayers.
One day Mollie ran home from school because it was raining. It was a warm day, the sun was shining in the west, but it was raining like crazy! Big clouds filled the sky above her and poured rain like buckets. As Mollie ran up to her home she saw that MAMA WAS ON THE PORCH. Laughing, Mama pointed to the two story building across the street. A fountain of rain poured like a waterfall from the drain spout on the second floor. “It’s like a waterfall”! Mollie screamed with joy. “I wish I could go in it”! “Go for it”! Mama laughed. Mollie ran across the street and danced under the waterfall. Mama sat on the porch and clapped and cheered.
It was raining so hard that the street gutters had become a fast and wide river. Mama got up and sat on the edge of the curb. Her robe clung to her frail body, her hair clung to her frail head, and water eddied around her feet that she had put in the flow of this river. Mollie ran over and sat next to her. She put her feet next to Mama’s. “Hey, I have an idea”, Mama said. “You know those little duckies that you collect? Go get them”!
Mollie ran into the house and returned with an armload of small rubber ducks. Pirate ducks, tattooed ducks, princess ducks, devil ducks—she was loaded!
They each picked a duck and positioned it for race in the river. The water then carried them swiftly downstream and deposited them in the road at the end of their block.
The raindrops were fat and bright. The sun was still shining in the west, and the world smelled wonderfully of warm, wet pavement.
Mama looked at Mollie and smiled. “Do you remember this”, she said quietly, “Mudra”? Mama held her hands out, palms up, and touched her first fingers to her thumbs. “This is a mudra to seal a moment. To keep it within your heart forever, so that you can always come back and remember this, this moment can be with you always, and you can always come back here anytime that you want”.
Mollie made the mudra. Mama smiled. Her eyes were as bright and wet as the rain.
And there they sat in the sunshiny rain, sealing the moment, and watching the ducks race to the corner.