He loved going home to see her. And in some ways he dreaded it too. It was hard to unsee the way she looked at him. It was not a judgement look, it was more of a wasted time glance and then that glance away gesture. He never got used to that look but then he understood it too. But he kept going home to see his momma every Sunday. And every Sunday after that.
She looked how most weary hard working mommas looked. Just beyond her sadness were these fine lines of happier times creating half crescents just outside of each of her charcoal black eyes. Black pearls he liked to call them.
On this Sunday, he had come to do something he swore he would never do again. He had come to ask for her help. He had asked so many times before, each time saying this is the last time. And yet fast forward 20 something years he was there again carrying his ask in his body language and in his dry mouth.
And he asked her too. Momma this is the last time. Can you 'loan' me some rent money until I get on my feet? Don't worry Momma I will get it back to you. I am keeping track. You will get it all back plus interest.
This time Momma did something he was not expecting. Something he had not planned for at all. She started with her glance that he was sure of but then she stood frozen in place. She looked to the sky, wiped her callous hands on her apron and gently walked out of the room. She did this.
She returned a few moments later with a book. She handed it to him with the words, I can offer you this. This I can give you. It was her well-used Bible. And with that she left the room again.
He sat for a spell then he too left.
The next Sunday and Sunday after that he returned as usual to visit his Momma. She had the same glance. It was soft and it was sad. It was the wasted time glance he had seen so many times before. When she said goodbye to him she asked the same thing of him, "Have you read your bible?" And each time he said yes. Every single time he looked her in those black pearl eyes and said yes.
Months later, I think 3 months later, he was at his wits end again. Again he asked her for money. Her response, "I gave you what I had to give. The best I had to offer. Have you read your Bible?" He responded yes.
That night, he found himself alone. In the dark of night and just beyond his reach he saw it. He saw the Bible. Out of sheer desperation he reached out and picked it up. It felt so unfamiliar. Slowly he opened the pages. As he opened to nowhere certain a piece of paper fell to the floor. He bent down to pick it up and immediately recognized the handwriting. It read, "Son your lies will keep you away from this book or this book will keep you away from your lies." And tucked throughout the pages Old and New were twenty dollar bills in the hundreds.