She looked at Reg who was staring at her in surprise across the rows of heads, that were now rising and turning to look at them.
Vera knew she was committed and spoke up. “My bracelet is caught in the little girl’s hair.” She could see Reg weighing up whether that was reason enough to interrupt the prayers. She kept going.
“My friend here has locked her knee and is in severe pain.” She gestured with her free hand at Beryl.
“And.” She wanted to say about the little girl and then she realised the mother was about to slide herself back onto her seat. She pushed her free hand across the pew.
“Don’t sit back!” She ordered aggressively.
The woman frowned at her rough tone.
“Sorry but your wee girl has wet her pants and it has made the pew cushion wet. ” Vera smiled at her.
The church was no longer silent; a general hubbub was slowly swelling. Vera glanced at Beryl. Margaret had been the first on the scene. She had been a nurse and she was already directing people to get ice from the kitchen and the courtesy wheelchair from the foyer. Margaret worked her way into the pew beside Beryl. She put her arm around Beryl’s shoulder and quietly began talking to her. Vera sighed there went her chances of a new friend.
“You’re free,” said the mother, holding the bracelet out to Vera.
“Oh thank you.” Vera felt its weight in her hand and pushed her hand into her jacket pocket.
“Now my next problem.” The mother sighed.
Reg was attempting to regain control from the front. Heads slowly turned away and the music group began the introduction for the offertory song. Vera stood up carefully.
The woman in front took her cue to gather up her wet child as the rest of the congregation stood to sing. She headed down the aisle.
Vera felt a tug on her arm. It was Beryl. Margaret had managed to get Beryl’s knee moving again and was about to help her into the wheelchair.
“I’m so glad you invited me to sit next you. Maybe see you next week?” Whispered Beryl. She straightened up and with Margaret’s help slid herself into the wheelchair. Beryl looked across at Vera as Margaret eased off the wheelchair brake.
“Thank-you.” She mouthed and smiled.
It was a smile that warmed Vera from the inside. She smiled back as she fingered the troublesome bracelet in her pocket. But then her heart filled with rocks as she watched Margaret begin to push Beryl away. Would Beryl see her next week or would Margaret, being the kind, friendly woman she was, be asking how she was this week, offering to sit with her? Vera could see herself standing in the background yet again. Brave one minute but too scared the next, to even make a proper friend. Vera fingered the bracelet again.
7 hours ago