Nan closed her eyes and tried to feel the atmosphere. When Rosa invited her to the Mary Martha Circle she had no idea that everyone would be blind. Rosa was Nan’s landlord and the aunt of Manny Minina, Nan’s fiancé. Seven ladies including Nan sat in the middle of Rosa’s living room. A seeing-eye dog accompanied each lady.
One of the women, led by her dog, walked over to Rosa’s grand piano. “Let’s sing ‘Trusting Jesus’. Just the first two verses; I think everybody knows those.”
Everyone stood and sang along with the piano. Nan tried to hit on a few of the words she knew or anticipated. There was no sheet music to sing by.
“Ladies, I am pleased to have my future niece, Nan McHough, joining us today.” Rosa held Nan’s arm as they sat.
A woman seated to the right of Nan reached toward Nan. “Such a pleasure, sweetie. I’m Maude LaBlanc.”
Nan felt her cheeks get warm. At least my blushing doesn’t show. “Pleased to meet you.” Nan reached her hand to touch the outstretched hand.
Rosa cleared her throat. “I think I know everyone who is here today. There’s Martha Spuill.”
“Yes.” A voice across the room called out.
“Josefina Lopez.” Again a voice answered.
Rosa called each member’s name, including her own. “Did I miss anyone?” There was no response. “Good. How about concerns of the group? I think you all remember when our little Nannie was in the hospital and almost died after that terrible bombing.” Several ladies acknowledged that they remembered the story. “Well, through your prayers and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ she is sitting here with us today.”
Across the room was an echo of “Praise God.” Nan felt uncomfortable with all the attention, but the called out names of other sick or troubled relatives and friends finally let her self-consciousness subside. Finally, Rosa turned to Nan. “Do you want to mention your friend William? I have already told them about the circumstances.”
“Thank you Rosa.” Nan gathered her thoughts. Rosa had told her earlier that she would call on her. “My friend and coworker William Cordbury is still being sought by the police. I am worried about him, because he is into some dangerous dealings in the city, and I ask your prayers for his safety.”
Rosa squeezed Nan’s hand.
Maude opened the gathering with a prayer, which included each named individual. Then Rosa asked Josefina to read the devotion. I didn’t realize they had Braille devotion books.
Another woman read a Bible verse that complemented the devotion. The discussions of the Circle continued but Nan felt her mind wandering. Just weeks ago she had seen William when he flagged down her car. He told her that he was being set up to cover some other event; and that he hadn’t done anything except take a picture. Then without another word he hopped out of her car. Nan made some notes when she got to the office, then filed the notes under “confidential informant.” She knew that if it came to a court case she might have to give up her notes or go to jail herself.
“Nan, what do you think about an elevator in the front foyer of the church?” asked Josefina.
Nan stammered. “Uh, well, I have no problem with the stairs, but I can see how an elevator would benefit a lot of people.”
Rosa laughed. “Not for people silly; the trustees are talking about putting a freight elevator temporarily on the front of the church during the remodeling.”
“Oh.” Nan felt her face flush again.
The group ignored Nan’s faux pas and went on chattering about the equipment destroying the church lawn. Finally, Rosa announced it was time for tea. Maude closed the gathering with a prayer, and the women and dogs walked into the formal dining room. Shessh, I don’t go in there, like ever.
Juanita and Gabriella, two of Rosa’s employees, quickly distributed teacups and poured tea for each woman. Nan sat at Rosa’s right hand. But, instead of tea, Juanita set a small glass of diet Pepsi in front of Nan. “Don’t clink the ice,” she whispered.
Nan saw Rosa smile.
“This is a perfect day; thank you Rosa.” Nan’s cell phone vibrated. She discretely opened the tiny flip phone and looked at the text message. “Oh, dear Lord, I need your guidance now. They found William.”
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