She knits. The same scrap of cherry-red wool, over and over, unwinding her rows and click-click, endlessly reworking her masterpiece: keeping her hands busy and her thoughts at bay.
"No thank you." "No thank you." Every time I ask. "Would you like something to eat? Would you like a drink?" So quiet, she draws no attention to herself, she doesn't want it.
This time, I sit beside her. She dresses in a rag-bag of clothes. She carries a rucksack and she wears a scarf. Summer and winter. I should have guessed, but, she's Caucasian you see, Irish in fact, and I didn't think... .
"My name is Mary," I say holding out my hand. Tentatively, she takes it, "Mary-Catherine". She speaks quietly. "Catholic?" I ask. I always ask: sometimes someone will want to rage against the church, or recall fond memories of it, or ask where to hear
"Muslim."So softly, I have to lean forward to hear.
Her story unwinds. Her husband, not here, her children in
"I was a member of the Legion of Mary when I was a child."
I am at a loss. This gentle woman fills me with a deep sense of sorrow. Mary and Jesus are both honoured by Islam, and I do not care to dishonour her faith, so I pause, awaiting inspiration.
"Shall we say a Hail Mary?"
Unhesitatatingly, she joins in.
"Please, light a candle for