Originally published on the Emerging Voices blog, 2/8/2015
I’m going to level with you: My thesis is due in less than a month and I am nowhere near done. As I tried to come up with something of substance to write about this month, I found myself completely at a loss. After several failed attempts at something more easily identifiable as an actual blog post, I’ve decided that, this week, story counts as a post, and so I’ve written the following snippet of fiction. Bonus, this also fulfills an assignment for one of my classes. So, I’m sorry I’m lazy, here, have a story.
Miss Jane lives in 1502B, the downstairs half of this sorry old duplex. She, like the house, is seemingly indestructible, despite whatever acts of God or teenage boys eager to prove themselves may come our way. I have yet to figure out the age of either one; they both seem to have been in this neighborhood since before it existed.
Miss Jane wears her hair in a single tight braid, though her hair—like her spirit—is far too wild to be tamed by such constriction. She isn’t one for “beauty products,” but she is tidy and neat; despite the fact that she never seems to stop moving, her dresses are always pressed and not one of them bears a single stain.
Miss Jane never married or had kids of her own. “I don’t need a man, and there are too many babies to watch out for in this neighborhood to worry about my own.” And that she does. Though she has been known to yell at miscreants from her porch, she always watches to make sure they get home safe from school, and she knows every one of their names. The kids always wake up on their birthdays to find a plate of cookies has been delivered to them without any name attached, though the smell of baked goods emanates from 1502B as its own not-so-inconspicuous calling card.
Miss Jane doesn’t go to church—it’s hard to go to church here, since churches seem to come and go with the seasons, each intent on “bringing Jesus to this block,” yet seemingly unaware of what life is actually like on this block, and that, in spite of its crime rate and lack of curb appeal, this might be the closest thing to Nazareth one could find in this century—but she talks to God more than anyone I’ve ever met. If I weren’t so afraid of being struck by lightning, I’d say that God was taking direction from her, rather than the other way around.
I wouldn’t call Miss Jane holy. Definitely not to her face, and I don’t think I would behind her back, either. But she is real. She is fierce, and she is kind. She has both discipline and grace. And when she is near, She is close.