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Patience is dressed in pale pink, wears shoes made of thinnest leather and barely makes a sound when she walks.  The soles used to be thick, and sometimes she leaves them for me to take to the shoemaker because she can feel her toes along the floor.  I hate doing it, but I do it. They wear down again.  We repeat this dance. Patience once wore brown, the hearty brown of oak wood, long before I knew her when she and my mother were young. Or was it my grandmother? Her garments faded and it doesn’t matter, not to her or to anyone.  Patience knits scarves too long for anyone to wear, blankets she leaves on her doorstep for those with nothing between them and the cold.  Patience always smiles in a self-satisfied way, and who knows what her thoughts are, she will never tell, and anyway you’d be bored to tears if she did. The washed-out pink of her clothes have become almost transparent. Sometimes I barely see her in the corner of my kitchen. Sometimes I do and there she is, smugly smiling at me.  But I always feel her no matter what room I am in. My mother knew Patience well, and my grandmother; she traded recipes with them, kept the floors scrubbed and the refrigerator shelves clean.  When I was born my mother told me Patience was filled with joy. I never loved her back.  I crawled and walked as fast as I could, talked even faster, knees perpetually scraped, clothes always filthy.  Patience ventured out of the house at twilight because it was dinner time and I was up on a tree branch. I outlasted her because she made me furious, who was she to wait till I came in for dinner, smiling that smug half-smile?


I am fifty-eight now; I never loved Patience or even liked her.  Not one bit. Her pink is a color I hate, and it looks awful on me. I can’t knit, it turns into knots, when I smile I smile big and warm. Patience is always here and I don’t want her in the corner of my kitchen. I tell her to beat it somewhere else, and she fades and smiles smugly and knits another ten rows.  

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