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Leah Ferguson

This is Why Some People Make Fun of Religion

Quinlan walked into my office the day after Easter, pursing her lips like she does when she senses deep, deep injustice in her presence. “Mom,” she said. Her tone was accusatory. “The jelly beans that were in our Easter baskets were the same ones you had in the pantry.” She wouldn’t break eye contact with me. “Mom,” she repeated. “Why are the jelly beans the same?” The time had come. I gulped–actually made a gulp sound–and half-heartedly tried to cover my (er, the Easter Bunny’s) tracks: “Well, honey, jelly beans are the same all over the world. It’s not like there are a bunch of different versions of, you know…jelly beans. So it makes sense that I’d have the same ones that were in your Easter basket.” She looked at me, then sat down beside me in such a manner that I was pinned between her and the side of the couch. She didn’t say a word for a beat or two. Then: “I know about the bubbles.” “The what…

Knowing the Way

A few weeks ago I dreamt my mom and I were sitting down to dinner in a lovely, cavernous restaurant. Our table was a two-top beside a far wall. The room was decorated in a mustard-beige hue, and there seemed to be an auditorium stage on the opposite side from us. The wall I faced, across the expanse of the restaurant, was not a wall at all, but made up of huge, large-paned glass windows that gave us a view of the dark world outside. I can’t tell you what was behind me, the space that my mom faced: in my memory, it was just gray, blank–a vacuum. I do remember rising from my seat to wave at a family I knew from school as they entered the room and sat down. They didn’t see me, though. The diners, including my mom and me, were very quiet, subdued. We were in a room full of people but it felt like we were wearing noise-cancelling headphones. Mom that night looked like the Suzie most of you know: blonde bob, bright blue eyes, wearing blue jeans with blue shoes and a top bursting…

Maybe He’ll Help Me Figure Out the Answer to Some of Them

Cian has a bit of a speech impediment–if you’ve just met him, you might have some trouble understanding his “th” sounds, say–but that doesn’t stop the child from talking, usually constantly, usually about thirty different topics in the span of as many seconds. Last Saturday, I drove him and his sister Saoirse to a gym about an hour away from our house for her basketball game. The boy talked the entire time. I say this without exaggeration. Cian spoke, without stopping, the entire 54 minutes it took us to get from our house to the gym. He talked as he got out of the car and took my hand, and he kept talking as he followed us into the building. It had gotten to the point where I just turned the radio up and muttered, “Uh-huh. Uh-huh” at regular intervals on the drive because I’m pretty sure he didn’t really need me to listen in the first place. Saoirse said, “Mom. You’re not even listening to him,” and when I made eye contact with her in the rear…