mrs. brown

Mrs. Brown came in alone with her jeweled barrette and frizzy hair, smiles all around. It was a wonderful day, and we were beautiful people. She came late to the counter where I taught, but who could deny such a woman?
I had slapped the book together in half an hour, minus interruptions; it was no masterpiece, let me tell you. But Mrs. Brown thought it beautiful, perfect.
I laughed about the book, the thought it lacked.
“This is so neat,” she said.
With each page, I explained that she had creative license.
“I want it just like yours,” she said.
I showed her how.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
I motioned to my name tag, and told her.
Mrs. Brown wants to take some of my classes. She wants to spend more time here.

I joked that Mrs. Brown is good for my self esteem. I joked more than once.
And then I hear Mrs. Brown signed up to come here three weeks in a row to begin with. That first night, tears replaced smiles.
“My husband hit me.”
I wonder why she could tell us that.
“This is only about the fourth time since we’ve been married,” she said.
Only. Yeah, okay.
Only.
Mrs. Brown keeps signing up to come here on the weekends. She wants to spend more time here.

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