She had been on a water planet.
She laughed and she told me she had been on one of the water planets a long time ago but could not remember when.
One Christmas Eve I wandered by the Vietnamese Our Lady of Sorrow and heard the most beautiful singing—Ave Maria to a wondrous accompaniment of a somber piano and a fervent cello. Sung in another language the hymn sounded too far away, too gorgeous, and too holy for me to even hum along to.
Snow was falling heavily, puffy flakes that looked like clusters of stars under the streetlamp and haloes on the roadside nativity scenes.
The wind picked up in its howling so that the music became fainter. I lingered by the cemetery yard. Glazed ice on gray tombstones was softened by holly wreaths.
I crossed the street to a convenience store coated in snow hiding most of the design and lettering of the Do Drugs/ Don’t Do Drugs graffiti. It was the only store open for miles.
A frail-looking woman standing in line told me…