Raccoon in a halo

I wish I could Photoshop something that would confront St. Paula with Quan Yin, preferably with a curious raccoon between them.

The raccoon doesn’t answer and Clare smiles. She wouldn’t have wanted the raccoon to say, “Clare.” Because then she would have had to call her boys and have herself comitted, and although this is not the life she hoped to have, it’s certainly better than being in a psychiatric hospital. The raccoon has started on his second slice of bacon bread. Clare would like to put out the orange marmalade and a little plate of honey. William never ate peanut butter, but Clare wants to open a jar for the raccoon. She’s read that they love peanut butter, and she doesn’t want him to leave.

In an ideal world, the raccoon would give Clare advice. He would speak to her like Quan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion and mercy. Or he would speak to her like Saint Paula, the patron saint of widows, about whom Clare has heard so much lately.

Clare says, without moving, “And why is Saint Paula a saint? She dumps her four kids at a convent, after the youngest dies. She runs off to hajira with Saint Jerome. How is that a saint? You’ve got shitty mothers all over America who would love to dump their kids and travel.”

— Amy Bloom, “Compassion and Mercy,” in Where the God of Love Hangs Out, p. 57.

Looking again at the title, I realize that this makes Cupid twice in a row. Hmm.


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