Elizabeth fidgeted on the pew, and stared at the cathedral ceiling. Baby angels flew around and people dressed in robes with yellow circles around their heads – saints, she guessed – looked sad. It was the especially boring part of mass, where the grown-ups, including Mommy and Daddy, and the big kids lined up to go to the front of the church.
Instead of singing along with the hymn, Elizabeth recited the chant that echoed above the choir: body of Christ...body of Christ…. They were the only lyrics she knew. As she mumbled these words, she reached into the front pocket of her dark blue corduroys and clasped the plastic bricks she stole from preschool, the best of all building toys: Legos.
Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t buy her any because she already had a set of bricks, but they weren’t Legos. So on Mondays through Fridays, Elizabeth hid bricks in her pockets to keep under her bed until she collected enough to build a house. Sometimes, she kept one or two in a pocket to remind her of her goal.
On Monday, Elizabeth didn’t have any pockets so she stuck a brick inside her shoe, just as Daddy came to pick her up from school.
“It’s such a nice day, I thought we could just walk home,” Daddy said.
“But what if I get tired?”
Daddy laughed. “Then I guess I’ll carry you.”
As they walked, the brick slid from the side of Elizabeth’s shoe to the bottom, so each step she took was painful.
Daddy turned to her. He looked worried. “Honey, are you okay? You’re limping.”
Elizabeth looked straight ahead towards the lighted sign that showed a person walking. “Daddy, look!” She pointed. “We can cross the street.”
But Daddy didn’t look. Instead he got on one knee to examine Elizabeth’s foot. “Well,” he said, “it may be hard for you to cross if you’re limping. Does your foot hurt?”
“Kind of,” Elizabeth mumbled. The truth was it hurt badly. The sharp corners on the brick poked her foot as she walked, and she tried hard to not to cry.
“Did you hurt it at school today?”
“Take your shoe off for me, hon. I want to make sure your foot’s okay.”
Daddy pulled off her shoe, and the brick fell out. “So that’s the problem.” He picked up the bright red brick and examined it. “I wonder how that got in there.”
Elizabeth stared at the sidewalk, and watched a family of ants marching towards the grass. She shrugged again.
“You’ll have to return it to school tomorrow.” He didn't sound happy anymore.
When they arrived home, Mommy was waiting for
them at the doorway. She wasn't smiling. “John, we need to talk,” she said, looking at Elizabeth.
Daddy nodded and followed Mommy into Elizabeth’s
bedroom. She followed, too. When Mommy opened the door, Elizabeth burst into tears. There, piled on her desk like a colorful snowfall, was the treasure she hoarded for weeks.
Prompt: a snowfall and/or a secret revealed