|Rochelle Ratner||The 2River View, 7.1 (Fall 2002)|
That first day she realized she could breathe outside; it wasn’t as hot as she expected, surely better than her cramped apartment with its wet plaster smell. She felt close to her widowed aunt’s stories of whole families on porches. So she stayed out longer than planned. The second day she brought a book to the park, then two books. She picked up a book somebody left there. She started bringing along an umbrella, her make-believe parasol. She brought a sweater in case it got chilly, then a coat in case it got cold. She dressed in layers. She ate dinner outside, and breakfast. The breeze in the park was such a relief still. In December she moved to the church steps, the large sheltered alcove near the door, and she doesn’t even believe in God.