A warm breeze blows through the yard. Mary closes her eyes and tilts her head back, enjoying the sun as it warms her face. She opens her eyes again and looks up at the sky overhead, birds flying around in search of their next meal. All is quiet for the moment, as her sisters wander around, looking for another. Their ample energy had earned them an early playtime outside so Anna could clean up their mess inside, leaving Mary to keep an eye on them.
Mary dutifully obeys, watching as Kyla sneaks up Oprah and tags her. Oprah turns and chases her, both of them giggling as they run. Mary smiles, hearing their laughter; then Kyla runs to her and grabs her dress, turning her around so Oprah can’t catch her. Oprah manages to get her arms around Mary and touch Kyla.
“I got you,” she cries and runs off.
Kyla smiles and runs after her. She stops in mid-stride though when she sees Oprah coming towards her. She runs back to Mary and grabs her hand, pulling her along as she runs. Mary’s veil flies off her head as they run in the opposite direction. She lets it falls to the ground and continues to play with her sisters.
Minutes later, Mary stops, out of breath. Their drive was boundless and she isn’t sure she can keep up with them – until Oprah taunts her. Mary will not to be outdone by them, and springs towards them, chasing them around the yard.
The girls come to an abrupt stop as they realize Miriam is watching them, a look of disapproval on her face. Mary straightens up her posture and faces the older woman. She is not much older than Anna, but her black hair is peppered grey and her face permanently creased. Mary can’t recall ever seeing the woman smiles and feels uncomfortable under her stern gaze.
“Where is your veil?” Miriam asks.
Mary lifts her hand to her head and smooths out her hair. She dares a glance behind her, where the veil lies on the ground. She turns back to Miriam and opens her mouth to respond, but is cut off.
“What will others think, you running around like a common woman?”
Mary looks down under the weight of the chastisement.
“Where is your mother?”
Mary raises her head to see her mother approaching them.
“Your daughter is out here running around like an immature child – without a veil covering her head, too!” Miriam states indignantly.
Anna places an arm around her, shaking her head.
“I’m sure it just fell from her head,” Anna says.
Miriam ‘humphs’ instead.
“She should have stopped to cover her head, her glory.”
“Now, Miriam. She was helping me with the little ones.”
Miriam looks unconvinced and Mary knows there is no argument her mother can offer that will placate the woman.
“Come inside. Mary will cover her head,” Anna says, her voice steady. “She is a good girl. You know Joseph would not have chosen otherwise.”
Miriam simply grunts again and follows Anna inside.
Mary sighs and walks over to her veil. She picks it up and places it back on her head as Oprah and Kyla approach her.
“Are you in trouble for playing with us?” Oprah asks quietly.
She hears the concern and disbelief in her sister’s voice and smiles.
“Something like that. Come on, we’ll do something else.”