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CORA

A siren startles her. Police? Fire?
Waking up from sleep Cora thinks:
“It’s hard. It’s hard.”
Life is hard. Dealing with each day
is hard. And it’s a long wait for
anything to celebrate. “God’s will
be done.” Cora stares at the ceiling.
It is cold in the room. She feels a
fever coming on.

Pots and pans clutter the stove, plates,
bowls, glasses from breakfast need to
be dealt with. Lyle, Whitney, Mickey are
off to school with bagged lunches. Cora fixes
the beds, showers, dresses,. Before she leaves
for work she pays the bills, orders drug store
necessities, pharmaceuticals.
She reflects that if women, like men, took life as
it comes nothing would get done.

“I believe in God! I believe in God! I believe
in God!” Cora sobs. Her fever is in full blaze.
She tries to make it through the workday.
sweating, scrubbing, scraping, polishing.
She has to or she won’t get paid. Plus they
won’t let her back unless she gets a doctor’s
note saying she was truly sick and not slacking.
She couldn’t afford that. A doctor’s bill was
twice as much as her daily paycheck.

Wide-eyed the children watch Cora pop the
corn and hang the streamers, set out cookies
and cakes with multi-colors.
“Whose birthday, Mama?” Lyle wants to know.
“No one’s, child.” Cora smiles. “The day
got itself done and I thought we’d have some
fun. I bought us some new cartoons at the
Nickelodeon.”

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