Portia, Cordelia and Tess and Mom wait for mass to begin. Tess sits with arms crossed in stone-faced silence as her ploy to skip mass by faking sick has failed. Elizabeth is in the ladies room to minimize the time she will have to sit at the far end of the pew pretending she’s never seen these people before.
Portia (loud): I want to go to the restaurant!
Portia (whispers): I want to go to the restaurant.
Cordelia (whispers): I want to go to the restaurant, too.
Tess: [silence, still mad]
Mom (under breath): I want to go to the bar.
Portia (loud): I want to go to the bar, too!
People in nearby pews: [some stone-faced stares and some smiles]
Entrance procession starts.
Tess (no longer mad): How long till it’s over?
The reading, gratias deo, is about blind Bartimeus being restored to sight rather than “wives be submissive” or “if a woman divorces her husband and takes another, she commits adultery” or others of that ilk that have been featured lately. Portia has stopped asking to go to the restaurant but is pretending to poke Tess in the eye.
Mom (whispers): Please don’t blind Tess. Jesus used to restore people’s sight in the old days, but lately, not so much.
Cordelia: [rolls eyes and giggles]
Tess: [giggles uncontrollably]
Elizabeth: [moves even farther toward the end of the pew in vain attempt to appear never to have laid eyes on any of these people]
Priest: What did Jesus do for Bartimaeus?
Mom (whispers to Cordelia): Restored his sight so he could find the restaurant.
Light at the end of the tunnel. Mass is almost over, and Portia appears to have forgotten about both the restaurant and blinding Tess, but is fidgeting. Mom has not forgotten about the bar.
Mom (whispers): You’re being really good, Portia. It’s almost over.
Deacon: The mass is ended. Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God.
Mom: Thanks be to God indeed! Portia, you did it! You made it all the way through a whole mass!
Sisters: Good job, Portia!
Mom (awestruck): She actually sat through A WHOLE MASS! Not one trip to the bathroom. Not one excursion to the maze. She sat through the whole hour and fifteen minutes.
Cordelia: I did that when I was two.
Elizabeth and Tess (long since weary of tales of Cordelia’s precocity): [roll eyes]
Mom: Better late than never, baby. Better late than never.
Angels play harps and trumpets and sing alleluia.