As the new morning broke through the sky Ryell walked outside on his way to work. He looked to the East and there he could see a handful of people walking up towards the mountain. Every morning those same people made the hike and every morning Ryell watched them. Today they were noticeably one less. Clio, would never take that hike again.
Ryell looked back at the small apartment they shared and looked upon the tiny addition that was built in the corner next to the alley way. When Clio had become too sick to make the hike Ryell made a bamboo mat and placed it in the corner. He used old ply wood and cloth to create a room. A little shrine for her to prey in. It was not the same as the vigorous walk up the mountain. Breathing the frosty mountain air and existing amongst the dew moist trees, but he wanted Clio to feel like she had a place to go. He remember how he placed the wild mountain flowers, in recycled tin and jars that he had found along the roads, around the tiny lot. He had bartered for a single stick of incense and let it fill the room with strong smoke of jasmine and wet wood. He put his bedding in a corner for her to sit on while she meditated and prayed. The room was peaceful and in its own way pretty.
She had been sleeping when he came in to get her. He was so eager to show her the new studio. Something he could give just to her. He picked her up and carried her lame body across the apartment and through the door outside. Her arms were wrapped around his neck and she nestled her head into his neck as she watched happily to see where he was taking her. The morning was cold and the frost pinched at her nose and made her eyes dry. Even in her sickness, Clio was unaltered by her unjust fate. She smiled, laughed, and then cried as Ryell gently placed her upon the mat. She looked around the tiny temple with awe and excitement.
“Is it wrong of me to be so happy thinking it is a gift for me, when it is really meant for God?” she asked smiling at Ryell.
He stood leaning against the door looking down at her on her knees, smiling as he shook his head.
“No,” it’s not wrong he replied. He had never thought of it as a gift to God. It was in Ryell’s mind for Clio, and nothing more.