School has finished for Easter. Amelia won the goodness award as in each semester a prize was given to the student who displayed the most natural act of charity. Some try very hard and it can be noticed immediately that their kindness was forced, but with Amelia everyone could see that her charity flowed from her Christ besotted heart. Her speech in winning the prize was full of humility, so much so, that one wanted to lavish her with more prizes and applause for being such a perfect painting of Christ himself. Amelia would be the first to mouth her own sinfulness, and declare that it was all an act of grace, and it is due to nothing in her. Mother watched Amelia with tender eyes, drawn into this young quiet beauty, which I imagined must remind Mother of her younger self. My head was full of other things, like, if I was one day to marry Amelia, something of an impossibility, then I believe I would be marrying Mother herself.
“Jeremiah,” said Mother, “It makes me glad that you have a friend such as Amelia. She is kind and gentle, a good influence to you. She was nothing like I was when I was her age.”
“Haven’t you always been good Mother? I imagined that Amelia must have reminded you of your younger self.”
“No, no dear child. At her age I was a friend of the world. I despised those who were too heavenly minded to care about the vices of this world. On Sunday mornings, I would deliberately break the Sabbath by doing all of my homework, for in our household it was forbidden to read anything else on a Sunday but the bible and theology. I hated such rules for I would rather be reading one of Shakespeare’s sonnets or lose my mind in Homer’s Iliad. My child, I dare say it but at her age I don’t think I ever did anything good that was not tainted with selfishness. This is why I marvel at Amelia, that at such an age she has already the maturity and kindness of a well-lived saint.”
“I never knew Mother that you were such as I was.”
“I was worse and this is why I instruct you as I do so that you will not make the same mistakes I made.”
Mother stroke my soft black hair kissing my forehead before we departed. But before we left Mother and I had the opportunity to congratulate Amelia on her award.