To the Sunday school children, she is a shadow in the window, a welcome distraction from the humdrum classes. Her eyes have a hollowed-out look, too, and her red scarf is askew, but she can easily pass as one of their truant classmates. Over psalm recitals and the sound of chalk scraping the blackboard, you can hear the caw-cawing of the crows and, if you listen very closely, her gentle tap-tapping on the misted glass. These taps are soft and hesitant, as though she hasn’t made up her mind about attending class or not.
When the bells finally toll for home, the children rush out. They look for her, searching for a sign in the gravel, in the rustling leaves, in the birds artfully hidden in the swaying branches. Underneath a grey sky, they mournfully share their packed lunches, leaving a few scraps for the stray cats and mongrel dogs that have made the churchyard their home. They talk about the girl they sometimes see at the window and invent stories about her.