The Groundskeeper of
Copyright 2011 by K. Writerly
One day, John Smith simply appeared. He walked onto the premises, picked up a shovel, and set to work in the vegetable garden. He said not a word. The Benedictine sisters were understandably startled. The abbess, however, counseled them firmly, “Let him be. If he had a home, he would surely be there rather than here.” And that was all there was to it.
The situation was strange, indeed. John Smith worked. He did not attend mass. He did not even speak unless spoken to, which was a rare occurrence in and of itself. The nuns continued to be warily accepting. The girls enrolled at Kylemore all gave him a wide berth… save one.
“Where are you from?” little Anne asked him one afternoon as he weeded the kitchen flower boxes.
He looked up, his gaze moving from her flour-dusted apron to her rolled-up blouse sleeves. “You should go mind the bread,” he advised gruffly.
“It’s raising,” she informed him and then doggedly insisted, “Are you from Dublin?”
“No, another place.”
“Is it pretty?” she wanted to know.
“It’s nice enough, I suppose.”
“So why are you here?”