I had been to a church service, and the people seemed friendly. It was mother’s day, and they had given each woman a lovely pair of earrings, which someone had made by hand. It warmed my heart. I was contacted by a lay preacher, and she invited me to a morning tea at a café with the ladies. I wanted to be connected, despite it being an evangelical church, with arms raised and eyes closed. Not a scene I was familiar with. Despite only being able to mumble, having my face bandaged, bruised and stitched, I decided to go. Hubby was going to drop me off, and mind our three year old daughter. The ladies gasped at my visage as I sat down, and smiled at this fragile creature. It was as though we were from two different planets. I was given a gift of a book written by one of their members, and said my thanks as I ordered a water. My back was turned to the fountain behind. A woman shrieked, “look at that little girl! Where on earth are her parents!” I turned slowly and saw my child completely saturated, in the fountain. “The water is dirty!” someone else chimed in. Hubby was trying to coax her out, to no avail. My free-spirited child was having the time of her life. In his flustered state, he finally handed over our dripping, shivering little girl to me, and hollered over his shoulder that he was going to duck into the shops to get her fresh clothes. He disappeared, and I shrouded my child in my coat as all chatter ceased. Awkwardness reigned, as did judgement. I felt exposed, not cut out for this particular group. I surveyed the perfect talons, the coiffed hair, the diamond rings and pressed outfits. It seemed like an age until hubby returned. It was the same week that he came back from an errand to the electrical store to buy a new speaker, and came back with a flat screen television and brackets, so our daughter could watch her shows from the comfort of her bed. He took it back on my insistence. As I slowly rose, I called out a meek farewell, and went off with my two ragamuffins. I drank wine that night, knowing I would not be courted by these ladies. I thanked the fountain, knowing that it had washed me clean. Clean of the misguided notion that I didn’t belong. Three years have passed. My scars have healed, and these two ragamuffins are by my side. These women are still having their coffee meetings. I was never invited to another.