The nights were different. Despite her
extraordinary strength she could not repress her long suffering heart as she jumped from her bed shrieking.
Into the darkness she thrust a hand reaching for the gun. Once grasped, she waved it at ghostly pursuers
who seemed to materialize out of her nightmares.
By any standard, Mary was not a religious woman,
had a large portrait of a man she admired very much on the wall,
just above her bed.
She idolized that man much like religous people idolized Jesus,
or Mother Mary, or some other Saint.
Though her own name, 'Mary,' was considered holy by some, because it was the same name
as the mother of Jesus, she didn't feel this way about her name.
Even as she felt no religious or even spiritual affinity for her name sake 'Mary,' her adoration
of the man in the portrait just above her bed some would have said didn't come from respect,
but a hidden spiritual impulse she could never openly admit to herself, or to anyone else.
The picture, because it was simply a picture, was not much more effective than the picture
of Jesus, or any other picture of a deity in the home of the religious. Nevertheless, there it was,
offering Mary some undefinable comfort
Despite his honored presence in her life, the picture could not make her feel safe enough to stop her frightening nightmares, even if it was a picture of Stalin.