I was cycling along Brighton Road last Saturday when I caught sight of something white out of the corner of my eye. Then I saw them – two girls, one in her Communion dress – skipping down the path of one of the houses.

My view was blocked by a parked van, so the girls disappeared from view until I was almost level with them. When I passed the van, I looked left to catch another sight of them.

The Communion girl was now standing on the path, waiting for me to come into view again. She looked at me confidently, standing still, facing the road. She smiled.

communion dress

The first thing that struck me was that she had waited there so she could be seen. Her look said: look at my lovely dress. Look at me. Am I not wonderful?

I thought of the day she would have. The Mass and the crisps back at her school, and the uncles smelling of tobacco and Old Spice who would fold notes into her hand, and the day of people coming and going.

I thought of her parents, wanting their home and their little girl and even themselves to look and seem at their best that day.

The confidence of the Communion girl’s gaze stayed with me for a long time that day. This is my day, it said, and am I not wonderful?