monologue at 3 a.m.

i have been one acquainted with the night...

name:robin    residence: dayton, ohio, united states
et cetera

Monday, February 14, 2005

Let It Snow (part 1)

I swung the door shut on my white Shadow and stood in the parking lot staring at the steeple that loomed high above me. Gray and weathered, it had seen better days. But then, so had I. I wondered if this time would be any different. My doubt punctuated by little clouds of breath, I trudged against the impinging cold. I must have passed a dozen rows in that parking lot, all littered with mini-vans and family cars. I imagined all the happy little families that must ride about in them. Sitting in the pews. Smiling. All being good little Christians. Right down to the gurgling babies in their mothers’ laps.

It was silent outside the church. Save the scraping of my high heels across the concrete sidewalk. I teetered up the well-worn cement steps and noticed a woman watching me from the glass double doors. No, I was mistaken. It was not a woman that stood looking at me, but a girl. A girl who was playing dress-up in her mother’s clothes. A black skirt hung loosely on her; hose gathered about her ankles like elephant skin. The winter coat barely clung to her shoulders. She wore a grimace upon her naked lips. They twisted into a wry smirk as I reached for the door. I clutched the handle, and her hand melded into the doorframe. I left her on the other side of the glass and made my way down an orange-carpeted hall. Wood paneling flanked me on either side. Music filtered through the walls and assailed my head with the standard assortment of piano, organ, and voice. I ascended the balcony stairway slowly, reluctant to join the ranks of those singing. Atop the staircase, I faltered. All those cheerful faces. Devout people. What was I doing there?

I pondered turning around, running for my car, escaping that place. I would rather have been anywhere but there. Home was where I really wanted to be. I wanted to see mom again, to talk to her, to tell her how sorry I was, to hear her say my name. I would have given anything for her to speak to me again. But I couldn’t do anything about that. Not anymore.

Nevertheless, I stayed in the church. Why, I couldn’t say. But I stayed just the same. I quietly slid into the nearest pew. I doubted the lady next to that vacancy even noticed me filling it. She was devoting all her concentration to the hymnal clasped in her wrinkled hands. She still sang off key. I felt foolish sitting there watching her. Looking for faith in my orange pew. It wasn’t long though, before the hymn reached its last refrain and the preacher moved to the pulpit. He looked a bit odd behind that large wooden stump of a podium. Like a bust that is kept on display in a museum. He was an average looking man. Average for a preacher at least. Gray headed and a little portly he stood a couple feet taller than the podium. He looked to be around the age my father should be. Would be. If things had been different.


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