workshop writing


He sat in the empty church, waiting. The red candle over the tabernacle burned with barely a flicker, its light dim. What happened, he wondered, to the body of Christ if the damn candle burned out? Did it lose those super powers Gran always said it had? Who keeps track of candle burnage? He wondered. A priest wouldn’t bother himself with housekeeping, would he?

He shifted in his seat and pulled down the kneeler. Five hours in the car and he was stiff, and didn’t feel like sitting to wait, especially on the hard pew. His knees popped as he bent down, and he looked around to see if anyone else had heard, but he was alone, of course. It was nearly midnight, after all. He could have walked around while he waited. Stood in the back of the nave, even. But that felt a little disrespectful, somehow, even if he was alone.

So he knelt because it seemed like a good compromise.

He rested against the back of the pew and sheepishly found himself making the sign of the cross. Old habits die hard, he thought, and remembered Gran kneeling next to him, worrying her beads and moving her lips.

From the other side of the altar the Blessed Virgin looked down at the flowers scattered at her feet. She was smiling, maybe, if you thought the upturns at the corners of her mouth signaled happiness. Of course, once finding herself fourteen and pregnant, she might also have been slightly bewildered by the strange turn of events her life had taken.

Isn’t that just like life, he thought.


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