It is raining. Your shoes squeak as you follow him down the aisle. You’re wearing Chucks. In a Catholic church. On a Sunday. This is what happens when you let him surprise you.
He crouches – head, chest, left, right. You follow suit, surprised to see him still standing when you look up.
He tells you that he likes the aisle, holding his right hand towards the pew. You slide in, sitting down far enough away from the aisle for him to sit. When he does, your thighs touch. You shift towards the middle.
The woman in front of you is clutching rosary beads, amber colored and draped gracefully across her knuckles. They remind you of the ones hanging next to your desk at home – made of olive wood and carefully carved by a monk who gave them to your parents on a street in Italy. You can feel the wood drape over your fingers.
Your eyes wander during the service, tracing the paintings on the walls and the arches in the corners and the lines of his neck, which make him seem regal, even just sitting in a pew.
Your knees scream at you when you kneel while the rest of them pray. You don’t know if he participates because you are lost in your head, thinking of spiritual things and the way the church grounds looked and how good he smells.
The ride home is silent. You say that you liked the service, and you thank him for taking you; he hugs you over the seatbelt as you sit in front of your house and says that you should go again.
Inside, you pick up the rosary beads. They drape over your fingers and you kneel at the edge of your bed, pressing the beads to your chest.
Is this how she felt?
Melissa Boles is a writer, storyteller, and impatient optimist from the Pacific Northwest who recently launched thestoryarttells.com to help connect people to art and discuss the intersection of art and mental health. Melissa has been published on thekindredvoice.com, twloha.com, and thewriteteachers.com. You can find her at MelissaBoles.org or at @melloftheball.