Church in a Mall

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PHOTO: Shravan Vijayabaskaran, Unsplash

I think he begged, or I called. I can’t remember.

But the worship team arrived, putting on their service smiles and filling up the awkward silence with their white man bullshit, the gardening stuff ordinary people say to ward off evil spirits.

I couldn’t. Two more days, so I told them off. I said all of the things I could not say. I looked the paper pastor dead in the eyes, the one who seemed to want me inside of him, and denied his church three times, just to be clear. His wife looked away, glancing down at her 1,904 friends — an arm’s length away from redemption.

The rage shook until I freed it with my verbal dagger aimed straight into their hearts. I remember clenching so hard one of my teeth broke free, then I left them with their shock and outrage, and him to make his polite apologies. Such a familiar story.

I walked into a random not-so-random store where Christina showed me around the Pandora’s box. She took the trinket I not-so-accidentally held onto.

None of it mattered. They’re currently on a boat, bathed in the glorious light of His unconditional conditional love.

 

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Mochi

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PHOTO: Gaelle Marcel, Unsplash

Boots on the ground. Someone asks for breakfast. All I can find are one or two eggs sitting on the counter at this favorite diner in the middle of Tokyo Town in the Mid-West. I look down on my eggs frying in an ashtray, as the old Japanese lady lay dying by the open window 12 feet away.

She ran the diner with a firm, gentle hand, singing out her bento orders, surrounded by the small talk of young people ready for bigger things. Small and frail, she would always make room for me, saying my name in Broken English, “Ca-dole” very carefully.

On Fridays, I’d find pink, heart-shaped mochi in my pocket on the way out.

I could feel her last breath fill the room as the sound of those boots pounded in my head, surrounded by the love of the weak and the helpless, drained by compassion. I am sickened by my servile design, desperately searching for another egg that will not crack the yolk. I am running out of time.

(But I only wanted to sit quietly by her makeshift bed, with a handful of the others, waiting to die.)