Congratulations to Dani on the winning post. I'd love to see how it turns out, Dani.
The day is still sharp in my fading memories. I had been utterly alone the day we met. I had been guided by wind and rain, but I feel there was more purpose in my steps than I had first realized.
The whoosh of the wind was silenced the moment I stepped over the threshold and I was aware of the warmth from within. The quiet was only noticed in that first moment, for just after I was filled with other sounds. The rafters creaked ever so slightly from the strain of the wind from outside. I wondered at first if it were empty, but then I could hear soft breathes from the warm bodies that sat within. In my mind's eye I imagined them sitting in their pews awaiting the man that could come enlighten their lives' purposes.
I took a few steps forward, feeling ahead with my cane as an organ started to play an instrumental version of "Nearer My God to Thee". I thought to myself that I must be just on time then. My cane touched something hard and I reached my hand forward until I felt the smooth top curve of a familiar wooden-backed bench.
It seems every church has the same pews for their congregations. Some slightly less uncomfortable than others, but usually I feel they are made intentionally hard so as to avoid people nodding off in the middle of a sermon. From what I've heard and witnessed, those intentions have failed. Then again, I'd imagine if the benches were padded comfortably, I'd be among those who snored allowed in the middle of a hymnal.
I had smiled to my private silly thoughts as I sat feeling quite alone among the other breathing bodies I could sense ahead of me. I hadn't checked to see if anyone sat on the bench I inhabited, but I didn't much care. If anyone was there, I'd know the moment they shifted their weight. So I waited.
Smooth footsteps announced someone's deliberate walk and I assumed they belonged to a pastor or bishop, whatever this sect was exactly, because the person walked with purpose.
Then again, I could have been mistaken. The steps had turned and were approaching. I grew a little uncomfortable as I realized the purpose I had assumed in the sound could possibly be someone walking in a huff of anger instead. Yet here, in a chapel, would be the last I'd expect to hear that.
Then I heard her sniff. It was a woman. I lowered my head so she couldn't suspect how aware I was of her. A sob escaped from her lips and she whisked past me like a gust of wind. The hymn had continued without rest as though the distraught woman had not existed at all. I remember wondering what could possibly have been the matter. Then I had heard it in their breathing. The woman had effected the others in front of me as well. They were each sniffing a little more and I could swear one of them was getting close to a sob as well... Had I walked in on a funeral?
Unsure of what to do now, I sat and waited more. I hadn't much else to do, really. Then again, I had no right to trespass on some stranger's farewell. So just as I decided to lift myself back to a standing position and quietly make my leave, I was startled by a whisper much closer to me than I had sensed anyone to be.
"Are you blind?" the voice said. I imagined the voice belonged to a child with big curious eyes and a slight smile. The harsh and critical hush from nearby confirmed that I was probably right.
"No, my dear." I replied softly, "I just don't see with my eyes anymore like you do."
The silence that followed had me wondering whether or not they had left me. Or if I had imagined the whisper in the first place. But again just as I again shifted my weight to leave the little voice appeared again.
"My granddaddy can't see anymore either."
I could tell this mother was impatient with the young one. But I didn't know what to say, so I just smiled and hoped they saw.
And that was how it began.
It's getting long...so I'll continue elsewhere. :)
Visit Wood and Pixels Narrative to see more of Dan's inspiring photos.