This is the second story I submitted to the Word art show in Harrisonburg this past February. As I mentioned last week, I’m only beginning to write short stories, and I’m hoping to feature more of them on my blog along with my other reflections. This one is especially personal to me since I drew from my own experiences during my faith crisis. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
She came back home from school on Friday, and at her mother’s insistence, she woke up early and went to church on Sunday. After the pastor finished his sermon, a fiery warning about the wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing, she promptly left before any of her old friends and mentors noticed she was even there. She sat in the very back row at the beginning, and as she left, she refused to meet anyone’s eyes. No one could know she was back, and no one could know that she didn’t want to be there anymore.
Although she left in a hurry, one small thing made Lizzie stop in her tracks right in front of the front doors. It was the framed picture on the wall in front of the office of the man with blue eyes, long blonde hair, and a peaceful gaze towards heaven. Since she didn’t have to worry about meeting anyone for another minute or two, she allowed herself a moment to stare into the man’s beautiful kind eyes.
Before Lizzie started school, she used to stop and stare at this picture often. She used to look into the man’s eyes and see a love that surpassed understanding, a presence that remained with her in her loneliest times, the reason she could live fully and happily forever.
But Lizzie didn’t see that now, not anymore. All she could see when she looked into his peaceful eyes was all the bodies still broken and dying after the prayer vigils, the red, white, and blue flag hanging below the crucifix, the golden leaves engraved with the names of donors, and the condemnations spewed from the pulpit. But mostly, Lizzie saw the books she hadn’t been allowed to read, the movies she hadn’t been allowed to watch, the questions she hadn’t been allowed to ask, and the sweet little gift-wrapped answers that had been casually tossed to her in moments of unfathomable pain and confusion.
She looked into his eyes and saw nothing but lies.
“What are you hiding from me?” she screamed into his perfectly painted pale face.
But he didn’t meet her furious glare, nor did he hear her outraged cry. Instead, he continued to stare up into a world she was convinced only existed in his imagination.