Three reverberating tongs of the church bell tower. Three soul crushing collisions of metal against metal. The grating of rust. The particles of dust drifting slowly down from the rafters below the church spire. From my pew I sit, resting my feet from their courageous – no – their cowardly flight from unholy men.
You’re never supposed to find yourself alone in a muddy alley. The darkness of night crowding down onto you, the claustrophobia of the stories of brick walls. Only light at one end, like the birthing track every child born must survive. You’re never supposed to find yourself in the middle, taunted by the shadows and the clicks of unseen men.
But you will feel shame. Always shame, but for that fleeting moment when you realize you’re still breathing. That the man did not kill you. That excruciatingly brief moment when you can open your eyes and not see him. You can open your mouth and not taste the stench of him. That single, solitary moment when your brain doesn’t realize how unclean you have become. How dirty he made you. The whispers in your ear of the good girl you are, but the tearing of your insides while you internally scream out in defiance of his commanding hold.
In the pew I rest my soul. In my body’s cemetery filled with holy light where only the tears of Christ can wipe away the dirt and blood which now splinters my spirit. No prayers cross my lips, no God traces footprints in my heart. The man on the stage, fumbling through his sermon dares not look down from his pulpit to this diseased, false parishioner. Weary of his position, fearful of his duty. He knows what little he can do for me. Yet to look down and face me boldly; to defy his own guilt of a man of no action – oh the fires of hell he would see in my eyes.