“So God.  I’m here.  Are you?”

Rebecca walked through the grand church nave, her footsteps echoing in the cold, empty building.  Uncannily like the life she felt she led.  A void with just her thoughts bouncing back to haunt her.  She hadn’t been to a church service since she was a little girl when her parents would take her at Yule time for the Christingle service.  She would marvel at her candle in a real orange and  keep that piece of fruit for ages, by her bed, until the skin turned green and the fruits dried out.   

Rebecca liked the feeling of the church, even though she wasn’t really sure about the whole God thing.  There was something about the place that felt supernatural.  Maybe it was because it was built on lay lines or that it had an energy of faith from the hoards of believers who prayed and sang inside it every week.  She didn’t really know how to define spiritual but if it had a feeling then the inside of a church was it.  And the smell of the place: a mixture of dry stone, candle wax, damp wood and incense. The scent of holiness.

Mid morning, mid week was the best time to be here, she’d found.  The place was empty but the doors were always open, allowing a free sneak into the house of God.  Even the vergers door was locked; absent administrators.  But Jesus was always present, hanging in pity with open arms.  Glorified in golden sacrifice.; Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum.   Rebecca stared at the shining statue, suspended from the arched, hammerbeam roof and understood for the first time. 

She walked to the front, choosing the bread pews to the right like a pourper would have done, on the north side of the church where the sinners sat. Backs to the wall.  She had a good vantage point here.  The wood on the benches was rich and shiny from over varnishing and a hand embroidered prayer cushion sat at her feet.  The work of an old, Christian spinster, she imagined.  She leaned forward, resting her elbows on the shelf in front and clasped her hands together in prayer fashion.  Why do we do that?   She wondered, quickly undoing them and placing them back in her lap.  

“OK”  She whispered, breathing in deeply and staring at the pulpit as if the invisible almighty was standing there.  

“So God, I don’t come to service but I do pray to you.  You’ve heard them, right? But you never answer.   Did I do something wrong or are you not really there? Do I incite great wrath in you, like I do to him? I find you a bit frightening, if I’m honest but you forgive right?  That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it.  Forgiveness. I try to forgive, Lord, every time it happens.  But it still happens again and again.  See God, I can’t take it anymore and nobody’s listening.  I know later that they’ll wish they had but that’s not how it works, is it.  I’ve tried, God but I’m tired.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  This life.  I think things will be better if I’m not around, you know?  And I don’t want to just disappear because I’ll get found or I’ll have to develop a new strategy, a new life.  Constantly looking over my shoulder. Wondering. Feeling scared.  I just want nothingness.  To be gone from this plain; this pain.  Hoping that, well...that you are really there and I can have peace in your Paradise.  Be wiped clean.  Rest for a while.  If I’m not here then it can’t happen anymore.  So, please, this is my final call out and the one I want you to hear.  Let me just leave and come to Heaven.”

Rebecca started to feel cold like the big, grey stones of the walls were seeping into her bones.  Her arms were feeling floppy and her breathing shallow and quick.  It was almost the same as when he struck her, again and again except she couldn’t smell the sickly, sour stench of beer permeating her nostrils as he spat his bitter taunts.  The ones that beat down her confidence as his fists beat against her head and body.  She lay down on the wooden pew; her topless coffin.  She was tired now, so tired and the nearby marble statue of an angel seemed to be peering down and hovering. Flying down to collect her.  It wouldn’t be long now, she hoped.  The concoction of tablets she’d taken before she left home would work on her quickly and she’d be at peace.  From Gods’ house to Gods’ house. Liberated from the poisonous, empty smile of the man who was supposed to love her. 

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