Every Sunday like clockwork, up for church. The day before, we had confessed for our sins . I defiled my temple. I marked it. I don’t really know if that’s a sin but it was the worst I had done. That week anyway. My alarm was going off when I was already up.
“What am I going to do?” I was nervous. Right after my confession, Father Daniels asked to see me when church was over on Sunday. Today was Sunday. And in about four hours, I’ll be in his office. Unplugging the alarm, I scrambled out of my bed to go to the bathroom. I was always the first one up. The first to do anything. And first, I was going to take a shower. Fully undressed with the door locked behind me, I turn the knob to start the hot water. Using that time to wait, I pulled my hair into a bun just so all of it wouldn’t get wet. With the water reaching my desired temperature, I went in just to let the warmth sooth my nerves. Simultaneously, I poured soap onto my loofah and began to scrub away.
Wrapped up in my robe, I sat at my vanity and looked in the mirror. I looked worried. I felt worried. I was worried. Applying my red lipstick to accentuate my pout as a part of my final makeup must, I swung myself around and walked to the closet.
“A light blue pencil skirt with a white tank top underneath and matching heels should work .” For a brief moment, I reconsidered the red lipstick. But I needed something bold . So I kept it. Nearly ready to go I left my room to walk into the living room and put the jacket and shoes by the front door. Everyone else was jumping out of the shower and getting dressed. While the family was getting ready for service I decided to make toast, eggs and bacon for breakfast. Fast, easy and sustainable because church was hours on end. Even more so for me today.
“Morning, Sinny!” There went twin number one.
“Hey, sis.” Sluggish twin number two. I looked at them and smiled. I always thought, “If I were a twin, would we split the family sin/curse?” It’s something I think about daily. It’s not like I’m going to get an answer. But I feel like it’s a legitimate question.
“Hey, can I have four pieces of bacon?” Playfully, I smacked the back of my brother’s head as a response. He smiled and knew the answer. Everyone fixed their plates and enjoyed their breakfast.
“Sinderella, you coming home after church?” That nickname. I always hated it. I knew Mom meant no harm in it, but still. She could have picked a better one. Nodding because I had a mouth full of food, I hid my mouth with my hand to answer her more in-depth .
“Yes, Mama . But I may be late. Father wants to speak to me after mass.” That seemed to concern my mother. Like I did something wrong. Like I had done the ultimate sin. I didn’t pay her any mind. Merely ignored her. I am a good girl. Mother knows I’m a good daughter. I’m older than she was when she had me. I have no kids. Nor have I had sex. Of any kind. Mother needn’t worry about anything.
Breakfast was just about gone, we all put our plates in the sink and headed for the front door. We always took separate cars, Mom and I. After mass, I used to go hang out with my girls while they’d take grams home for some food and I’d meet them later.
This time I wasn’t driving myself. I was taking a twin. Because in just three minutes, my siblings managed to get into a physical altercation. I shook my head and just open my car, throwing my jacket and shoes in the passenger seat. Marcus was behind me listening to his “iwhatever” fully over what had just transpired earlier. I started the car and pulled out of the driveway. Steadily, we made our way onto the highway on route to church. Lost in thought in the diamond lane, my focus was brought back to reality when Marcus asked me a question.
“What’s the father want with you?” I saw him look at me in the rear view mirror. He looked concerned.
“Why? Are you worried? I mean, I’m sure I’ll be fine. It’s not like I committed a murder. This is just a tattoo.” He didn’t look too reassured so I gave him a smile and told him not to worry. But it was hard telling him not to worry when I didn’t even know what to expect myself.
Making an exit off the highway, I kept driving towards the church. As I drove through the buildings parking lot, I remembered something.
“It’s first Sunday isn’t it Marcus?” He nodded as I pulled into an available spot and put the car in park. I sat there momentarily to put on my shoes and take a deep breath. Pushing the door open, I finally stepped out with my jacket, closed the door and locked it behind me while I met up with my family. Marcus had long been out of the car to meet up with some friends of his but always sat with us. I don’t really know why we all sit together. Even dad sits near us with his family. It’s odd. But there we were, sitting there and church was about to commence. After an hour of choir and prayer, it was time for communion. Every other time it felt normal. I felt normal. Like a routine thing. Nothing new. Same old thing. But this time, I felt him looking at me. I wasn’t even near the father and I felt him. Church was huge so I was in line for about 20 minutes before I could take my bread and wine. As I waited my turn, I noted that people came more on first Sunday than any other Sunday.
“Lazy bums..” I said under my breath with a little side-eye action. Immediately, I shrugged it off and kept walking up. My stomach was turning. There I was. Two helpers and the Father. The bread was being placed on my tongue. Then I walked over to drink the blood of Christ. Last, a quick prayer from the father. As I knelt down before him, I felt something I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have felt. His hand was placed on my head while he was praying over me. As he finished, an Amen was uttered and I repeat it. As I opened my eyes to look at him, his hand quickly slid down my face with his thumb tugging my bottom lip giving me a smirk before I stood to walk back to my seat. I wondered if anyone saw this. Or did I imagine it? As I found my seat, I sucked my bottom lip in. That felt real. The whole thing felt too real.
Sitting down, mass prayer had begun again.
“Please kneel before the Lord our God and Savior Jesus Christ and join us in prayer.” He looked the part of the father. But even I know looks can be deceiving. Father Daniels was young-looking. Maybe 32 years of age. Maybe younger. And had been here since Father O’Leary had passed away several years ago. Father Daniel was the youngest to lead the flock in our Church’s history. He is an amazing leader. He preached equally about good times and hard times. Everything wasn’t always about the love of God. It was equally about His disappointment or hurt. This way of teaching makes God real to me. My ultimate parent. And Daniels taught us that. Which threw me off with the minor interaction we had at communion. Then again, it could have been nothing. It could have been all in my head. Being reeled out of my thought, I joined the church in kneeling prayer. Two more hours of prayer followed by one last preach and my time was up. I was glad to pray. I wasn’t anywhere near ready to learn about my punishment for marking my temple.