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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Baptism by Fire - Part 1


I didn’t see it coming, not even as we walked up the steep steps and pushed against the heavy the doors of Saint Joseph’s Catholic church.  Not for one tiny moment did I think to put up my guard, gird myself for what now I see as the inevitable.  We were late for the service and, dressed in our scrubs, tucked ourselves into one of the back rows, my preceptor and I.  

We stood for the reading and my knees melted into gelatin and my heart swelled in my throat as though to choke me.  The organ screeched, assaulting my ears and any hope I might have entertained of finding any peace in that place.  Easing myself back into the pew, eyes teeming with tears and fighting sobs, I held Debra’s hand but it wasn’t enough.  I left as unobtrusively as I could, Debra close behind me in spite of my protests that she stay. 

There, sitting in the cool breeze on the steps of the church, I stared into the black hole, my constant if not always conscious companion.  I wavered on the brink, stared into the darkness - and stared it down - looked instead to the blue sky crowded with powder puffs  clouds and breathed in the perfumed air of spring in Macon.  

A funeral, my first since Clint’s death.  I wanted to scream, shout into the fresh air, pollute it with obscenities, rale against the so-called god to whom the worshippers inside were praying.  My reactivated grief and anger fell over me like a fog, and I stood, brushed off my clothes and picked my way past the black hole and into the church.

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