Near 500 words: The Church of the Almost Forgotten

Connie entered the Church of the Almost Forgotten and headed toward the altar. The Church was empty. A few votive candles and the light above the altar provided the only light. She slowly made her way toward her usual pew. She had come to have a conversation with her uncle, who had passed on ten years before.

She found a pew and took her seat on the wood. There wasn’t a riser for kneeling. The people who came here saw themselves as free people and they were not about to kneel to anyone, not even God.

As she sat contemplating, she let the silence embrace her heart. Then she whispered, “Uncle Matt, it’s me.” Connie was an atheist but there were times she needed to pretend there was an afterlife. The Church of the Almost Forgotten was the place to do that.

“I have a problem. I know you can’t help here but it’s nice just to bring it up to the silence.” She pushed her long auburn hair out of her face.

The silence didn’t answer.

“I think I am in love. The problem is that he is a Christian. Now, I know you didn’t have anything against Christians. And I don’t either. But he insists I convert.”

She waited, and wondered. What had she expected when she came here. Answers.

She continued, “And he’s pretty adamant about that. And he sticks to his Christian guns. He won’t even sleep with me till we’re married. In a church, no less.”

She studied the light above the altar. It was beautiful, its colors changing as it rotated slowly, almost imperceptibly.

“I haven’t been a virgin since I was fourteen. Boy, was that a mistake. I know you warned me, but he was all shiny and wonderful. A regular Lancelot. No wonder Guinevere fell for him with one fell swoop. The guy was irresistible. He sure charmed me out of my panties. You were right. He liked to collect panties. Thank, God. Oops. Sorry I mentioned that guy. It’s just a saying. Something you used to say. Well, I’m thankful he ditched me. Two weeks later, I caught him with my best friend. You know the old saying, ‘He came. He saw. He conquered.’”

Connie still couldn’t stand to see Judith’s face. Betrayer.

“All he wanted was a bit of tail, then it was off to the races again. But he got what he deserved. He got a bad case of the clap. He slept with one girl after another till he slept with the wrong bitch.”

Connie breathed a deep sigh. Five guys she had slept with, and all of them turned out not to be the one. How could she be so wrong about so many. And now this one, who wouldn’t sleep with her. Was it a ruse? Or was he the One every girl talked about? She might be an atheist, but she still had feelings. As many said of her poetry.

“Well, you know how it’s been. Watching me from the other side. Wondering how I can be such a pushover. And I know I am a pushover. Why don’t I just go out and have lots of sex and leave love be? I wish I could. My friend, Olivia, does. And she’s no worse for the wear. And she does have good advice. ‘Always make ‘em wear a condom.’

“I’ve been tempted. And I have done it from time to time. But, I don’t know, Quinton seems so genuine. I met his parents last weekend. Beautiful people.”

Connie looked at her watch. If she didn’t leave soon, she’d be running late.

“Well, thanks for listening. I really appreciate your time.”

She slipped out of the pew and headed toward the giant wooden doors. As she closed the doors behind her, she thought she heard from inside the Church, “No problem.”

She turned to check and opened the door once again. There was no one there.

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