Hump Day Quickie #78

Posted: September 16, 2015 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , ,

Knight to King’s Bishop 3
by David Shakes

My footsteps echo around the high vaulted ceiling. Just my steps, if God is with me then he’s already seated. The checkerboard floor seems analogous – life being a game of chess played against an undefeated grandmaster. What is his game plan? Unknowable. Some of us never make it past the opening moves, caught in a checkmate we never see coming; others limp on as piece by piece disappear from the board until only one remains, shuffling from square to square in hopeless desperation.

It’s been years since I set foot inside a place of worship, but the reverential acts are still strong in my memories, ingrained through repetition. I do not repeat them, instead I sit down on an uncomfortable chair and gaze at the opulent splendour around me. How much would one of these paintings fetch? How many mouths could that money feed? If the church were to sell off its assets, invest in medical research, then maybe I’d not be sat here in the first place.

Is He even going to listen to me now? Like many, I’ve spent years denying Him, only to slink back in a crisis, begging for help. Where else can you go when the doctors say that’s it? We all find faith in our darkest moments. I scratch at the stubble on my head with trembling fingers. I open my mouth to pray but a deep sob escapes me and I crumple.

Soft hands grip my shoulders, soothing words are whispered in my ears. I do not know this person but my fragile bones soak up the warmth from their embrace. The church has dimmed except for the pool of light in the arched doorway I’m led to. Instead of the afterlife, I walk through into a grey October morning.

“Coffee?” The impossibly young priest inquires, all fresh faced and worthy.

“Is God buying?” I ask.

“No, I am,” he says, smiling. “But He’ll probably take a decaf.”

The sound of my own laughter surprises me.

We cross the street together and find a booth in the busy coffee lounge. I’m unsurprised by its checkerboard floor.

Maybe I’ve a few moves left.


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