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A Christmas Story
December 24, 2007.

The church is completely crowded. Half an hour ago it was announced that there was standing room only; now there isn’t even that. So many people turned up for the service that they may have to start turning people away.

I didn’t want to go this year. Or any other year. My family insisted this time. When they went to find their seats I went upstairs, to sit in the balcony. For the view, I told them, but really I didn’t want them to see me stay still when everyone else knelt to pray, or hear me choke down my laughter when the collection basket came my way. 

I am seated in the second row, at the aisle, next to complete strangers. I did not kneel before entering the pew. My hands are clean of holy water. And, for the last few hours, I have let the preacher’s words wash over me, carrying all the personal meaning of an Algebra lesson.

At one point in the service small white candles were handed out to everyone, paper holders around the bottom to catch the wax. Everyone stands now, for the singing. I remain seated, let the crowd block my view, and gently graze my skin with the small flame. Blisters mar the otherwise clear skin of my wrist.

A small tear rolls down my cheek. The woman next to me, a kind elderly lady with a rosary wound around her wrist, notices and hands me a tissue. She smiles, thinking I have been unspeakably moved by the service. I smile back.

I am crying because, in this building full of light, surrounded by likely a few hundred people, who have come together to celebrate their joy and faith, and with a lit candle in my hand, I feel such a chill.

At the end of the service, I will be the only person here who sinned more by showing up than they would have by staying home.
The Universe is expanding<br />But I don't feel a damn thing<br />There's nothing you can do about it <br />Keep on dancing<br /><br />- That Handsome Devil, &quot;Loving Parasite&quot;
You're a good writer. It conveys a sense of being very alone even amidst so many people. I'll bet there were others in the congregation too who felt alienated and empty, but it's not always visible from the outside.
Thank you for a glimpse of the view through your eyes.  I was a beautiful and somber story.
A wasted life! This sad refrain Comes surging through my ears again; ~Illawarra Mercury, April 8, 1884~
Wow your writing skills blow me away. I am just a two bid writer myself lol. But you are really good. I actually got into the story. I can relate to you/your character in the story. When my parents drag me to church I try not to do anything if I can get away with it. I just don't believe it thus I don't do what everyone else does there.


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