Photo © Tosinger
Gabby could have sworn that she heard organ music. It came as a surprise since she was meant to be alone in the building. She felt like Alice in Wonderland as she held on to the long-handled broom and walked up and down the church hallway. There were no holes in sight. Not like she was foolish enough to follow a talking rabbit if she saw one.
Gabby was six when her Nanna told her the story. Her first sentence was that Alice’s mama didn’t raise her right. Who didn’t know about stranger danger? Nanna had wacked her on the side of the head with the hardcover book. She didn’t like folks talking about other folks around her. Particularly on a Sunday evening.
The music started up again. Curious, Gabby stopped in front of the chapel’s double wooden doors. She blew out a puff of warm air as she turned the brass door handle. The chapel was empty. Mesmerized by the shimmering colors of the stained glass window behind the pulpit, she shuffled size eleven sneakers to the front for a closer look.
Gabby’s jaw dropped when the image appeared. There was no mistaking the veiled, oval-shaped head. It was the Virgin Mary. She had read about a man who saw the image in his blob of toothpaste. The blob was sold on eBay for three hundred dollars. The toothbrush was free.
As Gabby thought of the potential payout, her excitement grew. She was down to her last five-dollar bill. She doubted the church would let her take the window but perhaps they wouldn’t mind offering a finder’s fee? She took a second look. This time, the shiny blue and red colors brought the image of an Afro-wearing Harlem Globetrotter. She squeezed her eyes shut. Aargh!
The loud chime of the grandfather clock out on the hallway made Gabby jump. Her supervisor was coming to check up on her and she was at least fifteen minutes behind on her cleaning tasks. Not the best way to start her second day on a job she’d begged for. Gabby grabbed the broom she’d leaned against a pew and ran towards the door.
The music swirled around her. Gabby recognized the hymn. Just as I Am, Without One Plea. One of Nanna’s favorites. Her grandmother’s face flashed before her eyes. Their last conversation was a heated argument. Gabby took a deep breath. Leaving home at sixteen wasn’t as sweet as her friends had made it out to be. Yes, it was nice to be the boss of herself. But the joys of couch surfing had worn out. And the perpetual state of hunger was messing with her head. It was time to call home. Gabby felt lighter as she made her way out of the room.
© 2014 Yejide Kilanko