Author’s Note: It has been a while since I have posted on this site. This next piece is not completely finished, and your comments on how to improve it would be greatly appreciated. Some of the conversation in this piece may be considered offensive. None is particularly vulgar, you just may not agree with the themes discussed in this piece. Enjoy.
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There were whispers of prayer, quiet moments stolen with God from the 150-odd teenagers that were crammed into the Main Hall. The teenagers were bunched together in groups with infinite flexibility, some had three, other numbered in the tens. There was, in particular, a small group near to the large glass doors. It was small, compared to the other groups, numbering only five. They spent much less time praying than the rest, probably due to the small number of people, but nevertheless, the time was much reduced. They broke away from the confines of the circle, and quietly began chattering about the events of the past week. One group member said his goodbyes and left abruptly, turning through the glass doors to the open courtyard outside.
He walked down the seven steps to the floor, and then walked across to the gate. He walked up to one of the girls standing next to it and tapped her gently on the shoulder.
“I need to talk with you,” he whispered.
“Alright,” she kissed her boyfriend on the cheek and turned to him.
“Back there.” He pointed to a small sign that hung on an equally small door. “Prayer Room”, was the label. They walked next to each other until they reached the door, where he opened it and let her walk in, and then closed it.
“I just want to say that I’m sorry…” he began falteringly, “I mean, it’s none of my business what the two of you want to do, but I’m concerned…”
“About what?” she said, and then she realized what he was talking about. “Look Mark, I told you that if you didn’t like it that I’d back off. Don’t you trust me?”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just that I wanted to tell you how much he’s changed…”
“Changed? Who? Oh, Ken. Well, you tell me, how has he changed?” before he could begin, she interrupted. “Wait, you’ve already tried to tell me this, haven’t you? A few weeks ago, on the internet, right?”
“Yeah, but I didn’t think that you were listening…”
“I was listening,” she said.
“No, I meant really listening,” Mark replied. “Look, Anna, you don’t live around him all the time, you don’t know how different he is. You only see his good side, the side that he wants you to see. You are his girlfriend, but he doesn’t tell you everything…I mean, he’s just different.”
“I can’t tell anything.”
“Exactly, that’s my point. I think that he’s so wrapped up in your troubles that he’s beginning to get overwhelmed with his own, and it’s made him different. To be honest, I think that you two are way too serious for this time in your relationship.”
“Serious? You think that we’re to serious?” she reached into her back pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. “This! Do you see this? This is the only serious thing that I’ve done in my life!”
Realization dawned on Mark, “That’s your monologue, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” she replied. “I don’t know why I care so much about it, but I do. It’s the only thing about me that has ever been serious.”
“Why?” asked Mark.
“I don’t know! I don’t even know if I believe in God anymore!”
“Because he’s never said anything to me, he’s never made himself known. I’m just so mad at him. He never listens to me! Never, ever at all!”
“You hear what you’re saying? Guess what, Anna, God’s listening to that now.”
“Well, I just wish that he would come down here and sit in my bedroom and say something, just to get him on the planet.”
“Sorry, Anna, you missed him by about 2000 years.”
“I meant today, genius.”
“I knew that. I’m just trying to lighten the mood…”
They sat in the room for a few silent moments. The only noise was the ceiling fan spinning in perpetual circles.
“Can I tell you something?”
“If you want to Anna…”
“The only…the only reason…that I’m alive today…is because…because…the knife wasn’t sharp enough!” she broke down into tears. “And…and, my Dad, he said that if…if I ever tried anything like that again, that he’d…he’d…my Dad doesn’t love me…”
Mark picked her up off of the chair and held her in his arms. “Listen, I can’t tell you that your dad cares, because I don’t know, but I can tell you this. I care. Ken cares. Greg and Emma care. All of your friends care…”
He held her for a moment, sobbing in his arms. Then he looked at her. “Anna, listen to me. You have to tell someone. I can’t answer your questions, I can’t solve you problems, I can’t make everything alright.”
“Yes, yes you can,” she said. “I want you to teach me everything I need to know…”
“I can’t,” he said. “I can’t, and I can’t tell anyone else. That’s up to you.”
She began to cry again. Mark backed slowly towards the door. He put his hand on the knob and turned it, and stepped into the courtyard. “The rest,” he said, “is up to you…”