(The following story is written in 1st person, but is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real people or places are coincidental. I'm very glad my church is NOT like the one on my story. :) )
I saw my husband waiting in “our” pew – his balding head a little higher than most of the crowd.
When I spotted Aiesha half-way down the aisle, I squealed and grinned. We’d met at a Ladies Tea this past Tuesday, and she'd been on my heart all week.
Lots of people I invite say they’ll come to worship, but hardly any of them make good on their promise. But here was Aiesha, crossing the invisible barriers of race and status erected by man to step into the hope of God’s love.
I squeezed in beside Aiesha and gave her a hug. “I’m SOO glad you’re here. Ooh, and you must be Xavier.”
The little boy peeking out from behind Aiesha’s sweater ducked back into his hidey-hole.
“Is this place taken?” I twisted around and saw that her entire pew was vacant. “Can we sit with you?”
I turned to face the stately blue-hair behind us. “Oh, hello, Mrs. White. How are you this morning? Sounds like you might be catching something.”
“No.” The woman squared her already square shoulders and sniffed. “Must be something in the air today.” Sniff. Hrmph.
“I’ll pray it clears up soon, Mrs. White. Say, have you met Aiesha?” I put a hand on my new friend’s shoulder. “She’s visiting with us today. Aiesha, this is Margaret White. She’s been a member of this church since she was born. Her parents and her grandparents were all baptized here.”
“My children and grandchildren too.” Mrs. White ran her eyes over Aiesha’s Medusa-style braids, her coffee-smooth skin, her proud posture. Hmph “Lots of the church families have been here a long time. Our ancestors built this church after Sherman burned the original building down during the War of Northern Aggression.”
Aiesha offered her hand, but before she could speak, the first notes of the organ interrupted.
“Excuse me,” Mrs. White said. “I’d like to pray now if you don’t mind.”
“Oh…” Aiesha’s hand dropped back to her lap.
I met her pained eyes, and took the rejected hand in my own.
The whispers all around us carried farther than those speaking intended…
“Saw … just like her…Kroger’s…recognize the hair…food stamps!”
A chorus of discontented murmurs buzzed along the telephone line of gossip running down the pew.
I squeezed Aiesha’s hand and pulled her close. “Come on, sit with us. You can see and hear better in the front section. Besides, Ben's giving me the eye – he’s saving a spot.” I stole a peek at her precious little one. “Okay with you, Xavier?”
He poked his fuzzy little head out from behind his mom’s sweater like a turtle venturing out of his shell.
“I think I’ve got a coloring book and crayons in this big ol’ bag. Do you like to color?”
His smile was sunshine on my heart.
Still clasping Aiesha’s hand, I stood and tugged her toward the aisle.
Join the Fiction Friday Fun! Our hostess today is Christina Banks at Wtih Pen in Hand. Pop on over and add a link to your own fiction, or simply a little time reading .some awesome fiction.
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)