We think long and hard before we agree. It would be impossible to take the boys to a three hour Church service but that’s no reason to deny my daughter the chance to go with her pal. I write out our telephone numbers on cards, one for my daughter and one for pal’s mother as they have been mislaid again. It seems like the ideal opportunity to expose my daughter to a different way of life, as well as inform pal’s mum that my name is not Natalie.
I’m surprised that the name of the Church is unknown but I’m very forgetful myself and word retrieval is often an issue around here. Maybe it’s the accent that I have trouble with, or the speed of delivery but I only catch three words; alternative, black and singing.
Racism in the States is more complicated than in Europe. Since I am Caucasian, I find it simpler just to assume that I am a racist and await enlightenment, preferably from someone who is not Caucasian but is American. Hence I prove my ignorance, as these words match the category of ‘gospel’ in my brain.
I am sad to miss my daughter for a big chunk of the day, what should be a family day. I am happy that she will be in good company away from the mayhem of home. The promised treat of “Horton Hears a Who,” to follow sounds like a well balanced mix.
We spend our secular day with a carefully orchestrated easter egg hunt for the boys, followed by lunch in a preferred restaurant of the French Fries variety, low key, low maintenance, high happiness quotient. Despite the fact that it a glorious day we bury ourselves in the darkness of the cinema. We both have a largish boy on our laps, although we pay for four seats. If my daughter comes home to broadcast the glories of “Horton hears a Who,” we shall have a riot on our hands. This is the perfect chance to navigate them both through the trauma of movies in a public forum.
We transition through our day with care until we are re-united with my daughter.
She arrives home breathless, late and sodden for no immediately apparent reason than I can fathom. I am fairly confident that baptisms are not performed on Easter Sunday, or am I? I experience brain freeze without the benefit of ice-cream. I am tempted to wrestle her to the ground, sit on her chest and give her the third degree. I proceed with caution. I opt for a towel.
“My you’re flushed, you must have had a super time. Would you like to go to Church again next week? Maybe we could go together as a family?”
“Uh uh yes or uh uh no?”
“No? Was it a bit too long for your first time?”
“I was real bored.”
“You seem to have caught the sun on your arms.”
“Yeah it sure was hot outside.”
“Outside? Outside where?”
“Outside the church.”
“It was an open air service?”
“You …….and the congregation…er the people, were outside the church?”
“No we were outside the Church.”
“Isn’t that just what I said?”
“No. We were outside. Everybody else was inside.”
“Why was that then?”
“I was ……scared.”
“Oh……..what did you find so…….scary?”
“All the “screamin.””
“Screaming? Who was screaming?”
“The guys who were rollin on the ground.”
“Ro……were they……..did they…….were you on your own outside?”
“No we sat together. Her mom went back “inside.” She said she was scared too…….but I think she wuz jus sayin that to make me feel better.”
“So……..how long were you outside, just the two of you….alone…….in the …….Churchyard.”
“It wasn’t really a Church.”
“It wuz a …..an alternative……I forget now. Can I sleep in the boys’ room tonight? Please? I won’t keep them awake or nothin……I jus don’t want to ……..“dream”…..er……sleep…..alone.” I have no idea why their nesting instinct is so strong in times of trouble, a heaped herd of hurt.
“O.k. but just this once. We’ll talk about this again tomorrow after you’ve rested. Maybe it would be a good idea not to tell the boys about it tonight.”
“You’ve got it! There’s no way I’m gonna tell em that stuff! It’d giv em nightmares and that’s a fact, bein little kids n all.”
“So…….why are you all wet then?”
“We went back to the house after.”
“After the service, after the movie?”
“We didn’t get to see the movie.”
“Oh. What did you do then?”
“We played with the hosepipe in the backyard…..it was a lot more fun than…….seein a borin old movie.”
“Yes, I think perhaps it might have been a little babyish for you.”
“How would you know? Maybe we could all go and see it together next week? As a family?”
“What a good idea.”
“They said that we could see it maybe soon, but I’m kinda wondering when ‘soon’ might be?”
“Perhaps we could manage sooner, because you have been very patient. Sometimes things don’t always pan out quite the way we want them to.”
It’s bound to be easier second time around afterall!
I believe we have reached the end of that particular chapter.