Longing to Stay

June 17, 2009
By Anna Schwab BRONZE, Orcutt, California
Anna Schwab BRONZE, Orcutt, California
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Everything was so tall and white- the sanctuary was completely coated in white paint, and even the windows exposed a vibrant diamond glow. There was no tropical atmosphere, no warm sun or men in kaki shorts that I was used to, just the Eastern church goers in their dresses and suits, oblivious of the bright, yet impenetrably cold New England sunshine. Every person in the sanctuary sat the same way- whether they were five, twenty, or ninety- nine- all attentive, pale, and straight. No sun kissed energy or small town friendliness seemed to appear, as if they had never been to the seashore or enjoyed the sun.

I was fortunate to be sitting on the edge of the pew, so that if I became sleepy I could lean on the ornate arm rest to the right of me. As Pastor Delaney began to drone on about the same passage in first Corinthians he had started with four weeks ago, I turned my attention away, as I gazed around at the huge scene that surrounded me. The sanctuary was perhaps the biggest I had ever seen, about twice the size of the one at home. Every window towered at about the height of the White House’s front door, allowing every square inch of Heaven’s brightness to seep in. About ten rows of pews stood before me, filled with the prim and proper statue congregation that never said a word or twitched a finger as the pastor spoke. I stared at them for a minute, while the sunshine tried to grab at their pale, attentive faces as they sat in a trance by the pastor’s own variation of the Boston accent.
Chilled by the still, pale figures, my mind began to slip outside- to the still, empty, swing set outside the window, and the tall birch trees covered in a hairy collection of vibrant, almost painfully yellow leaves. Slowly my chin began to sink into my awaiting hand, as my pen slipped from my fingers, and my attention carried me into the outside scene.

A gradual wind caressed the birches for a moment, causing thousands of the miniature leaves to fly off, like monarch butterflies in migration. They fell silently to the shiny Easter grass, making a new yellow blanket that would soon be rushed along to the driveway by the next gust of wind, which ensued moments afterward. All around, bright yellow and orange leaves began to fly through the air, as if God had sent showers of candy corn into the scene. It was an enchanting scene, one I had never seen before, as if the whole world were being drowned in its color, choking in its brightness, covering the sunshine. I looked away for a moment, to see if any of the congregation noticed the sudden explosion from Heaven, but nothing had changed except the words in Pastor’s sermon. I turned my head back again, enchanted by the New England beauty of the scene, excited by such a strange sight that one would never see back home. But I was greeted only with a frigid stillness.
The wind had ceased, as the last few leaves on the grass began to trickle away, until there was only one left. It dragged and trembled like a tumble weed, grabbing at the grass, begging for mercy from the little wind that remained, wishing in vain to stay near its bright, familiar Birch tree home. All around, everything was still but the little leaf, struggling, it seemed, to stay alive. But within a second, it had given up, the breeze carried it away, and the poor creature escaped my view. I sat in a trance as nothing in my body moved, and my heart seemed to cease beating with the disappearance of the leaf. Suddenly, the whole scene became blurry as a trickle of hot, stinging tears rushed down my trembling cheek. A sudden silence approached, then all I heard was “Let us pray.”

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