August 2, 2008
By Andrea Garcia-Vargas, Dublin, OH

The vault-like air sifted out the front door, leaving behind a wave of tingling oxygen. Primary colors tinted the teal carpet, doppelgangers of the perpendicular stained glass window on the otherwise blank walls. The light took on the qualities of the forms, changing to red, yellow, or blue. Rows of pews stacked behind one another, divided into two sections. All photocopies of each other, no Bibles or prayer books to distort the raw-wooded illusion, whose light-scattered aisle beckoned to be trod upon by cherry blossom brides and their dew drop bridesmaids.
Silver pewter pipes, long and tapered, stood like a line of devout monks singing cavern hymns out of their crescent mouths. They overlooked the semi-circular dais, empty except for an antisocial piano, turning its back on the room, its yellow keys secluded in the corner away from sight. The platform led to a tiny set of white stairs, resembling a sun peeking over the horizon, where we were reclined, gazing at the distant ceiling or glancing out the main door on our right, which was pregnant with the brightness of the world outside, the world we would not yet reenter.
Our conversation dawdled around Depression and Happiness, Anxiety and Equanimity. Words that we would’ve reconsidered an hour ago floated out of our mouths, resounding with a distinct hum and click against the high arch above.
“This feels like one of the best moments of your life,” she said, her voice a dulcet bell.
“Yeah, I know, it’s all, like, calm and soothing,” the other she said.
“Placid,” I half-whispered while he stood up from the steps and delved his hand into the pocket of his khakis. He removed a transparent container, much like a medicine bottle, with a watery substance. However, when he opened it, the lid turned out to be a base for a thin stick with a wide elliptical loop at its end. He dipped it into the bottle and stirred it counterclockwise a few times before pulling it back out and blowing a string of air through the hoop. Spheres of film that either took on the colors of the objects behind them or developed a rainbow sheen waltzed out along the altar, soulful fairy thrones, before sedately drifting down to earth and quietly bursting into a million particles during contact. A very few survived the new environment, becoming half-spheres on the floor.
He kept blowing them, and they kept flitting out and slowly falling. Our eyes were tied to them by an invisible collar. We would say nothing, watching them live out their iridescent time before their beauty imploded in the wave of half-light. We saw their delivery, their existence, and their death in a matter of seconds.
We ignored the fact that we were in the house of God and mildly defiling the carpeted floor with our frolic. Instead, we decided to be God. We pleaded with the boy for more of his creations. We even had our turns at blowing through the hoop, the fundament for our experiments. Manipulating the oxygen from our mouths, we felt the thud of the earth fall into our palms. We could do anything with it at that moment.
The bubbles continued coming, gushing out in different directions, floating like clouds. But as slowly as they went, they never failed to come down. Some stayed around more than others, but they would all eventually disappear.
And we, four bubbly mortal creatures, looked into each other’s half-shadowed faces, thinking the same thing. These few minutes here in the chapel had stopped our free-fall through life. The moments we’d shared here were a small wind that had caught us and was carrying us around on a carefree ride, and though we knew that sometime it would stop, we felt that the rest of the fall would be smooth, that we’d still have time to look around before our Life battery ran out and the only things left behind to mark our existence would be our dearest memories.
If there had been a clock in the room, I doubt the hands would’ve shifted.

The author's comments:
What mostly inspired me to write this was a creative writing workshop at Ashland University I took last year. It was during our free time, when my creative writing buddies and I entered the little chapel. The stillness, the tranquility, and just the divinity of it perplexed us. We had heart-to-heart conversations there, and then one of my friends came up with the idea to blow bubbles. As irreverant as it may have seemed, you wouldn't believe how breath-taking it was to see the light of the stained-glass windows illuminate the bubbles as they slowly drifted down onto the carpet.

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