I am seated in a plushy pew with fifty people I don’t know and four I live with. I dangle and swing my feet freely, finding I can just barely reach the raised kneeler that’s attached to the pew ahead of me. My nose draws in the mixture of various perfumes and aftershaves. The only fragra...
<p>I am seated in a plushy pew with fifty people I don’t know and four I live with. I dangle and swing my feet freely, finding I can just barely reach the raised kneeler that’s attached to the pew ahead of me. My nose draws in the mixture of various perfumes and aftershaves. The only fragrance that is distinguishable from the rest is my mother’s own perfume. My parents take the divide-and- conquer approach when it comes to seating arrangements, and when given the pick of the litter I always choose the seat closest to her. I welcome the envelopment of her sweet Sunday scent.</p>
<p>My family has the habit of sitting on the end of the pew closest to the main aisle because my mother is a Eucharistic minister and it’s easier for her to step out without having to climb over the other patrons’ legs as though she were going to the bathroom at the part we Catholics consider to be the apex of the Mass. She isn’t scheduled for today, but we still take to the end of the pew as always.</p>
<p>The portly priest sashays to the podium and his chasuble billows in keeping pace. He raises his arms before him at an angle and wiggles his wrists to let his sleeves fall down his arms. There is no mic check. I make my hands into waffles and place them diligently over my lap while giving the priest as much attention as a seven- year-old can muster. I think about how proud and impressed the nuns at my school would be of me.</p>
<p>Not soon after the priest starts his sermon, my attention is severed due to boredom and lack of understanding. My attention is pulled to my brother, who sits sandwiched between my father and me, reading from one of the plastic booklets kept in the shelves drilled to the pew in front us. My brother always requests that someone else sit on the far end of our family so he is not stuck sitting next to a stranger who might have “all incentive, for all we know, to grab me by the pits and bound off with me in a duffle.” I can’t say I blame him. I take up his cue and pull out the missal booklet to find this Sunday’s reading. My brother fingers the page numbers I should turn to in my missal. “Funeral Readings.” He throws a thumbs-up and winks with his mouth wide open.</p>
<p>So I read:</p>
<p>“... a time to be born, and a time to die...”</p>
<p>“...your dead shall live... their corpses shall rise...” “...in Adam all die...”</p>