APPEAL by Sheron Mingo, Y
A red brick church stands on a hill above the ruin and despair that taints Wilkinsburg. Melody from an aristocratic organ spills through the fractures in this church’s stained glass windows. It is Saturday morning and the first Sabbath of 2008. Parishioners wrapped in furs or leather file into this church and occupy favorite pews. The new eggshell walls and elevated ceiling in this church reflect prosperity and quietude.
Slim sits erect. She’s wearing a russet shade suit and silver pumps. Her auburn hair dusts the blue, velvet cushioned shoulder of the pew. Her feet press into plush carpet that matches the pews.
The organ hums: Under his wings, I am safely abiding.
Slim doesn’t see the organist playing or the dozens of parishioners seated in pews. She sees long, lean legs fidgeting beside her and peeps through averted eyelids at a pair of crisp, black Oxfords with unblemished, shiny tips. She likes the shoes. The even heels look pristine. Prudence, she thinks and slowly rolls her stare up the woolen pant legs and impeccable seams. Her neglected bible lolls in her bag as her head rises slightly so she won’t be caught gawking at the man’s trim torso. His black jacket does not match his grey pants. She’s disappointed with this reality, but the jacket is as smooth as the ebony hand that places a twenty in the basket for charity that passes.
The preacher thumps the pulpit and says, “Give your hearts to Jesus. He loves you.”
Parishioners raise their hands heaven ward. Eyes stare at the ceiling. Slim bows her head humbly but tilts her face to snatch new glimpses of this stranger. His face is not as pretty as his shoes. Blotches desecrate his jaws. This stranger is imperfect, mortal. Slim’s finger disengages a strand of hair that adheres to her rose lipstick. She wonders where this stranger has been and where his new shoes will propel him.
The man is unaware of her prying eyes. His bible lays sprawled across his thighs. He looks intently at the preacher who chants a Sabbath prayer that reverberates throughout the chapel spilling through fractures in the stained glass windows into the disparity outside of the church.
APPEAL flash fiction © by Sheron Mingo, Y 2008
Do not copy or distribute without permission from Sheron Mingo, Y February 2020