Peace to thee in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, fellow pew occupant.
With great sarcasm do I fling this greeting in thy general direction. Well: not thy general direction. Truly, in a very specific direction: namely, the very end of the pew, indeed, the very last inch and crevice of our shared Christian space—an area which, thou hast made quite clear thou art quite loath to share.
Dost this pew have upon it thy name? A moment, please, to investigate…. No, indeed, we belong not to a small country parish in Devonshire, Britannia, in the year of Our Lord 1660; rather, we exist in these United States of America in the 21st century and attend this Catholic Church, in which one is not blessed with one’s own private space in exchange for monies.
Clearly my humble smile and groveling “Do you mind if we share with you?” left thou unmoved. Literally. With a great, heaving huff, but no heaving of thy rump, thou didst cock thy head back, embrace thy hymnal, and lift thine eyes to the heavens.
And in what way didst thou think this action would aid me? Thy feet remained firmly planted upon the holy ground, without so much as a shift of thy pricey boots. Great was the space into which thou couldst slide. Time aplenty there was for thee to stand and allow us passage, for Mass had not yet commenced.
Thusly did I with two young ones and a hefty diaper bag in tow stumble into our designated area of sacred space, one with no access to the exit rows.
And woe betide thee, firmly ensconced middle-aged hag! For my female child of three and three-quarters years is a Big Girl Now and hast eschewed the pull-up for the potty. And thou, in thine own greatly overestimated wisdom, hast planted thyself in a row in closest proximity to the water closet. (I did not select this seating to gaze upon thy good looks and bask in thy charity). And the aforementioned child bores easily during the holy time and seeks to displace her ennui by making several, nay, innumerable “emergency” pilgrimages to the potty.
And each and every time the wee one must do just that, we shall arise. Yea, thou too wilt arise, lest thou desire to lose thy toes or have thy knees severely knocked.
And thy sighs shall not escape my ears, and the daggers from thine eyes which thou aim’st at me will not go unseen. Verily, I will savor them. And at the sign of peace I shall turn firstly to thee and with broad shining grin greet thee suchly:
“Peace unto thee, fellow pew occupant.”
-Colet C. Bostick is a writer living in Falls Church, Virginia.