#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Mother spoke differently, saying things like “Bless you,” rather than “Thank you,” but Mormons never went around saying, “Jesus loves you.”

Out of love for me, my family had been brought together, & out of love for my mother, the Church had come for me.

When I heard David thank God, I saw it not only as an act of gratitude, but an act of humility. My mother had brought God into the house, made Him comfortable there.

David brought his spirit with him, & I luxuriated in the essence that was his. He was like a wise man, bearing gifts of comfort & joy, but those were the mere gifts—the true gift was the man himself.

Though I’d always been awed at the beauty of the ceremony & tradition, I was looking forward to the sweet simplicity of a LDS Christmas program that I was to be a part of.

I’d never had an extended family, but in its place, I’d been given a Church family. My mother had chosen them, & by default, they had chosen me.

I accepted that Elder Roberts & I weren’t meant to be, simply because the Church said so. I found it was easier to live without questioning everything, even though I felt a little part of me die each time I did not.

I wanted to believe so much that in a way I almost did, yet at the time, I had thought that good feeling was the Spirit telling me that what I was seeing, hearing & feeling was true.

For one night, my mother & I were more alike than me & David. We wanted to be a forever family, not because we loved one another but because we both loved David.

Those days leading up to Christmas in the year of 1999 were the happiest of my life. Though I hadn’t been “born in the covenant,” I felt I had found the Church that I had been made for.

Advertisements

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

With her Snow-White features,
every man wanted Leann,
& there was a part of me who wished that I could be
a Rapunzel with Samson-powered hair,
the one who would usurp her power
by being the fairest of them all,
for I had been served a poisoned apple–
the apple of false prophecy.
I had not consumed it,
but my mother had,
& it was as if I had been in her womb
when it had broken through the placental barrier.
The poison from the pome
had been good for Mother
but not for me.

At St. Mary’s,
a sculpture depicting a broken, bloodied Christ
was suspended at the front of the abbey,
while at Green Haven Ward,
a painting of a perfected Christ
hung in the foyer off to the side.
Both religions,
too dogmatic to be mere denominations,
had their men in charge:
the Pope & the Prophet—
old, white men—
who could speak in His Name.

Though we were surrounded by people,
we were the only 2 people in our world.
I sensed a change in my & David’s relationship,
but I could not define it.
It had matured somehow.
I was no longer his stepdaughter—
I was his equal.

Diamonds paired with white,
pearls, with black,
but David looked equally good,
whether he was with Mother
or with me.
I didn’t wear jeans & tennis shoes
but dressed as Princess Kate,
the Duchess of Cambridge would,
many years hence.
I had seen myself as royalty then,
or maybe it was because David
had always treated me as such.

David’s scent was incense to my soul,
his food,
like manna,
his image,
an icon of hope
that there was still good in this world
that the Mormons saw as merely a blip in time–
not to enjoyed for its own sake
but to be preparing for the next life,
for their motto was not “enjoying till the end”
but “enduring to the end.”

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Because of Patrick’s absence,
David had been able to grace us
with his presence—
with the grace that was David
personified.

She hadn’t wanted Caitlin before she was born,
but because she’d been a Catholic,
she’d been spared.
Before my mother had met my sister,
she had had considered wiping her not off the face of the earth
but out of existence in the minds of every being on the earth.
Catholicism had saved my baby sister.
After she was born,
it wasn’t Catholicism that saved her,
but Caitlin being Caitlin.
She loved Caitlin in a way she would never love me.

David loved my mother without condition,
in every condition.
Even the favor of God wavered.

How many lives had Christianity saved?
How many lives had been destroyed
in Christianity’s name?
Even I,
a questioning Christian,
could see that even non-Christians
had benefited from Christianity’s
existence.

For Mother had sought
atonement
in emotional self-flagellation,
even as Protestants
sought verification of theirs
in good works.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

I did not want my mother to die, but I wanted David’s love for her to die, for that would be much preferable to hers for him dying first.

Though he had allowed himself to walk into the waters of baptism, he would never walk through the doors of the temple. 

Under the banner of heaven, I pledged my allegiance to David Dalton, but would never recognize his allegiance to my mother.

It was a jubilee of sorts—the tinkling of our fluted stems signaling the beginning of the New Year & of the best years of our lives to come.

It wasn’t the vow David made to my mother, that he would love her, but rather, the vow he made to God to never leave me, that showed me his heart.

Mother’s redecoration of Maxwell Manor resembled the Mormon temples that were open to the moral elite, rather than the Catholic cathedrals that were open to the unwashed masses.

Mother had put off the natural woman to put on the spiritual, for in her eyes, the 2 entities could not co-exist, for 1 would always rule over the other. 

As she drew closer to God, she withdrew from us, even as David & I grew closer than ever.  A part of me still feared losing him if he completely lost Mother.

I had never heard David thank God for anything before, save that night in the hospital, & I wondered, if, in his own way, he was changing, too.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

My mother had lost her virginity & heart to David; I would lose only one of these to him.

Mother saw emotional self-flagellation as a form of atonement for adultery, but she’d only denied David marriage, not sex.

Like David, the great king, he had taken a woman who had belonged to another, except that David, according to Mormon doctrine, had been barred from the celestial kingdom forever.

David Dalton, like that same David who had slain Goliath in his youth, had been responsible for my father’s death?

My intake of breath was acute, as if the sharpness in Mother’s words had floated upwards & entered me, cutting me up inside, so that I bled.

I prayed not for God’s forgiveness, but for my father’s, for wishing he hadn’t been mine.  Had I been David’s, Mother would’ve loved me as a mother should, for I was the ball & Caitlin, the chain.

My disappointment overshadowed the love I had for them, & it ate at me—not the disappointment itself, but that I allowed my disappointment to be so great. 

A CTR (or “Choose the Right”) ring in the Mormon Church was akin to the “True Love Waits” rings the Protestants wore.  Both were centered on remaining pure before marriage & would no longer be worn after marriage, for it was assumed that as long as people got sex, even if it was only with one person their entire lives, they would be pacified.

I tossed my CTR ring away–the way a disenchanted ex-wife would her wedding ring.  I was neither married in the Church nor to it; it was a purity ring–a promise to remain untouched before marriage, after which I could have as much procreative sex as I wanted.

The revelations in the yard hadn’t just told me I had lost my mother, but that the mother I loved & admired hadn’t existed at all.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

We were in our own little world—a world in which Mother did not fit.  Even as she & David belonged together, so did David & I, in our own way, in a way the 3 of us together never could.

Empowerment was allowing myself to believe in something I could not see, & yet, to believe in something greater than ourselves was to be under their rule.

I was not called, but given a calling.  I was to work for the Church for free, & pay them on top of that for the opportunity to do so. 

Mormons assigned callings, & I realized how many tentacles they had—through 3-hour church services, Enrichment meetings, Visiting Teaching, Institute, & now, a job in the Church.

I knew then that he didn’t believe the Church was true—he loved a lie because it was a beautiful lie—a lie that gave him power over those who were true believers.

I bore false witness that the Church was true, & prayed for God to have mercy on my soul if I was right.

There was something creepy about a grown man asking me if I’d been obeying the law of chastity, for what happened between a man & a woman in the bedroom was between them, & no one else but the God who had made them.

God had called me to serve in the nursery, something I knew nothing about.  Just as He’d called Noah to build the Ark.  Yet how easy it was to say that “God said.”

Perhaps he should’ve called Mother to mind the children, but maybe it was the Bishop’s way of making me want them, so that I would have to marry, for in the Church, single motherhood was a form of earthly martyrdom that harmed the innocents & turned men into deadbeats.

I didn’t question.  I knew better than that, for as it was said, so it was believed:  When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

mormoni

No one from the LDS Church knew of the quickening of Patrick Nolan’s soul to the Spirit World.  It was the saddest, strangest day I had ever spent.

The funereal funeral was a secret affair.  No one knew Patrick Nolan had died—that Laurie Nolan had been living in mortal sin for 13 years.

Caitlin & I did as we were told, Caitlin, still grieving & I, taking no delight in what I had dreamt of for as long as my eyes had beheld the glory of David Dalton. 

In the B.C. era (before the Church), I had wanted Mother to marry David, but in this New Era, I realized 2 wrong people were trying to do the right thing.

The glories of the terrestrial & telestial heavens shined their pallid light upon us as David knocked on the pastor’s door, bearing redemption on the other side.

A baby grand sat in the corner of the room, the top of which sat a picture of Jesus.  For some reason, it made me think of a picture of a woman’s late husband.

Swiss clocks adorned the high walls, chiming ten, creating a clamor, signaling that the hour of reckoning had come.

To write one’s own vows was to promise more to one another than even God expected, & so it made sense that David & Mother had written their own.

We were to become a blended family, but our mixture would remain homogenous.

“David, when I think of you, I think of the guardian angel who came to us all those years before, bearing good tidings of great joy,” I said.