D& K Corner Market gave credit, so we shopped there.
I'd look at the magazines while my mother filled her basket."Rolling Stone", "Spin", a furtive peek at "Heavy Metal" if no one was nearby.
Audrey behind the counter had laser vision, despite her foggy glasses and wrink(more)les that made it seem like her eyes were half-closed. "Read it, you buy it!" she'd shout, if she had to turn away from serving a customer to fetch a pack of smokes or scoop some potato-wedges from under the hotlamp.
It was worth the risk. I knew there was never enough money for a magazine, but when I rifled through the pages I became aware of a fast-moving otherworld. Larger-than-life people, political stories, wild antics. It seemed like the real world, and what I lived in was some terrible and lonely anteroom. I took it all in with fast gulps of the eye, flicking through pages, absorbing crookedly these parallel realities purported to exist next to mine. But when I looked at the horizon I could never imagine such things as cities, sex and drugs, the indulgence of artists with their selfish, frenetic energies. Here was a world of quiet roads, the pervasive egg-smell of the paper mill, sunshine falling through dreary church windows and highlighting the dust in the air.
Often my mom ran out of money at cash registers. It had happened at Safeway more than once. "I could just die," she'd mutter on the way home in the car, after lingering over which groceries to leave behind, flushed with shame but needing to choose wisely.
I'd wonder aloud why dad hadn't just given her more money. Couldn't she just ask him for more? Such questions never yielded answers, and had the unsettling power to shut conversation down. The world shrinking. (less)
The church stood, like any other in this part of town, between a small park and two more square miles of suburban sprawl. The interior gave no impression of extraordinariness, just the usual mass-produced stained-glass depicting the stations of the cross, the stale, pungent incense odor, and the waxy pews(more) in neat rows, all with hymnals carefully placed at intervals in their back pockets. A niche in the corner dedicated to Mary had a single lit candle, but other than that the space gave no sign of recent occupancy.
The confessional was closed, not open like for a first confession. One could barely make out the Franciscan habit of the attending priest through the wicker mesh, but the smell was unmistakable.
"Father, are you high right now?"
A choked chuckle escaped from the other side. "Glory be to God in the highest." More stifled laughter. "What is my penance, my son?"(less)
He knew by now that none of the words he knew, in any combination, would explain to them that this is how how gardens are kept, how history is built. They didn't want to hear it, and they would yell and curse his name. But this is how things(more) are done. We prune.
"Who are you to tell me how important I am?" one lady said. She might've been pretty if she wasn't yelling at him.
"It's not a value judgment," he said again for the umpteenth time. "There's a system we must adhere to."
"But my pictures!" she said before her mic shut off. She said it a few more times, but no one paid attention to her.
"What about my people?" said the next man. "Who gets to say who remembers us?"
"The committee members are chosen to cover wide range of interests and identities-"
"But who chooses the committee?" the man said.
He rolled his eyes. They just don't get it. Did he complain when they deleted the video of his daughter's first steps, or the pictures of his ex-wife on their honeymoon? No. Sometimes it's a boon to just give over the rights to someone else, an unbiased curator who can clean things up without personal bias.
Just then, he found the right words.
"How many of you care about the lady's pictures?" he said. The lady raised her hand, but no one else. "How many care about this gentleman's community?" Two or three, including the man. "How many care about my daughter's first steps?" No one.
"Exactly," he said. "You care about yourselves, but those who come after you won't. They'll care about themselves, their pictures and their stories. And they'll say the same things you're saying now, and they'll be wrong too."
He jabs at my beliefs with innuendos and slurs. I have given up trying to reach him. He twists each statement of faith into an ugly, slithering mass of doubt and unbelief.
I walk by faith in those things that are holy. I believe in holiness and truth, heaven and (more)hell, the trinity, the bible and the faith of the patriarchs, of all those that have come before and laid down their lives for what they believe. I am not ashamed of my beliefs. They hold me together, keep me upright when the world has turned upside down.
I am not the kind of person who shoves my walk down other peoples throats, nor do I judge, nor condemn. I just do not want to be trashed for worshiping God, or trusting in truth.
He declares he is an agnostic. He says his questions are not about tearing down my faith, but about finding truth. Hogwash!! If you search for truth, you do not twist words to mean something that was never intended, nor do you state obscure arguments in order to trip someone up. I wish he would search for truth, maybe then he would find peace, or joy. Maybe then his bitterness would fall away, and his cynicism would shrivel into interest. Until then, I will continue to hope for the best in his life, and ask that he will allow me the same opportunity.(less)
He awoke for the fifth time, no unconscious moment stood between him and the monolith that was the foundation upon which humankind had placed all it's hope. He looked around at the other members of this small boarding party. Two members of the Axis were with him to ensure(more) his safety, or more likely to ensure that he carried out his duties and didn't lose his nerve.
Since he began his ascent he had begun to feeling a growing anxiousness about the path he had taken and where it would lead. Horace was unflappable in his belief that destruction of ODS would bring about a freer and more prosperous society. Other members of the Axis were equally zealous in their beliefs. But Jason had never had that strength of conviction. That was part of the reason he had sought out and agreed to join the Axis, he couldn't blindly follow a doctrine like almost everyone else he knew, he had doubt.
No one could predict what would happen as soon as the data is wiped and processors stop working for those back on Earth let alone those who remain in stasis nearly 40,000 km above. Without the certainty of an afterlife, would the world descend into chaos? Would that chaos be preferable to the suffocating grasp of the those that came before? He looked to his fellow Axis members for comfort but found none.(less)