CHURCH OF REDEEMING LOVE

By Lisa Lynn Biggar

The Church of Redeeming love is in a strip mall between a dentist and a bank, sandwiched between those two large businesses, that of money and dental care, smiles and savings. There are two large green planters filled with bright red and pink plastic flowers on either side of the door, the hours posted on the glass panel: Worship held on Sunday at 11 a.m., Bible studies on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. One wonders what goes on inside the other days of the week.

There are no windows, but peek through the glass panel on the door:  a room painted gold with framed pictures of Jesus on the walls in various stages of agony, black collapsible chairs facing an altar with plastic flowers and plastic figurines. A placard above that reads: “Where Jesus is worshipped and humankind is saved.” Two of the chairs are occupied. 

She is thin, tattooed, her dark hair in dreads. He is taller, thinner, his hair buzzed in a mohawk. They are talking about love. The girl is wondering about its substance. If it is something that can be held in your palm, worn around the neck, gifted or bartered. Or like a zephyr, something unseen, here one minute, gone the next, to other lands, oceans, drifting upwards to the stars. Sometimes lingering, if you can seduce it. 

She is somewhere in her twenties. He is somewhere in his thirties. Both addicts, trying to stay clean. Now is all they have. 

“Heroin was my love,” she says. “It was all I wanted. I don’t know how to be.”

“I’ve never known how to be,” he says. “I look in the mirror and don’t see me.”

“I see you,” she says. 

The room seems to glow a brighter gold as if the sun were rising or falling.

What was it that guided them inside? Saint and Princess, always fighting against their names. The tracks on their arms fading, but no promises made. 

Still, something real flickers in the air. 

                                                      

                                                                  *   *   *

 

Lisa Lynn Biggar received her MFA in Fiction from Vermont College and is currently marketing a short story cycle set on the eastern shore of Maryland. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals including Main Street Rag, Bluestem Magazine, The Minnesota Review, Kentucky Review, The Delmarva Review and Superstition Review. She’s the fiction editor for Little Patuxent Review and co-owns and operates a cut flower farm on the eastern shore of Maryland with her husband and three cats. 

writinglisa.com; twitter.com/lislafleur

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