She climbed the stairs and looked down at the old pews. She stood for a few moments with some tears wellin’ up in her eyes. She said she remembered the first time she met her friend Jennifer here. A Sunday mornin’ when she was nine years old. Jenny’s first day in a new down. She made Jenny feel so welcome and sat next to her every Sunday for the next eleven years. She remembers slapping little Bill Carson when she was ten for trying to kiss her after Sunday school. All those sorts of milestones a kid goes through. It all happened in this one dusty, decrepit, abandoned old church.
Then she started askin’ some questions. Where’s Jenny these days? What happened to Bill? Prudence, the pastor’s daughter? Where is she nowadays? She went through the list and I tried to remember. Bill moved away shortly after she left. Prudence stuck around for a while but once her father passed she went to the city. I avoided it for as long as I could but I had to tell her… Jennifer passed away. She got breast cancer. It was pretty aggressive and we lost her pretty young. Might a’ been 35 when it happened. I didn’t keep in touch with her so I didn’t know the details.
“I wonder if she asked about me,” she said, as she made her way down to the pews. “I was gone for fifteen years when she died. And I never spoke to her once.”
That moment broke my heart in two.