Cheryl pulls open the heavy wooden door and steps into a cool darkness backlight by stained glass. Her neat heels echo on the marble floor. The backs of her hands are blue... red... yellow. The church smells of the stillness of flowers, of incense, of words unsaid.
Every year, her mother had helped to clean this church, lugging a red bucket of soapy water down each aisle, scrubbing at the pews as if she could personally wash away sin. No matter how much elbow grease her mother had applied, some things—swear words and names carved into wood—could not be rubbed away.
These words pained her mother. Every time she encountered one, she would set down her rag and head to the front of the church to light a candle and say a prayer for the poor sinner.
Cheryl herself had carved into a pew, just a nick, mind you, her conscience stopping her from going any further. She laughs and listens to the sound of her laughter echoing off stone. Abruptly, she stops.
It isn't good to laugh in church.
It isn't good to cry.
It isn't good to tell truths unsaid.
Father had told her so.
She works her way up the center aisle and sees the book open on the podium. She turns to the front, runs her hand along the list of names. She likes this feeling. Perhaps this is what it's like to read Braille.
Was her mother blind or merely faithful?
All these people, she tells herself. All these silent people.
She returns to the back of the book, neatly pens in her mother's name for the first weekend in October.
She rubs at her mouth, but cannot rid herself of the feel of his lips upon her own, no matter how hard she tries.
A door opens. A man steps forward. “Do you have an intention?”
She drops the pen, hurries away, heels clicking, stained glass chasing her down the aisle, this time painting her in reverse.
This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was intention.