Tuesday, December 7, 2010




: full of whispering sounds

I lay in bed wearing leggings and an oversized old sweater as though I'm in a ski lodge. I have The X-Files season 2, episode 2 queued up for my viewing pleasure, but I am a day behind on this blog and feeling guilty about it. So I rack my brain for spaces I consider SUSURROUS. I think—a coffee shop (not SUSURROUS enough); the library (too obvious); the Metro North commuter train (only before cellphones). I land in a church.

In my life I have been to church five, maybe six, times, all with other people's families and before the age of fifteen. Every time I have felt uncomfortably out of place, as though I wore my absence of religious faith on a colorful sash amidst the neutrals of churchgoers. Despite my difference and general discomfort of not knowing any of the rituals (I felt the same way the one time I went to a high school football game), I enjoyed the setting. I admired the stained glass windows and the groups of flickering candles and the soft, worn wood of the pews. I liked the feel of the bible's thin, crisp pages. I liked that I was an observer and not a participant.

The church was SUSURROUS just before the service. Anticipatory small talk between neighbors, controlled and hushed in the ambience of the space. And then silenced. It was a pervasive silence in which every sound was distinct—the reverberation of the priest's voice, the interruption from a single cough in the audience, the soft thud of the kneeler as it hit the carpet. I felt as though I shouldn't breath.

Or almost like I couldn't breath.

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