Monday, May 16, 2005

73. Secret

We both tried to melt into our plastic chairs, especially difficult for my six foot tall guy friend, who looked like he wanted to fold up like a letter and wedge himself between some of the books on the dusty shelves. The swaying continued, and everyone except my friend and I seemed to be sharing a big, whispered secret. No one even glanced in our direction. Granted, we had arrived in the middle of the service, but it still felt like the cool kids in seventh grade were excluding us from their clique; a small, welcoming smile might have been nice. Whenever we had to stand during a prayer, which was often, I was tempted to make a break for the door, feeling like I was knee-deep in poison ivy and looking to jump into the nearest body of water. But I couldn't leave. Religious services were supposed to be uncomfortable, and you had to stay until the end (except on the High Holidays, when you could walk out every five minutes). Everyone continued to ignore us while they rocked back and forth and moved their lips wordlessly, as if communing with relatives on a distant planet.

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