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I Have Found It
As the church emptied, Eureka remained kneeling.
It was a morning, weekday service. As a result, soon the sound of voices coming from the foyer — the priest talking with members of his congregation who stayed behind briefly to wish him a good day, or tell him of a prayer request — faded. When the priest returned, walking down the aisle between the pews, going behind the altar and through a door to his changing room in order to get out of his vestments, Eureka was finally alone. A moment later, unseen by Eureka, one of the priest’s helpers turned off the church’s lights.
The candles burning on the altar being her only light, Eureka felt her way out of the pew and down the aisle, beginning to shake as she pushed open the foyer doors and took a right, closing the bathroom door behind her.
I’m going to do it, Eureka reminded herself, staring at the toilet and taking a deep breath.
Eureka used the toilet, flushed, and put both lids down before, taking off her clothes, she gathered her shoes, socks, pants, shirt, jacket, bra, and underwear into a neat little bundle, setting them against the toilet tank.
Still shaking with excitement, but not worried so much now that she had relieved herself, Eureka eased the bathroom door open and looked through the crack. Certain that she was alone, Eureka opened the door all the way and, walking fast across the foyer to the double doors, re-entered the church.
The church was as she had left it. Walking slowly down the center aisle towards the first pew, taking slow, deep breathes in order to stop shaking, the light from the candles her only way to see, the marble feeling cold against her bare feet, Eureka looked up at the painting of God above the altar.
The painting was of a father, mother, and child. The painting symbolized how, according to Eureka’s faith, God’s love for mankind is, in one way like, a spouse’s love and, in another way, like a parent’s love for their child.
Like a faithful spouse, God desires only the best for us, his beloved. And like a loving parent, God does not hesitate to sacrifice for the well-being of us, his children, Eureka thought, remembering the words the priest used at the start of each service.
When I was naked in my apartment, I felt like I was seeing my apartment with new eyes.
“It’s like that now,” she said out loud, the darkness and silence swallowing her words.
What have I done?
The sound of her bare feet on marble the only sound, Eureka did not stop, slow down, or turn around.
Seeing the Father now, Eureka did not see his eyes as caring anymore. How dare you! he seemed to shout as his painted face looked down on Eureka’s nakedness.
Seeing the Mother now, Eureka did not see her eyes as loving anymore. Whore! she seemed to scream as her painted face looked down on Eureka’s nakedness.
Seeing the Child now, Eureka did not see her eyes as beautiful anymore. Why? she seemed to sob as her painted face looked down on Eureka’s nakedness.
After what felt like an eternity, Eureka made it to the pew closest to the altar.
Easing herself between the pew and the railing that separated the altar from the congregation, careful to not let her bare butt touch any surface — I should’ve brought a towel — Eureka knelt on the floor, putting her elbows on the railing, clasping her hands, bowing her head, and closing her eyes.
Where to start?
“See me. Just see me. I know you must not like this, but… I wanted to do this. I felt I needed to do this. Even if you hated me, I needed you to see me. And I… I needed to see you.” Eureka’s words came faster now, and she did not try to slow down. “My mom is always saying that I should come here more often. I didn’t think about her words until I started getting naked. When I’m naked, I feel like I’m as you created me to be, God. I’m humbled. I see myself, and I see the world, with new eyes. I finally feel like I can understand myself better. When I take off my clothes, I feel like I’m taking off whatever it was that stopped me from being who I wanted to be.”
Eureka found herself thinking of college.
One bad semester. That’s all it took. Hard classes and illness ended my dream before I could make it begin.
“I’m trying to make it right.”
Since I’ve been home, I’ve applied for a job. I’m helping my parents with their work. I’m not being lazy. But…
Eureka felt herself start to shake all over again.
It’s not enough. I’m not enough.
Eureka looked up at the picture of God again, trying to see, through her tears, the painted faces.
“I want to know that I’m enough. I want to know that I was worth it to you. That I was worth saving.”
Sniffling, Eureka unclasped her hands to look at the scars on the inside of her arms.
“Am I worth it?”
Whether she asked it to herself or to God, Eureka could not be sure.
The end of Chapter 5