“So Few Kneel, or Remember”
A Short Story
I can’t ever get over the feeling of being scared when walking up to the front doors of this magnificent church.
I’m always here in the evening, when it’s dark, when others are sitting at their dining room tables, or at an eatery, that’s when I make my way to the church.
I’m 33 years old. I don’t remember how or when I first became obsessed with playing the church organ, for lack of a better description. I always tell those interested enough to ask…”I play the organ in churches with huge organ pipes behind and above it,” just so they understand without more unnecessary verbiage from me. Long explanations take away from my practice time.
They look at me – some with an unbelieving grin, some with a look of amazement, and most with a look of utter boredom on their faces.
Those with an unbelieving grin look at me with a tilted head. A woman, no taller than 5’5″, but blessed with rather long legs, even longer fingers and quick-stepping feet, I was given the physical attributes to play this magnificent instrument. The mental gifts, well, that is why I practice every night.
The old and mostly grumpy priest who finally succumbed to my pleadings to allow me a key to the church, a key to the organ loft, and a key to turn on the organ did so, I suspect, because he was partial to brunettes, especially ones who wore their hair ‘up’. I noticed that when I had my hair in a pony tail, he wasn’t as responsive as when I had my hair up. People, priests or not, have their particular proclivity towards certain things and certain body parts that turn their crank. Maybe it wasn’t my brunette hair up, maybe it was my perfectly manicured hands. I’d catch him gazing at my hands, with the ever so slightest of grins on his dog old face.
The priest always left the two pillars of lights, hanging from the middle of the ceiling of this marble wonder on for me. And so, the church isn’t ever in total darkness, but always has the eeiry feeling of what-the-fuck is going on here when I enter.
Locking the door behind me, I made my up to the organ loft. I never turned on too many lights as I don’t want to ruin the mood of the place, or set whatever spirits resting there into a
Once in the organ loft, I make my way over to the beautiful beast, place the key in, press the button, and with a bit of orgasmic of sounds of wind being pushed through the pipes, I sit upon the organ bench and ready myself for practice.
My mother is a devout Catholic. She thinks that my love of playing the organ is because of the love of the Catholic faith she thinks she handed down to me. No, but I never tell her otherwise, of how mistaken she is. It is nothing more than the love of creating and expression that brings me to this church each evening, or so I’ve led myself to believe.
I will never dig deeper into the realms of talented musicians who have played this instrument with extreme genius. I, am just an ordinary soul, with a somewhat obsessive heart and soul, who can nearly faint from the sounds of a perfectly played Bach organ piece. This is what I tell myself.
Every night has its own spell at the church. Sometimes solemn, sometimes spooky, sometimes heavenly – it is always unique.
Tonight, the spell is other worldly. Not of this world, or of the next beyond, but a world of the unreal.
Mom likes to share her morbid views of this life with me during the daytime hours, when I’m off my guard, and maybe tending to manicuring my nails as she talks incessantly of the end times, as she likes to describe them.
I think kindly, and then horribly, of her dissertations as I ready my hands for the first piece I will be practicing this Autumn night.
I take a quick glance toward the empty pews below the choir loft, and see the old and grumpy priest, kneeling there in the middle of the one of the pews, prayer book opened before his aging eyes.
I have a lightning of a thought to stop me before I place my fingers on the keys of the organ, for surely, the priest is mediating upon God’s word.
But before I can place fingers on keyboard, bringing forth a heavenly reverberation of chords, I stop and wonder, how many times has the balance of life and love been before one who kneels.
So few kneel, I think. So few remember their relatives, their children – their husbands and wives. So few think to take knee and offer a prayer for their loved ones…suffering quietly in their homes, in aging facilities – suffering quietly to themselves, amidst the chaos of being out and about.
They return home to solace, to quiet and mostly emptiness.
They lay down upon their bed for the night’s sleep, and with the heaviest of sighs, rest their heads upon their pillows with a mind and heart completely bewildered and lost.
So few remember…. anything.
It is for them, that I play tonight.
Tonight’s musical offering:
ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto for two violins, strings, and basso continuo in A minor RV522 Op. 3 No. 8 “L’estro Armonico”
or, the orchestral version….