“Bless your faces,” said the reverend, entering the podium. It was a steamy afternoon and I did not feel like going to church. Nevertheless, my mother had some really strong arguments and so there I was.
“Bless your faces, brothers and sisters. It’s a beautiful day the Lord has given us!”
“Uh-huh!” responded the congregation.
“It’s a wonderful day.”
“It’s a graaaaaaaacious day!”
“And we are all here-ah. To praise-ah. Him-ah!”
The congregation burst into singing and I got carried away with them. When we were done prancing and praising the Name, I fell back on the pew next to my fat uncle Morris. My shirt was all wet and I was breathing heavily. All the ladies were taking their places, waving their fans and smiling. All the men were taking their places beside.
“Hooo-weee,” said uncle Morris, “What a day to praise Jesus.”
I was not feeling my best. Dancing and prancing I felt like I had betrayed my resolve not to go to church today and not to get all sweaty.
“Listen up, brothers and sisters,” said the reverend, resuming his position at the pulpit. “Next Saturday is the rally. And we’ve all been waiting for this opportunity. It’s going to be ecstatic. Thanks to sister Theresa and her lovely daughters, there is going to be cake. We all love her cake so much, don’t we?”
“Lies!” I was up from the pew. I was pointing at the reverend. My face was angry. How did I get there?
“What is that, lil’ brother?” said the reverend, adjusting his glasses to better see me.
“Lies about the cake,” something was making me say. “All lies about the cake. It’s dry and too sweet.”
The congregation turned to look at me. There were murmurs.
“Well now,” said the reverend, “Sister Theresa’s cake may be a little dry, but there’s nothing wrong with sweet.”
Everybody burst out laughing. I fell back to my pew again, utterly defeated. The laughter went on, and on, and on. Uncle Morris was pounding his fat thigh, swaying back and forth. Even my mother stopped being her stern self and laughed, laughed, laughed.