Nov. 3rd, 2005

funny_herman: (Pic 2)
An odd night, to say the least. I have always believed in an afterlife, in ghosts and spirits, in ethereal beings and the supernatural in general. But even after working in a handful of old dance halls and theatres that allegedly had ghostly tenants, I had never in my life encountered one so...real...until tonight.

It was actually a pleasure to meet Frankie's brother, of whom she speaks so fondly... But I had to keep reminding myself that he is no longer on this Earth. No matter how real his apparition seemed, he was still gone. And he is gone, completely, now that he has found peace.

Peace.

After closing down the club, I make a quiet exit to find some peace. I know that it still exists in Berlin in the wee hours of the night, when there is stillness and silence, where the shadows are not forbidding but embracing. And there is one place where my feet are leading me: church.

It is a modest, unassuming church run by a small sisterhood of nuns and one priest, and they leave the doors open for everyone at all times. When I arrive on their step at well after two o'clock, I find only two other people inside the dimly lit chapel -- a gray-haired woman kneeling in a pew near the pulpit, and a man doubled up in the back fast asleep.

The scent of incense, flowers, and candles pervades the air. I step softly on the well-worn marble floor as every little noise seems amplified by the close atmosphere. I walk down the centre aisle, my eyes raised toward the altar draped in a white shroud, and the old wooden crucifix looming above it on the wall. There are little orange votive candles surrounding a statue of the Virgin Mary. I light two of them, and then slide into the nearest pew to sit and think.

I have not been to a proper Sunday Mass since I was a child. I have not recited a proper prayer since... Well, that was not so long ago. Prayers never leave you. The words always come back.

I kneel on the cold floor, my hands folded over the back of the pew in front of me, and I bow my head. I move my lips, but only those in Heaven can hear me.

Vater unser im Himmel,
Geheiligt werde dein Name.
Dein Reich komme,
Dein Wille geschehe,
wie im Himmel so auf Erden.
Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute.
Und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern.
Und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.*

I have never asked for much. I have never asked for what I feel I do not deserve, and even then, I have done without. I have many things to be thankful for already -- friends whom I love, friends who love me, a roof over my head and the means to live comfortably. But I ask You now...please, please let me know that the love of my life and our son are with You. I have faith that they are. I have faith that their souls are safe. But peace is what I seek. Peace is what I am asking for. I once was at peace, when she was with me. I once was at peace, when I heard her create music. I once was at peace, when I knew we were to bring life into this world. But no amount of love and comfort has been able to bring me peace after I lost her. I do not know what else to do but to ask You for the answer. Please hear my prayer.

Amen.


I remain kneeling. My legs become numb and my shoulders sore, but I stay. An eternity is a long time, and it feels as if I have been in this position for just as long.

I finally raise my head and discover that my cheeks are damp. And then out of the corner of my bleary eye, I see two wisps of smoke slowly rising toward the Virgin Mary's bowed head. The two candles I had lit were extinguished although the rest are still burning. There is no draft in the chapel.

Coincidence. Mere coincidence.

I am strangely calm during my long walk home.


*Our father, who art in heaven... )

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Herman

April 2008

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