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Wondering, Pondering

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The dark wooden church bench under his intertwined fingers feels rough. Yoongi’s knees hurt from kneeling for so long. It’s been half an hour how the church service has ended but he’s still there on his knees waiting for a miracle to happen. Yoongi doesn’t believe in God and he doesn’t believe in redemption. But he’s waiting there with his eyes closed and cheeks wet from tears. He hasn’t committed a crime and he’s not praying for a better life. He’s there to get out of his despair. So many people have turned their lives upside down because they “found God”. Maybe something in him could also turn upside down.

It’s only him and some old woman left in the church. She’s sitting in the right back corner dressed in a dark purple coat and a white scarf over her head. He noticed her when he first came into the church. She has been in the same position ever since – silently praying under her breath, sitting with her hands folded, a rosary between her wrinkled fingers. He’s sitting in the third row watching the painting of Saint Michael the Archangel. Under the painting black letters on a golden frame say "the protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil".

“Protect me, stand up for me…” Yoongi mutters under his breath, trying to mimic the lady, and takes a deep breath. He wants somebody to stand up for him, to take all the worries and pain away. Protect him from evil and himself. He came to the church for an epiphany. He came here to see a vision, the light, the solution.

With closed eyes, he tries to relax and clear his mind. The only thing he can hear is the muttering of the old woman. She’s praying for this world and its people. For her children, for her loved ones.

Yoongi puts his intertwined hands under his chin and hears the woman stand up. He hears light footsteps and the heavy church door close. He looks over his shoulder and the old woman is gone. But there’s a man standing in the back and crossing himself. The stranger catches Yoongi’s eyes and steps forward. Yoongi quickly turns around and stares at Michael with his puffy red eyes. He doesn’t want to be seen by anyone. But he can hear heavy footsteps getting closer and closer.

The man stops by the third row and asks, “Can I?”

Yoongi doesn’t answer and just keeps staring at the archangel. Maybe angels exist. Maybe one of them is right beside him. Somehow he feels anxious. “I wish the granny was here”, he thinks. “This dude will probably start talking about Jesus. His look is screaming “God loves everyone”… He’s kind of cute though.”

The man sits on the bench, takes off his blue scarf and puts it on his knees. He looks at least thirty years old with small wrinkles starting to form around his eyes and cheeks still glowing. The man takes off his navy hat and ruffles his black hair. But he doesn’t say anything. So they just stay like that for five minutes, fifteen minutes. The man didn’t say anything about his puffy eyes nor did he ask about why Yoongi is all alone in a church. After half an hour Yoongi’s knees feel like they’re on fire. He slowly stands up, brushes off his knees and then sits on the bench.

“I was about to ask if your knees were okay,” the man says with a kind smile on his face and eyes crinkled.

“Yeah, they're fine. I wouldn’t make myself suffer like that. Still have a mile to walk back home,” Yoongi answers.

“A tissue?” the man takes out a white paper tissue out of his pocket and hands it to him.

“Thanks,” he forgot his face was still wet from tears. Yoongi feels slightly embarrassed that the man has to see him like that. Now the black haired man will definitely start quoting the Bible to make him feel better. Yoongi takes the tissue and blows his nose. Bad idea at a church with great acoustics. He chuckles to himself and asks, “So what are you doing here? The ceremony ended an hour ago.”

“I know. I was just curious to see the inside. Pretty paintings.”

“Very pretty. Everyone is dying and crying. Do people really gain strength by watching somebody else suffer?” Yoongi asks and looks at a sculpture of Jesus on a cross. He never understood Christianity well. “So you don’t work here or something? Just passing by?”

“Do I look like a priest or something?”

“...Honestly?”

“Don’t answer…” the man laughs weakly and sighs. Suddenly he looks not as pure and happy as he did before. With his mouth corners turned upside down and eyebrows furrowed. He seems deep in thought with a lot of questions on his mind unanswered. Yoongi is openly staring at the man’s face, looking at every pore and every small wrinkle. He follows the line of his side profile, his pointy nose and pink lips.

“Kind of passing by,” the man says and turns his face to meet Yoongi’s eyes then smiles lightly and adds, “Thought that no one would be here so I wanted to look around.”

Yoongi furrows his eyebrows, “Are you in your mid-life crisis or something? Realized how you didn’t do anything with your life so far so now you're looking for salvation? Maybe you should’ve checked for that in a car shop. Buy yourself a red Corvette and grieve in self-pity. Drink yourself to death. Do heroin. That’s what people do. Not go to church…”

“Wow, you’re so positive.” The man laughs but his voice gets silent, “I don’t know, though,” he shrugs, “maybe it is mid-life crisis. Maybe it’s just me not knowing where to go.”

“Well, we could go to my place.” Yoongi blurs out without thinking. The man is too attractive to just let go of like that. Maybe he won’t replt with a “God hates gays”.

The man’s jaw drops but his confused face quickly changes into a smirk, “I don’t even know your name.”

“You can find that out on our way to my house.”