The man on the phone said he was the minister at the Church of Faith here in Dreamwood, the church mother had infrequently attended when she was still alive. He said he heard about mother’s passing and wanted to check up on me. I’m a 27-year-old man– I don’t need checking up on. That’s not what I said, of course.
I told him the truth. “I’m getting along just fine. A little lonely, but fine.” The minister was cordial, obviously devout, but kind. He said there were some of mother’s items left at the church that I was welcome to retrieve, including her hand-bells and bible. He said I could come by any day after 6 pm. He hung up the phone and I made a plan to head down to the Church of Faith later that evening. It was about 4 pm.
Grabbing the raincoat and some extra layers, I headed out to Frank’s Books to grab a few quick books. On the list were Fodor’s Turkey Travel Guide (Turkey was next on mother’s list) and Being Mortal. As I walked over, the early evening felt uncharacteristically dark, and the air was still.
I sat in Frank’s for a while, quickly becoming engrossed in the book about Turkey. The book explained The Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. It explored the intricacy and antiqueness of the ancient world. Everything was magical and otherworldly. It is hard to believe that such wonders were crafted before electricity and machines and modern-day conveniences.
I was snapped out of my trance when a man tapped me and said it was closing time. It was 7 pm.
I purchased the books and hustled out into the cold night. On a brisk walk, I made it to the Church of Faith in no time. But what was awaiting me was not a kind minister with a bag of mother’s things. Rather, it was some sort of cult gathering around a bonfire– or so it looked.
Nearing the ring of people, their singing became louder and clearer. Church songs. The people were taking part in a religious revival. Now this was some good entertainment. A few minutes later, a guy walked by the whole thing, looking just as bewildered as I’m sure I did. I motioned for him to come next to me– I had the best view.
“Does this happen all the time?” I asked him.
“I have no idea. I thought people like this lived in the country, not in the middle of Dreamwood,” he responded. We continued to watch the singing and dancing, both completely stunned and taken aback. He said a few more things, but I couldn’t catch any of them. I was too dazed and enthralled to comprehend anything.
I felt myself moving forward towards the center of the group. I don’t remember intentionally approaching the circle, but somehow I did. I don’t remember what happened next, but I woke up on the couch of the KWHR local radio station the next morning.