Lucky Palms, Episode 2: One is the Loneliest Number (I&S)

After my late breakfast, I drove the truck across town to St. Astrid’s. The Angelican church was small, but beautiful building. I liked to sit on the ridge above and watch the people leave Sunday service. The pastor would stand at the door and shake the hand of each parishioner with an enthusiastic smile. He would call each person by name and always seemed to remember details about what was going on in their lives. If I was religious, I wouldn’t mind having a shepherd like the one at St. Astrid’s. That’s what they were called right? Andi had told me once.

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Since I overslept, services were long over, but I could still sit on the shifting sands and admire the architecture. I often wondered what the inside of the old-fashioned stone building looked like – beyond the double doors. I supposed I could’ve attended a service, but church had never really been my thing. Nonno and Nonna were Jacoban and attended mass. Mamma had never insisted we attend church, although when my parents were together, we attended the Angelican services.

I supposed I was being nostalgic, remembering better days. Mamma and Dad had been happy when I was little, at least I thought they were. Dad sat me on his shoulders during a candlelight service once so I could see what was happening and Mamma put her arm around us. Carina had been in an Easter parade. I smiled remembering the fuss she made because she tore her spring dress. Andi had been an angel in a Christmas play one year.

I strained to remember the actual services as I sat cross-legged and observed the patio below. I thought about walking down and climbing the willow tree. Perhaps I’d feel closer to a god in the tree. I remembered something about praying and singing songs and praising the Father above. I always thought it was weird that people praised an unseen god. How did that work exactly?

Andi had tried to explain it to me once – that even though Padre was unseen, he was still real. If I closed my eyes and let go of my ties to the world, and if I waited, I would feel his presence or something like that. The only thing I felt was the heat of the sun beating down on my back.

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I thought about sunscreen and how I should’ve applied it because my neck and shoulders were probably getting burnt. I thought about how I was still hungry and I probably should’ve borrowed money from Dad to buy a bigger meal or I shouldn’t have spent as much money on the new air conditioning tube and groceries for the house. I thought about how the groceries were probably roasting in the vehicle and how I should drive home and put things away. I thought about how silly it was for me to sit here in the sand watching a church but refusing to go in and hoping to somehow connect with some unseen god out there somewhere that apparently a lot of people believed in. I thought about the red rocks and the yellow sand and the green trees and the gray building. Those things I could see. Those things I could feel and touch. This god of Andi’s, of Dad’s, of Nonno’s and Nonna’s… I just couldn’t figure him out.

Still, I couldn’t deny there was something peaceful about sitting way out here on the outskirts of town, staring at an empty church in the middle of the day with no one around. Perhaps there was something spiritual about it too.

I believed in spirits, right? I could feel something moving all around and through me if I concentrated hard enough. Life energies, I could call them. That felt safer than attaching the name of a god. That felt more comfortable. That felt less lonely and distant than an unseen god because if there was one thing I discovered sitting out here day after day, observing the church like an outsider, it was that I was alone. Sure, Dad was at the camper, albeit sleeping, but we spent less time together now than we did when we were back in the Valley. So I did things alone. I ate alone. I drank alone. I walked alone. I read alone. I played alone. I worked alone. I shopped alone. I slept alone.

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I was alone. In the course of the summer, I had learned one very important thing… one is the loneliest number.


Author Notes:

Lucky Palms Part One

This is the second episode in Interludes & Solitude, Lucky Palms edition.

  1. You can download St. Astrid’s church here.
  2. Angelicanism is my Simworld version of Anglicanism or the Episcopalian church. The Angelican church is associated with the Peteran faith, but has close ties to the Jacoban church also. You can read more about my Simworld religions here.
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13 thoughts on “Lucky Palms, Episode 2: One is the Loneliest Number (I&S)

  1. Pingback: New I&S Post: One is the Loneliest Number | TheKrazyCrazyLifeofKass

  2. I love the peace and the spiritual pondering punctuated by thoughts about more everyday life. I really like how Kass isn’t completely sure about her relationship with religion. I think these musings were my favourite ones:

    “Perhaps I’d feel closer to a god in the tree.” and “Those things I could see. Those things I could feel and touch. This god of Andi’s, of Dad’s, of Nonno’s and Nonna’s… I just couldn’t figure him out.”

    It just tells so much about Kass’s character. And this chapter gives readers plenty of things to ponder too. I love it when stories do that.

    That church is indeed very lovely! And it’s awesome you wrote a chapter around that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, @RipuAncestor. Kass is very analytical and tangible, and she struggles with accepting and understanding the metaphysical and spiritual. I personally don’t mind writing about controversial topics like politics, religion, spirituality, sex, etc, and I think they are great tools to explore the reality of a world. This was a great way to dive into Kass’ mind and also explore a little more about the world around her, introducing new facets. I’m glad you liked the tree part… I feel most in tune with my faith when I’m in nature, and I like trees… so that was a little hidden piece of self in a character. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Trees and forests are pretty sacred indeed. 🙂 I like it when stories and writers dare to tackle difficult and controversial subjects. Those are just the things we need many different views on.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the way Kass delves into her thoughts about the religion and life energies. You’ve created a very believable, complex world with the right bit of supernatural. Really great job!

    Sometimes I feel the same as Kass does right now. My family is a thousand kilometres away and me and my boyfriend live apart because of our jobs. We see each other every other weekend, but I really feel lonely. Number one is indeed the loneliest number of all.

    The St. Astrid’s church is very pretty. I gave a look at the link in author’s notes and must say that the creator can be really proud of his or her building skill. I’ve tried to build a church in my game in Monte Vista, but it doesn’t look as cozy as this one… I hope that sooner or later Kass will enter inside so even she can admire this amazing piece of work.

    Beautifully written!! I’m looking forward to the next installment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wanted to talk a bit more about the religion in Kass’s world and her thoughts about religion, spirituality, and supernatural, especially since she contemplates this a bit again (in the future) in Mental Health Day. I came across the church and absolutely loved it. I knew I wanted to include it in a story. Ironically, I happened to be sifting through old playlists on YouTube and was listening to Say (All I Need) by OneRepublic and used that to inspire some of the content for the last two chapters. My final semester in my undergrad I was engaged, but my fiance lived 40 minutes away and my family was across the country and most of my friends had graduated since I went one semester longer. I drew from that to write about Kass’ loneliness. Thanks for reading Kass.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t say anything, but this reminded me about the Mental Health Day update 🙂

        You did good to include the church. It’s really pretty and fits well in Lucky Palms.

        Oh, if only my boyfriend lived so close! 40 minutes seems nothing compared to those long 3 hours of mine 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ouch! My fiance at the time was working weird hours though, mostly overnights and I went to school and worked during the day so we had to get creative seeing each other. We also did several weeks across country from each other (some 27 hours I think without breaks). So yeah, I remember the long distance blues. Good luck to you both.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. i love that cass is questioning religoneven though shes not sure if she belives. also the part where she left the groceries in the car reminds me of me. i leave things on my counter because i forget about them.

    Like

  5. its all very quiet right now, but i feel something is going to happen. because of the way 1.0 ended… im a little confused right now … but still wanna fill in the gaps with this story.

    Liked by 1 person

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