Writing by Myrtle Yvonne Ragub // Photograph by Sophie Pellegrini
The moment I laid eyes on this abandoned church, I stopped believing in God.
The first time I saw this abandoned church, I was lost in a massive town. I thought the ground where the paintings – where the arts are – is where the center is supposed to be. But it turned out that not all art, not all attempt for salvation is where the world revolves around. Sometimes it revolves so far from your wrist that you end up in a dark corner, heads down, a grocery bag in your hands. I was lost in a massive town when I saw this abandoned church, looking indifferent and promising. Its broken windows protruding, the steps cluttered with dried leaves. I entered, softly brushing my hands against the walls. Touching its walls was like touching forgotten prayers – depressing but it gives you this resolve to stay and capture its ruins. A masterpiece, a stained epoch in the history. An unfolding miracle. I thought, “This must be what glory is.”
The first time I saw him, he reminded me of that abandoned church desperately trying to look whole. He’d cover the holes with his achievements, with intellectual words and impressive plot of stories, and it worked. People would praise his works and he’d smile at them. That smile reminded me of the altar that bears a couple of saints. There’s too much heavy, too much expectations.
I started seeing him after that meeting. At nights, when the world revolves so far from our wrists, I would hold him and not say anything. No words are necessary. We would stay like that until we fall asleep. I would make him breakfast the next morning – eggs, bacon, two toasted bread, beans and coffee. Black, just the way he likes it. An offer for an abandoned church. Our movements would be in harmony. Quiet movements with momentum that is hopeful and promising. I would slip poems in his coat before he left and he would read me anything – my poems, his poems, or any book when he gets home. This is how we cope with the deafening cry of the people who used to come to the abandoned church. This is how we fill the black hole in us.
The moment I laid eyes on this abandoned church, I stopped believing in God. I started believing in healing instead – in the incorporation of two rotten hearts. Being familiar with an abandoned church’s holes and secret passages is no easy task. It takes a great deal of patience and time. But I don’t mind. Not all healing comes with Band-Aids and medications. Sometimes healing comes with just a hand to reach for when you wake up in the middle of the night.[share]