I didn’t see that guy again until maybe some three weeks later.
I was sitting in the back, sketching on my binder, when he came in and sat on the pew across the aisle from mine. The same one he’d been at that first time. When he caught me looking curiously at him through the gloom he got up and took a seat next to me.
I stupidly blurted out my real name, “Tanya”
“Nice to meet you, Tanya,” he said chuckling softly.
He looked younger when he smiled. I now estimated him to be no more than twenty-one. Somehow, I had the feeling that I’d seen or known him before–did he remind me of my older brother? I took his hand and shook it. “Nice to meet you too”
“Why are you sitting here—all the way at the back?”
I bristled, “Why are you sitting here?”
“I don’t know anybody.”
“Same here,” I lied
We didn’t talk for a while. As the service went on I got used to having another person sitting next to me, so I sat back on my usual spectator attitude. Tony, however, was an active participant. He sang when they sang, kneeled when they kneeled. He didn’t cry like before, though, which was a relief.
“Tanya” he suddenly whispered as the pastor rose to give his sermon, “do you know of any Bible studies or catechism or classes or whatever to become baptized?”
I was in a spot. How would I know what Zuri’s church did?
“I don’t know.”
“Well aren’t you baptized?”
“No. This isn’t even my church”
“Oh.” He looked decidedly disappointed, “Nevermind, then.”
I thought about what I said next for a full fifteen minutes. Should I? Should I not? Oh well.
“There’s a Small Groups study here on Monday nights… If you are interested. The people there can answer your questions.”
“Monday? What time?”
“No what time it ends?”
“Around eight. They have food afterwards”
“Count me in, then”
When the church lights flickered on at the end of the service, we shook hands again.
“Will you be there?”
I shrugged, thinking of my situation, “Does it matter?”
“Well I want to make sure I know at least somebody.”
“Yeah. I’ll be there,” I said, pondering the real question of how could I not be there?
He saluted me as he turned to go, “See you then.”
part 12 of If You Only Knew