There are prayers trapped between her palms. The men press her in, bow their heads, mumble responses, raise their voices on amen. They’re not looking at her. She’s still glad she washed her hands and scraped the blood out from under her fingernails.
Prayers are selfish. Please can I – give us this day – forgive me – bless my family. The men in the pews smell like old newspaper and sanctity. They instruct god to watch over strangers.
Her finger tips push against her lips and she tastes her words. Let the kitchen walls and tiles be clean, let this be a dream, let the children be smiling when I wake.
She keeps her eyes closed.
In the interests of something not science: here’s what the first draft looked like. (I won’t be doing this every time, just thought that some might find it interesting.)
She has always wondered if people could see the prayers trapped between her palms. In church, perhaps not. Everyone there wants to be seen as good. They bow their heads, they mumble the responses, they raise their voices on amen. They’re not looking at her. She’s glad she washed her hands, scraped under her fingernails.
Prayers are selfish. Please can I give us this day forgive me bless me family. And even when they are directed at strangers, they are selfish. Sarah thinks – we just want god to think we’re good.
Because then maybe we will be. If somehow we can fool god, then maybe the things we have done wrong will be ephemeral. Sarah closes her eyes tightly, and prays that that no one will see the things she is holding.