Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA


Published in Strays.

She looks up from her hymnal long just enough to lose her place. No one’s listening anyways, she tells herself, before gently closing the book and returning it to its home. Her voice is beautiful. As she stands there, the chorus echoes throughout the sanctuary, alive with song toasting the trinity. The organ’s massive pipes tower over the congregation. She looks to her left — her parents — and to her right — familiar faces — and wonders how did I get here? How did this become the thing I do? How did this become what I’m supposed to be? The music returns to silence and the pews creak and moan. Attention returns to the altar. Reinforced consequences leave her tense with fear. Her guilt is heavy. She’s doing the best she can.