Easter Sunday In Koreatown

It is Easter Sunday for the first time in what seems like years. I wake up alone in my L.A. apartment feeling instantly isolated. I don’t want to speak to anybody, because I am afraid of what I will say. So I text my mother : “He is risen.” Then I go downstairs to the gym. On my way out the door I sneak a furtid glance toward the kitchen table; a nanosecond of giddyness touches me in my anticipation. 

No basket. 

Treadmill. Run run run. 

By the time I get in the shower I’m feeling optimistic. Im headed to the church down the street from my apartment, a place I’ve been only for the 30-minute epic illumination of the free organ concerts. I put on a blue dress, try to cram my head into audacious red hat reminiscent of my Grandmother’s Sunday best, and leave my apartment alone, sans chapeau, walking toward the towering edifice of 18th century glass and stone.  

M calls me when I’m halfway there. “Where are you?” she asks. We had plans to meet up this morning, but I’m still shocked to find her seated beside me on a tight wooden pew a few minutes later.

The service begins with a few haunting gestures from the organ and I feel as though someone has pulled the strings from my corset. I exhale, oxygen as somethng new entering my veins. I am suddenly conscious of the ease with which breathing happens, curious how long I had been drawn.

“What the fuck?” says M. 

Prayer. I try to find a still place to enter, but I cannot. I instead see M keeping a written tally of the Hallelujahs on the corner of her program. My eyes dart down the page in a panic, looking for moments that might cause some sort of embarassment, but it’s too late. 

M sees the words Assurance of Pardon and laughs out loud into the Reverend’s words “Friends, believe…”

New Text Message: “Indeed. Go to church” -Mom. 

Hymn. I want to sing the harmonies, but the songs are all different from what I know. Everything is tangentially familiar and strange. 

Prayer. I do better this time. I look around the room,  gripped by every contortion of the human face. People struggling with their short attention spans, empty stomachs, itchy collars, embarrassed to find themselves distracted, concentrating on the front of the church, the back of the pew, the top of their hands, joyful but looking for something to be thankful for. I can relate to them, anxious and panicked that they’ve forgotten something. 

Offering. Ours, not theirs. 

“Holy Fuck! that’s ballsy”: M 

Cringe and smile. 

Love is what I remember most. 

Loving her then, in that moment. Loving the woman in front of her who cringes. Loving my mother so much it hurts. Loving Easter dresses with bows and gloves. Picking out toddler sized 3-piece suits and blue plastic grass for my first brother. Gleefully selecting lavender sweater vests for my second brother. Buying the last of the dark chocolate Cadburry eggs in hope that my Nana will love me best. 

The middle-aged man to my  right has come alone. He mouths all the words. I never hear his voice. I am sitting very close to him. I feel as though I could reach out and touch him, that he would not be bothered. I felt as though I spoke to him when we left, though I had not. 

Easter, as we are told by the Reverend, is the story of “Love after death.”

I have never been so happy. 

 

Prayer.

Prayer.

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~ by Vy on April 18, 2009.

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