Old fashioned confessionals. Boxes of secrets with beautifully carved doors, tall and straight, set within ornate panels.
Behind the central door sits the secret keeper, wearing a purple stole. Behind the doors on either side, kneel the secret creators–the sinners, waiting in the dim light for comfort and forgiveness. The essence of wrong doing floats from them like smoke from a swinging brazier. The priest opens a small wooden window separating him from the sinner and leans toward the masking screen, waiting for words to pour into his ear and permeate his brain.
Like Russian nesting dolls, confessionals are nestled within the opulent body of the church, with its own ecclesiastical secrets and sins.
Many churches are dying. But although they stand ruined and abandoned in dying neighborhoods, their confessionals continue to harbor sins and secrets, lurking within dark corners like haunts. Living on forever like cockroaches.
Note: I wrote this piece during a writing workshop where the topic was “Obsessions.” And having attended a parochial school for twelve years, churches have a yin-yang vibe for me.
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