excerpt from When War Was a Card Game
Memoirs by Ebba Sage
The church building’s interior had high arching wood beams, with hanging lights that I often found my five-year-old self staring straight up at, and wood pews that were polished shiny from years of peoples’ butts sliding in and out, and polished even more by kids like me, who tried to turn the pews into horizontal slides by tucking my dress far enough under my fanny to lessen the friction before shoving off. On a good day, and with no adults watching, I could master a five foot slide before having to use my feet to push off again for the next pass.
Pew polishing was a good alternative to my other idea of stripping off all my clothes, and running down the aisle naked, right after the pastor had told us, with a mere wave of his hand, to sit down, stand up, sit down, then stand up again, during what seemed like the first hour of every service. Was it boredom, attention seeking, or my inner artist protesting against the status quo? This is my first memory of guilt, because surely there was something wrong with me if I wanted to run naked through the church, not just anytime, but during the most sacred, quiet, meditative portion of the sermon, where I’d be sure that my naked protest would be noticed and a committee would be formed to question the ridiculous formality of the sermon and how cruel and thoughtless it was to make kids sit through them. It was simply too much, but not being confident of the desired outcome, I left my clothes on and am fairly certain now, that I made the right decision.