Springtime in Nowhere, Texas; four baptisms scheduled for April alone. Glowing, folks said of the new mothers. Glowing. As if it was divine light they’d been shot full of and not some horny-toad’s jizz.
Dipping a finger into the little tub of pink polish, Jade struggled to focus on her sacristan duties: polish all the silver for the Sunday Eucharist—two wine chalices, two patens for bread, and one slotted spoon.
Just handling the spoon made her shudder, but the reverend never batted an eye. The preacher wielded that thing as proudly as a king’s scepter, studiously refreshing the chalice for each new congregant in line by fishing out any bread that’d fallen from their predecessor’s hands. Floaters, he called them, grinning. A little piece of flesh floating in all that red. Even worse, though: the people who drank straight from the cup, effectively French-kissing the entire congregation. But the reverend still always made a show of drinking from the chalice last, trying to reassure everyone: Nothing to worry about! Nothing gross about sharing a little bodily fluid!
Jade thought it odd, using silver to serve Christ’s blood, a man who was betrayed in exchange for silver pieces. Was it meant as yet another transfiguration?—something once used to betray now used to welcome and forgive? She didn’t buy it. She knew there was plenty that no one was willing to forgive.
Glowing, folks said. Glowing, Jade thought. Pink polish turning black on the rag, she tried imagining the cup was her womb, something she might one day buff back to a clean, healthy shine.