imageVal Gryphin
Liturgy of the Abandoned

Anthony, Amanda, Antonia

The pink and blue beads clicked through the woman's fingers, marking each word. As she mouthed the names she barely heard the priest's voice filter down from the pulpit.

"Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father."

Barbara, Richard, Mark

The wood, worn smooth from her constant touch, flowed over her knuckles. The sound of the clicking echoed the sounds that her heels had made on the pavement as she hurried along the sidewalk, only looking up from under her hat to make sure her path was clear. It was raining, but she made the cab driver drop her off four blocks short of the clinic.

"For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man."

Zara, Skylar, Nick

The smooth-faced receptionist had checked to make sure everything was in order, then she sat down in the reception area. Redbook, Marie Claire, Glamour, Newsweek. No Parenting, no Good Housekeeping, no Family Fun. The prints on the wall were sterile flowers, soothing colors, on beige painted plaster. The fans on the ceiling made a quiet whooshing, contrasting to the lack of conversation among the women waiting in the padded seats.

Kylie, Walter, Pat

"Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

Click, click, click

The robe the nurse had given her was much warmer than the standard hospital gown, but she was still cold. She folded her arms under her breasts, wincing as the fabric chafed her sensitive nipples. She ran her palms over the flat stomach that she worked five times a week for. She thought of the look she'd see on her mother's face if she walked out of the room now, left the sterile instruments for someone else. A hand knocked on the door.

Jennifer, Sam, Lee

"Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."

Click, click, click

Lying on the plush hotel bed she clutched her stomach and stared at the ceiling. On the table beside her was the untouched tray of food from room service. On the TV, the news commentator was discussing the election in hushed excited tones, but she didn't hear it. Stiffly she rose from the bed and closed the curtains, then reached for the glass of wine on the tray.

Robert, Meg, Angus

"Go in peace to love and serve the Lord."

Click, click, click

Everyone rose but she remained sitting. The woman to her right looked down at her, but she ignored the old lady and kept running the beads over her fingers.

Pauline, Tracy, Joe

Click, click, click.


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