If sneaking out wasn’t bad enough, the fact that Miriam was sneaking out to meet up with the ‘forbidden Fruit’ was just terrible. ‘The Forbidden Fruit’ was the silly yet symbolic nickname awarded to Michael Collins, mostly because he was the village preacher’s son , but also because he was not the stereotypical , rebellious church mouse teen. Standing pure as the living male version of the Virgin Mary, he was admired by both adults and hormone driven teenage girls. But here Miriam was, holding up the hems of her silken night gown and throwing a leg over the wall to go meet the chap in the middle of the night.
Jumping down from the high concrete wall, Miriam ran wild in the wind. The darkness and chill of the night, coupled with the bareness of her feet, pushed her to go even faster, but of course, her prime motivation was to see Michael. On the way there she imagined it just as she had a thousand times before; the softness of his lips, the broadness of his shoulders, the warmth of his embrace . Her legs got shaky when she thought any further, so she smiled and just kept running, till she got to the corner of Mrs. Fowler’s house and could finally see the chapel. She stopped for a moment and ran her hand over her neatly combed hair. She didn’t have a mirror but she was confident her flattened hand was enough to wipe all the sheen from her face. It wasn’t until she lifted her hand that she realized she was shaking, but she grabbed the hem of that night gown and pushed her way up that hill because nerves or no nerves, tonight, was the night. And what a night it was. The distant moon hovered over the chapel’s slender cross, and a pack of dogs howled somewhere nearby.
Passing the usually scary headstones in the Chapel’s graveyard was effortless in that moment, because her eyes were fixed on the door. She knocked on it the special way he had told her to, and after a moment that felt like eternity, she saw the doors slowly parting open. Then darkness. Deafening silence and blinding darkness. Hesitantly, she put a foot in the door, then the other, then she tried to speak but, was instantly silenced by a cold finger on her lips. Goosebumps covered her skin and she was suddenly electrified and terrified at the same time. She then felt him take her hand, and found herself being led through the darkness.
Finally he stopped. He let go of her hand and on came a light. She hadn’t realized where they were, but it was in the supplies room behind the pulpit and the stage. Their eyes met, and they both melted in a smile, awkwardly and silently they looked on at each other as Michael made the first move for a kiss. Slowly he leaned his head in, all the while Miriam had her eyes wide open like a deer in headlights. Finally he was close enough for his breath to be bouncing off of her face but he paused. Frozen, they both stood before abruptly forbidden fruit Michael decided to crash his mouth against Miriam’s causing both their noses to collide and to be uncomfortably squished and turned as Michael acted out what he thought was a kiss. Miriam held her breath and tried to go with it, but she couldn’t shake the feeling of being underwhelmed. Trying not to leave him with all the work, Miriam flung her stringy arms around his scrawny neck and tried to put her body closer to his. It started to feel better, but then with a crash, it ended. Fortunately and unfortunately, the crash did not come from either of them stumbling into anything and perhaps that’s what caused the greatest alarm in both their little hearts.’Quick! Hide!’Michael gave the orders as softly as he could, but he didn’t need to, for Miriam had long found herself down on her knees with her back to an old table in the tiny room.
‘Oh my God..’
‘Shhhh!’ Michael silenced her before flicking off the lights again. In the silence they crouched listening and waiting. Soon enough, they heard everything :footsteps, two sets, then the voice of a man, it was low, he was trying to be discreet. As the sweat rolled down Micheal’s back he rose up and moved within the room towards the direction of the sounds.
‘You hear that?’ He whispered to Miriam
The man they heard got louder, and a thunderous laugh belted from him.it was then that they both truly grew frightened. In unison, they recognized the strong and hearty laugh.
‘Jesus Christ!’ Michael sounded like he was in agony, but Miriam was simply envisioning her execution and funeral, as she knew that if his father walked in on them now, they would both be dead by morning. A man of God or not, she still feared him, but more than her fear of him was her fear of her own mother. The way she would let her have it, and this village would never let it rest. It would follow her to her grave which she figured,would be dug shortly. But then came the second voice. Laughter – a woman’s laughter.
Together, they pressed their ears to the wall. They only heard more giggling. It was then that they realized that this was no search party . Still not at ease and Curious, they listened on and in time, the woman left her giggles and said something unclear . At the sound of the woman’s voice, Miriam’s heart sank and Michael started to sweat harder. Thoughts started to swirl in their minds and Miriam was struck with the most terrifying combination of shock and confusion, all the while Michael’s voice seared through her like a knife.
‘Miriam…’ Michael said. He figured he didn’t need to finish his sentence because in the darkened room he could see the white of Miriam’s now widened eyes. But he continued.
‘Miriam who does that sound like to you? ‘
Petrified, immobilized and filled with nothing but shock and fear, slowly Miriam turned in the darkness and lifted her head to the heavens
‘Mother of Christ’ she slowly exclaimed and in timely fashion, Michael whispered,
‘Our parents are here and they didn’t come looking for us…they came looking for each other .’
To be continued.