Inside

The sudden downpour took them by surprise as they lolled on the grass outside the cathedral. “Quick, inside” said Izzy, grabbing Em’s arm. She avoided the neat pensioners trying to encourage a donation and sat them down close to the door so they could get out as soon as possible.

You couldn’t hear the rain. In fact you could hear very little, just the tourists wandering about taking photos, passing on the stone floor: click click click tap tap tap.

A long way down towards the other end people were just sitting.

“How boring” said Izzy, leaning awkwardly to get a selfie of herself with the vaulted ceiling looming above her.

Em suddenly felt tired. Not from the holiday or late nights, but just tired. It was like being in a car that had been rushing along and suddenly stopped so that all the things in the back crashed into you. All the things in the back of Em’s mind were crashing into her.

She thought about how she’d started to write a postcard to Grandma and was just about to sign her name when she remembered Grandma had died. She saw her future opening up in front of her: no longer at college, no longer supported by her parents, just her – responsible. She wondered if she would be loved, if life would make sense, if she would be worthwhile.

Em felt panic rising and tuned Izzy out, staring towards the brilliant stained glass window, sparkling even with a rain storm outside; and she looked at the people just sitting. Were they communing? Or just being still?

Tears filled Em’s eyes, as she sat there feeling lost. Was this praying? She wasn’t religious. She didn’t have any words to say, so could it be praying – just laying your hurt and worry out?

She felt a hum in the air, like someone saying “don’t be afraid, be at peace” and in her mind’s eye, saw herself enveloped in comforting arms. And the things crashing into her fell and dissolved.

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