She felt as if her heart flew out of her chest, “What, Mom?”
Alice was doing her best to hurry, as her grandmother was coming to take her to visit her church for the first time. During the entire week, she had marked off each day on the calender with a blue X... and now the day was here. She couldn't wait to see what the youth ministry was all about, as her home church was quite small and didn't have one.
“You’re not wearing those clothes today are you?” Her mother yelled, coughing on her words. “You will embarrass your grandmother.”
“But Mom…” Alice blotted her eyes with her finger to stop the tears from falling. She didn’t want them smudging the black lines that she had so carefully drawn around her eyes. “I always dress this way. It’s who I am.”
For years, Alice had been put down for the way she dressed. Her attire included black clothes and dark make-up; and often she would add spikes and chains to accentuate her overall appearance.
Her mother shook her head, and then let it fall into her hands. “This is your grandmother’s church, Alice.”
Alice grabbed her leather boots from the closet. It took a couple of minutes to lace them all the way up, as they reached to just under her knee, and the clasps could be tricky. Her grandmother’s beat up old punch buggy pulled into the driveway; so grabbing her leather jacket, she ran to the car.
“Hi Alice,” her grandmother said with a huge smile on her face. “Are you ready?”
Alice jumped into the front seat, “Yes!”
Entering the church, Alice looked around with fascination. The sanctuary looked as if it could seat at least a thousand people, and she couldn't wait to see the youth room and library. Turning to look at an amazing painting of the archangel Michael, Alice saw two ladies shaking their heads while looking at her strangely. She sighed, and pretended not to notice.
“Alice, the service is about to start,” her grandmother said, as she limped towards the sanctuary. When her arthritis flared up real bad she had to use a cane.
On her way down the aisle, Alice felt like the spotlight was on her. She could hear the murmurs: “What is Edna doing with HER?” “What would someone like THAT be doing in a church?” Anger began to rise within her like a volcano, and she didn’t know if she wanted to scream or cry.
When the service was over she followed her grandmother into the dining area, but just as she was grabbing an oatmeal cookie, she heard snickers coming from the corner of the room. Closing her eyes she prayed. She should have known this would happen... it always did, but this time it was supposed to be different.
“Do you think she’s a Satanist?” A girl about her age gasped; her eyeballs looked as if they were about to spring from their sockets.
“Probably,” her friend snapped. “All Goths are. ”
It was as if a crater had formed in Alice’s chest. She had never felt so alone. Her mom was right, she was embarrassing her grandmother. Yet as she took a step towards the exit, a strong urge came over her to speak to the girls who were all dolled up in their 'Sunday best.'
Placing her hand on her rumbling abdomen, Alice approached the girls. “I couldn’t help but hear your conversation just now.” She waited for a response, but nothing came. “Well, just because I dress the way I do doesn’t mean that I'm a Satanist. In fact, I am a Christian and I came here to worship God, just like you.” Taking a deep breath, she forced out the next few words. “I was hoping to join your youth ministry, and perhaps join the worship team. I play a mean guitar.”
The girls stared at her dumbfounded, “Um... yeah... you’ll have to ask Pastor Curtis. We are going to group now if you want to come.”
“Sure, thanks.” Alice waved to her grandmother who was still chatting with her friends. Catching up to the girls she said, “By the way... there’s a website for Christian Goths that’s run by a pastor... you should check it out.”
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