HONORABLE MENTION: No Dialogue Contest(May)
|Joseph woke in his locked bedroom and removed his earplugs. He had joined the party for the first few hours when people were still rational but had left early. Though the rest of the house had been full of a crowd of people he had followed his normal routine, retired to his bedroom early, locked the door, read a book, said his prayers, and fallen asleep at 10:30 pm. He had slept through the worst of last night's rave when the drink and the drugs kicked in with the party guests.
As he lay in bed he picked up his mobile, noticed he had some reviews for pieces he had put on Writing.com. He read the reviews which were all bad ones from people who had completely missed the point and he inwardly shrugged at their comments and bad ratings.
He got dressed and then leaving the room wove his way through the wreckage of the student accommodations which he shared with three other more hedonistic colleagues. Party-goers still littered the corridors, past out, some with puddles of vomit next to them, and he noticed empty syringes on the lounge tables also. As he passed the open door of his neighbor's bedroom three naked women and two naked men were visible sprawled on the bed out cold from the previous night's exertions. When they woke they would be grumpy and complaining about their hangovers and the mess. He navigated his way through the mess and passed out bodies. It was Sunday and he was off to church. He found his bike still locked in the garage, which had been spared the presence and litter of the party by the fact that the light bulb there was broken.
He rode towards the church. It was a sunny day and the starlings were chasing robins through the bushes and tulips were in full bloom by the roadside. Joseph smiled, the warmth of the sun on his face and the birdsong in his ears.
His girlfriend Petra greeted him with a warm hug and a kiss at the door of the old Victorian church, lovingly crafted and sculpted from the finest English sandstone 150 years before. They walked in together hand in hand, nodding to friends they knew and exchanging comments. Then they sat down in one of the pews to wait for the beginning of the service. At first, Joseph was a little distracted looking around. Petra's warm body pressed close to him on the pew in the cold church as they chatted a little relaxing into the routine of the service.
It was when they started the worship that Joseph came alive. The song was "Amazing Grace" so everyone knew it and everyone could sing their hearts out. God's presence filled the room and all the pettiness and ugliness of the week evaporated away. His heart filled with joy and his eyes with light as he sang with all his might. It was as though the heavens themselves had opened and he was standing there with the woman he loved before the very throne of God Almighty with all His angels in attendance. He looked at her face which was shining with the same exquisite delight that was in him and love for her and God filled his heart. From the deepest part of his soul, he rejoiced and all the shadows and the darkness of this world were for that brief moment burnt away by the bursting exuberant joy that surged through him.