Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tauy Creek Digest #34: Rubble

"What's the deal with that church?" Jodie asked Wyatt as they put their clothes back on.

"You don't know?" It had been awhile since he had met someone who hadn't heard of the legends of this church, especially from someone who lives in the area.

Jodie shook her head.

"It's the old Lutheran church. It was abandoned about 80 years ago. People say that it's haunted or that the Devil lives there. I've lived across the street from it for 18 years and I haven't seen anything odd over there. Do you want to go check it out?"

"Sure," Jodie agreed.

They walked hand-in-hand across the road and into the churchyard. The church was much more imposing than it was when seen at Wyatt's house. They slowly walked around the church, she gently touched the almost-smooth limestone. She looked through the gaping holes where the windows used to be and saw piles of fallen stone, wood beams, and other debris filling the interior of the church. Jodie imagined what the interior looked like--the pews, the pulpit--she also wondered what the windows looked like before their disappearance. Were they regular windows? Stain glass? Were they broken out or carefully removed?

"Isn't your family pretty religious?" Wyatt asked.

"We are," she hesitated slightly. "We were."

"What happened?"

"Just disagreement and personal stuff between my family and the church. We decided to take a break. My parents still occasionally go but to the Methodist church in town. They take my sister but I don't go."

"Aren't you some sort of weird religion?"

Jodie chuckled. "We're German Baptist."

"Isn't that, like, one step up from Amish?"

"You could say that. My family doesn't follow all of the Brethren practices. We have television, for example. We used to be devout when I was really young but when we moved from the country into town, we kind of had to adapt."

"Is that why you sometimes wear those denim dresses?"

"Yes, usually when I don't have pants to wear."

"Well, it's a huge turn on so keep wearing them," Wyatt smiled.

Jodie laughed out loud. "I will. Don't worry."

They stopped walking and Wyatt turned to look at Jodie. He looked at her and smiled big at her. They had been going to school together since the third grade and had been friends since middle school. Wyatt gently touched Jodie's cheek and she leaned her head to meet it. "I love you," he said. The words just came out. He had just lost his virginity to her and he was already professing his love. He immediately began worrying about what Jodie's response would be and how to deflect what he had said.

"I love you, too," she replied. Wyatt was the nicest guy she knew and had ever dated. She was happy that she had been the one he lost his virginity to, something he would think fondly about in the future. Jodie had lost her virginity in the abandoned boy's locker room of the middle school late in her eighth grade year. She didn't want to do it but was talked into it. She stared up at the ceiling while her boyfriend pounded into her for a few minutes until he released himself into the condom that they practically had to fight over to get him to wear. He also attended the Old German Baptist Church and during a week-long retreat that following summer, after rejecting his advances on the second day, he raped her on the third. That was the main reason her family separated themselves from the church. The church wanted to cover it up, she wanted him gone. She then had to see him at church and at school until his mom pulled him from public school because the stress of being accused of rape was too much for him. She still saw him at church, at least until she finally quit. The day she said she was going to stop attending was the day she started to move on.

Wyatt slid his hand around to the back of Jodie's head. They leaned against the back church wall and began kissing. They kissed for almost a solid minute when they parted and began walking again. They walked hand-in-hand through the cemetery, looking at the dozen or so graves.

Several Schones--Albert, Frederick, Myrtle, Henry. Two stones with no name, just INFANT--Kneisel and Thomen. Two other Kneisels were nearby but no other Thomens. A husband and wife--Adam and Martha Willich--had the largest stone. Another husband and wife--Alexander and Sophia Schmidt--had the second largest stone. None of the stones predated 1901 or went past 1911.

None of the stones had flowers or anything nearby and Jodie wondered if anyone remembered these people. One hundred years from now, would anyone remember her?