Pain, constant and crushing, resonates from my kneecaps up my thighs and into the small of my back.
Time ticks by as slowly as a caterpillar inching along a twig, and I groan inwardly, yearning for the chance to move back just a tad and relieve the pain in my knees. They are going to be bruised permanently, I know it.
I can barely see over the pew in front of me, but I know where we are in the order of the mass. We are only almost done with the "Christ Has Died" song. Ugh...
The priest says more words. We sing the "Amen" and, thank God, we can now stand up.
More words are said. I squirm and swish and sway back and forth, moving as much as possible before...God save me...we have to kneel again.
As I lower myself to the unpadded kneeler, I suddenly remember the compact mirror in my little purse. An idea forms, and the excitement of fun completely erases the pain in my knees. (Of course, they are probably numb.)
Pulling out the compact, I flip it open and lift my eyes to the ceiling. With any luck, all the adults will think I am praying to the Heavens.
As everyone processes to communion, I stay kneeling and watch the reflection of light from my mirror bounce over the ceiling of the church. I flick it from one side to the other, let it mingle with the reflections of the wine goblets, let it disappear into the light bulbs, and even go so far as to let it shine on the number boards.
My fun is quite short-lived. I mistakenly let my gaze stray to the choir where I find my father glowering at me from his seat. I snap the compact shut so fast the rush of air dries my eyeballs.
Because, in the words of the great Bill Cosby....
"My father established our relationship fairly quick. He said, 'I brought you in this world, and I can take you out.'"
And now the pain in my knees is ten times as worse as before.