It had taken many years for her to raise enough courage to come back here. She stood by the grave staring at the church and while she had imaged these moments, playing them in her mind like an old black and white movie, the flood of emotions she had expected were not forthcoming. She was cold both outside and in, and where there should have been relief for the forthcoming closure of this part of her life, there was only emptiness.
She remembered this place as a conundrum, a multifaceted hub of her younger days, with many aspects carving out parts of her soul and discarding them with no remorse. Love and hatred, happiness and fear, clearness and confusion; all had been foisted on her at some point in her youth here. Here in this now damnable place, which had been such a formable part of her life.
She thought of him now, allowing herself a full moment to bring it all back to life for her. How she loved him. How he was like a god to her. How she thought he could do no wrong. All those things that a child depends upon in a father, they were all wrapped up in a neat package within him and that gift was only for her. That was the fairy tale that she lived for and with her vivid imagination she could feel the hugs, hear the laughter and bask in the love. Unfortunately, as fairy tales more often than not tell, well they don’t pan out as expected; often coming to horrid endings. That had been the case for her.
The fire and brimstone that he preached each week left him filled with power rather than love. The anger that he spewed towards the congregation, scolding them for their sins, he never learned to leave it within the sermons. The disgust he projected in order to bring them to their knees knew no boundaries and as the congregation would hang their heads in shame, the evil would fill his heart and it would travel with him till an opportunity arose to release the darkness.
In a warped perception of her world, the church before her, that should have been her respite, was instead the cause of all of her pain. The abuse she suffered at his hands, she could not blame on him so she blamed it on God. She felt forsaken and left to fend for herself; there was no one to save her, no one who cared.
When he had died the love/ hatred she had amassed had been buried in the ground with him, and she was left an empty shell, unable to function without the anger to fuel her. Gathering the strength to come here had taken all her resources. It was finally time to finish it all and to get beyond, one must destroy the previous.
The wood of the old church was brittle and dry and the brush and grasses that surrounded it would only add fire to the flame. One final act, one final match, let the fire burn away all the memories, let the ash fill the emptiness in her soul. It was time for her living to begin.