Hot Tin Roof: The Pavement Between my Home and the Church

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By William Blair

The apartment I just moved into is yellow. My space is full of free things that open people have given me. I close the blinds. I can hear cars from the street. The shadows of people pass by my window and show under my curtains.

When I wake up in the morning and walk outside I can see the church where my father, Joe, sings. I get a call from my dad. He asks me to come to church.

“I’m dirty,” I say.

“Come anyways.” He says it like he’s dirty too.

“Ok, I’m gonna shower first,” I say. He hangs up. I knew that he was going to call and I knew that I was going to go.

I take a shower and get ready. I don’t dress warm. I walk across the street into the church. I stay in the doorway and I listen. Pastor Dial starts with a story and a slow laugh. He says, “And now it’s time to greet one another.” The congregation walks in and out of each other in a mass. I can see Joe in the middle. He looks good like he’s totally at home. The community knows me. I walk through people saying hello until I’m behind Joe. Joe sees me, and we hug.

Pastor Dial says I’m taller than Joe now and so does everyone else. I smile and Joe laughs. I sit down first. Then so does the crowd. I listen to the choir and it’s the same as I remember. Joe looks young when he sings and I want to be next to him. The singing ends, and Joe sits next to me. He stinks like he said. We skip out early and fall into the hard seats of Joe’s work van.

I don’t remember what the sermon was about, and neither does he.

We pull up to The Pit, and get the same food my family always got. “I think the sandwiches are bigger,” Joe says.

“But the fries are smaller,” I say.

Coffee, bagel, Little Village.

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We both look at each other. Joe is like a little pillar in the church. I think it’s funny that we left early. Joe drives me back to the street in between my apartment and the church. The car is parked, and I say “My fridge sucks. Can you come in and look at it?”

“Sure,” Joe says.

We both walk away from the church to my Apartment. I walk Joe in and I tell him the place is yellow, that the door is broken too. He thinks it’s ok. He looks at the fridge and its fine. Joe is in the doorway and he doesn’t stay long. We both say goodbye.

It’s the middle of the day and everything is sitting still. The sun melts the snow like it does every year. I want it to get cold again one last time. It’s later now and that might not happen..

Joe told me I should come to church more, and I told him I felt like the church got bigger as I got older.

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