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St. Abernathy

Overcast grey in the late autumn fade sits the church of St. Abernathy. A weathered old man walks the cracked city sidewalk that leads up to the empty church. Looking up his heart stands heavy and a spry whisper of a fall breeze breaches his ear.

How could he not help but notice its sublime grace, the well manicured dark green grass and coffee black soil giving rise to stout shade trees with equally rich leaves. The emerald and ruby stained glass, the smooth marbled cobblestone path with its bluish hue branching out to the high arched entranceway and nearby rectory. It has a very Old World feel about it and is definitely out of character in the working class neighborhood of Oakland and Washington streets.

And although abandoned for many years it is of little consequence as the Church is not without care. True the old Church, rectory and adjacent undersized school were left for empty. But the doors and windows were fully intact and always firmly secure, the rooms not having been entered since the last parishioner left all that time ago. The uniformly green lawn was never parched but moist to the touch with tiny layers of dew it seemed on every blade of grass, it was that level of detail that most impressed the old man. It was that level of detail that even today after many decades of personal disregard lures him forward.

A knobbed wooden cane leverages the old man’s weight and he shuffles daintily ahead. His gait is awkward, his pace is slow, but his steps are deliberate. On spindly legs each foot moves forward, it is a challenge but he finally comes to the first of twelve steps that will lead him to the arched entranceway of the church. He pauses then looks around, over his shoulder looking for the caretaker. The dark reclusive man whose name escapes him now, in fact he can never recall ever knowing his name. With a tick of his head the old man concludes that the caretaker must be out doing some errand intimately related to the church.

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