Peeling away

I came across a lonely billboard with its top layer half peeled off. It read, Jesus Christ, pure indulgence. I went in search of its meaning.

Traditional churches turned me away. The religious fringes beckoned. The image of the deity in sacred robes and black stockings drove me on. Drawn at last to the town of Parchment. I came to the Church of the Angel of Redemption.

You were coming down as I was going up. Those legs, those stockings, the feline grace as you took the steps, half sideways in your heels. You were the one. Pure indulgence I repeated. I turned.

When I caught up to you, in the afternoon sunshine, on the stubbly main road of Parchment, you told me I’d been right to follow. ‘He works in mysterious ways,’ you said. We went away together. For three years we built our life around your strangeness. But this morning you were gone.

Suddenly adrift, I caught a bus back to the place where I’d read the message that had guided me to you. But all that remained, beside the highway, were the last shredded pieces of something too faded to mean anything at all.