I am a boy, eagerly sitting in CCD, prior to the settling in of my Irish Guilt, sharing a classroom with an elderly priest and a strange girl.
She is always wearing a purple, oversized jacket on top of a white sweater. Her hair is always nestled into a clumbsy ponytail. Her frames are out of style by at least twenty years. She is very far from being even decently attractive.
And she always is paying attention. Vividly, she sits in her chair, aside from her desk, with her elbow resting heavily on her knee. It is her hand I am focusing on - she has it turned backwards. Her chin is resting in the heel of her hand, in that groove between the end of the palm and the thumb bulge. Everyone's been in this position before, at some point. The whole thing looks awkward and uncomfortable.
I try it out. It's not as bad as I thought, the weight of your head is off your shoulders for a bit, not bad. Five minutes pass. My elbow starts to dig into my knee. I sneak another look at her.
She's still sitting like that only now she has her fingers dancing across her lip, now tapping her nails against her teeth. I am getting grossed out. I know my hands are dirty but hers? She looks like she doesn't even shower or use deodorant. No one is sitting near her. Her dancing fingers remind me of a bunch of spiders running across her face. This makes me smile a little and sort of chuckle. She looks over and sees me smirking. She smiles back, still having spiders dancing on her face. I look at the board real quick. The priest has some stupid picture of a rainbow and a pit and some fire and some other bullshit he probably considers "high art" up there.
He turns and tells a joke, one person giggles.
And that was the way class would go for an hour: he would say pathetic jokes, we would try not to fall asleep, and she smiles. And she giggles. And she sort of glows. And she has her arm twisted around the whole time.
I fucking hate her.
Every single time I am sitting like she would sit, my head in my palm, fingers over my mouth, I think of spiders. I think of CCD. I think of old glasses. I think of rainbows and a wooden crucifix and fire and smiles. And I think of Bibles and pits and off-white teeth and blue walls and the "Our Father" and Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. But most of all I think of spiders.
And I change my posture.