Eagle

I only went to church as an obligation.

I sat in my stiff white shirt and stroked the black tie Mama insisted I wore, “It’s the Lord’s day, you have to look your best,” she’d said placing the tie on my left shoulder. She’d always found time to wash my clothes, starch them and make sure I was well dressed. At twenty-two, I owed my clean appearance to her.

As the choir sang the Sunday anthem, it kicked in: I’d had a long week. My work-season was at its peak and I had struggled to meet all my deadlines for the week. Just as I dozed to that feeling, I could feel Mama looking at me. So, for her, I struggled to stay awake.

But my eyelids were so heavy; it was a tug of war. I lost and I surrendered sweetly to a warm spiraling snooze determined to hear all that was being said by the preacher.

As I went down into a helix of grey, bouncing up and about the walls of what looked like a brown snail shell filled with mountains and rivers. I was sure I saw an eagle, but did I?

I never ceased to hear the preacher’s voice. As the fall twisted me further down, I could hold on to the preacher’s words still.

“soar…heights…mountains…wisdom…surrender”.

The desperation for safety overtook me as I saw a hand. It reached out to me and made to grab me. I decided to reach out and hold on for dear life and I did.

And…

I woke with a start, hearing the preacher preach with so much fervor. He was sweating and talking rapidly and I heard him say, “Your sons will rise like the soaring eagle and raise your doting pigeon.” Or did I not hear?

“Amen,” Mama chorused with the others, maybe I heard. My mind was quite fuzzy even though I feigned alertness.

As we drove home, Mama, after mentioning my doze, muttered to herself, “eagles and pigeons.” Maybe I did hear some things, right? But in my attempt to tell her I still caught some of what was said, I replied “Well at least I’m not referenced in that prophecy by way of a pigeon metaphor.”

“Yes, darling, you’re the eagle,” Mama always had a good come back, I must agree even though, as I would later know, the preacher was not prophesying or relating a prophecy. But her words always hit home and they did, once more.

As Mama’s words found their way into my thoughts, I turned into our street and sighed. Maybe it was time I turned myself around and saw what was obvious all along: as much as I professed nonchalance to God, He had never resigned from the business of looking out for me and making me soar above all. After all, I was the eagle!

Flash Fiction

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