The smell of warm concrete signalled the arrival of a storm, turning its great heaving shoulders to the sky, casting a shadow over Sophie who had left the cover of a record store minutes before. Her father had just died, and the great loneliness of the eldest child had begun quickly and obsessively, and she had found herself organising her life around the ritual of death. She didn’t like to think about the coffin, or the flowers, but had spent hours on the order and frequency of the music. At first she didn’t want any at all, she didn’t want to be caught in a shopping centre, or a pub, with the stale breath of a memory lurking above her, pulled from the speakers like cobwebs. She had almost decided upon a few, and felt the temporary grief of this temporary closure, a rehearsal for the real thing.
Sophie took shelter underneath the stone arches of a church, pulling her belongings closer to her, forming a cocoon that was weak and penetrable, and soon her feet were wet. She noticed the irony in her surroundings, stubbing her toe on the ivory step as she edged toward further sanctuary. Sophie had stopped going to church when she was 17. It wasn’t that it didn’t suit her; in fact she would secretly yearn for the comfort of a congregation, or the silence of a high ceiling. It was more that she had noticed her part in a modernity that didn’t ask for confirmation. That didn’t ask if you were doing it right, for the right reason. For the right person, rather than an endless string of wrong persons that you could touch, and fuck, and know the reality of. When she had ended her last relationship, Sophie felt all of that immeasurable feeling sitting in the bottom of her stomach as if it were a place where emotions are felt, like the heart is always claimed to be. The grief that had bred from the death of her father had chewed its way into her lungs, a dull ache that throbbed along with her irregular heartbeat. Her body had become a system of objects that begged to be recognised as emotions, like a Valentines card, or sympathy note, and her denial was deliberate. She had become a slave to the feeling of grief, and how she was supposed to feel under the weight of a dead body.
Sophie felt ashamed that she still sought the comfort of religion and the comfort of her father, because both had become invisible. However, what was real was unimaginable to her, and her obsessions into the logistics of ritual had become vital to the resurrection of these myths. Sophie entered the church in the midst of a storm.