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The Bride of Jesus – Michele Markarian

Nov 12, 2021 | Non Fiction | 0 comments

2nd Place, The Antonym Creative Non-Fiction Contest ( Subject – Belonging), Octover 2021

Tina Bentley swirled around me, menacingly. “I’m going to be the bride of Jesus.”
Patty Kelliher echoed her, “I’m going to be the bride of Jesus, too.”
The bride of Jesus! Jesus was one thing, but “bride” was heady stuff, coming from seven-year-olds. “I can be the bride of Jesus, too,” I offered, thinking about how princess-like the outfit would be.
“No, you can’t,” said Tina, a look of smug satisfaction on her face. In our neighborhood pecking order, my family was just above Tina’s for being scorned. This was a huge opportunity for Tina to turn things around, to not be on the bottom rung.
“No, you can’t,” said Patty.
“You’re not Caaaa-tha-lic,” crowed Tina.
“Yeah,” jeered Patty. “We’re gonna make our First Com-meeeeeew-nion and be the bride of Jesus.”
“You have to be Caaaa-tha-lic and make a First Com-meeeeeew-nion to be the bride of Jesus,” announced Tina.
“I’m Catholic,” I lied. Anyway, why couldn’t I be? It was just a word.
“My mother says you’re not. And that you’re going to hell.” Tina looked more satisfied than I’d ever seen her. Patty nodded assent.
I left without saying goodbye and trudged into my kitchen, where my mother was baking something she didn’t care about. Cooking was not her passion, yet she seemed to do it a lot.
“Mom, can I be the bride of Jesus?” I asked.
“What?” My mother looked annoyed.
“Tina says that she and Patty are gonna be the brides of Jesus and I can’t.” I was distressed, admittedly over the outfit, as what seven-year-old wouldn’t want to dress up as a bride?
“You can’t be the bride of Jesus,” said my mother. “We don’t believe in that.”
“Is that why I’m going to hell?”
“No!” my mother was full-fledged annoyed now. Living in this neighborhood full of working-class Irish and Italian families was not her idea.
“Because Tina said…”
“We don’t believe in hell,” said my mother firmly.
“Why?”
“We just don’t, that’s why.”
“Can’t we be Catholic?”
“No!”
“Why?”
“Because! We are Armenian Orthodox! We don’t believe in all of that.”
“Why can’t we switch?” I didn’t understand my mother. She was a personality who didn’t make waves, tried to fit in, even though our family was like a pair of stilettos in a closet full of sneakers. We were dark, exotic, not Catholic. We spoke another language. We dressed up, reserved Sundays for family, drove fancy cars that my dad thought would give him status in the white-collar world. We ate weird food with funny names. Nobody knew where Armenia was, and Jesus was not looking for brides there.
“Can’t we be Catholic? Please?” I asked one more time.
“No,” she said, and I saw her dig in with the set of her mouth, my normally passive mother. Whatever this was, this non-Catholic thing, it was us, and while my mother aimed to please, she wasn’t going to submit to peer pressure, even if the peers were mine. This Armenian thing was something we could never be rid of. It must be very important, the way my mother held on.

Michele Markarian is a short fiction writer and playwright. Her work has appeared in Bridge Eight, Bright Flash Literary Review, The Furious Gazelle, Coffin Bell, Daily Science Fiction, The Journal of Micro literature, Moida Magazine, and in five anthologies by Wising Up Press. A collection of her plays, “The Unborn Children of America and Other Family Procedures” is available on Amazon.

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  1. October Creative Non Fiction Contest - Final Announcement - The Antonym | Bridge To Global Literature page - […] his entry titled  Did You Know?We are publishing two more entries that stood out for our judges.The Bride of…

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