Marian wasn’t able to wake Kel the next morning for church, try though she did. He stuck to the sheets like something melted there in the dim light, under the gentle breeze of the ceiling fan. He was sick with some tiredness beyond a hangover, some strange torpor, and in fact hadn’t returned to bed until early that morning. Marian felt uneasy too, as though the day were something she would be remembering, and her thoughts and movements were laden with some public aspect. Despite this, fully clothed and Christian she curled up beside him, slotting herself in like a puzzle piece, pressing a warm cheek against the cool, damp skin of his back. Deep, slow, breathing. Kel was sick; sick and far, far away.
The children brushed, combed and decent in the entryway Marian quietly pulled the head from the family piggy bank, actually an old owl and took a small handful of cash. She took the camera, studying it for a while before carefully loading a roll of film and putting it in her purse.
Church that morning had a better-than-usual turn out, even for the nine o’clock service—Marian sat quietly in her usual pew avoiding the temptation to jump into the gossip, which lately had been about the new deacon—who he was, how he looked, what his family was like. There was an ongoing competition to be close to the reverend and his family that made Marian cringe. Here he turned from the microphone and coughed, and blew his nose on a crumpled tissue that he put back in his pocket. They all sung “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” from the book. Marian meditated on that—being absent in space and yet present and active in some other capacity, somehow. Existing subliminally.