Hymn Books

by Catherine Sabourin

The first time I whispered
With a boy, I was thirteen
Dressed in the most
Uncomfortable clothes.
A white blouse
Hair pulled back
With a hymn book
Resting on my pleated skirt
July. Flowery breeze
Tickling my face, dancing
With my hair, then gone
Once the chapel doors were shut.
My family trickled into the pew
Four rows from the altar
His pew, with the kneeler that creaks.
I sat beside him
He smiled at me, I smiled back.
Then the organ started up
He leaned over,
Brushed my hair away
With soft fingertips
That was when
He began to speak
Sweet words for only me to hear.
The priest began to recite
The boy kept weaving his spell
But the spell broke with a turn of my Mother’s head.
The boy retreated to safety, away from her glare.
My cheeks flushed rouge
As I thumbed my hymn book open
Searching for the “right” page.
For awhile I settled into the rhythm of the mass
Singing every song,
Prepared for every prayer.
That changed
When the boy leaned over
Once more.
The whispers were quicker this time
Feverish and sweeter.
A woman in her Sunday best
A row ahead of us had
Kind eyes that met mine
Holding them for a moment
Knowing very well
What it was all

Amongst the after mass chatter
I stood, clutching my hymn book to my chest.
My boy caught my eye
Then came near.
He too held his hymn book
Fingering its pages
He looked down at his feet,
I took a breath
Brushed the hair from his ear.
Then I spoke,
This time my words
Were the sweet ones
For only him to hear.
Just two kids
In a church parking lot
Holding hymn books.

Catherine Sabourin

Catherine Sabourin's picture

My name is Catherine Sabourin. I am seventeen years old and a student at Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Newmarket Ontario, which is where I have lived my whole life. I’ve read almost every Stephen King novel and enjoy a good horror film, but my favourite movie is Titanic. I have arachnophobia. I consider my acute hearing skills (some would call it eavesdropping) to be an art form. Sarcasm and irony excite me. I intend on pursuing a career in media or communications.

Last updated January 24, 2012