Push me once, I forget. Push me twice, I forgive. Push me thrice, I forsake.
— Elsamit saying
Photo credit: Angela Llop
Mavita shuffles past the Sambaran church, the sun shining on its welcoming door. She remembers when she could go in that door. Before they decided women cannot profane the main chapel.
They can enter the free school, of course, and the charity kitchen. To do their duty there, while the men discuss important matters.
Services are starting. Mavita hobbles faster. Behind the church, women mill about, whispering, anxious.
The door is locked.
They wait. Surely someone inside will notice.
Mavita tries to sit. A young woman holds her elbow, helps her.
Someone knocks, gently.
Someone goes around front, but nobody is outside to ask.
Mavita hums softly, an old hymn. She wonders why they don’t sing that one anymore. Then she remembers. It mentions Elsanami, Sambar’s wife.
Mavita clears her throat. The others turn to her, respectful. She suggests they hold the service themselves, here in the alley.
Several women gasp. Women are not allowed to lead prayer.
No longer allowed, Mavita corrects them. They once did. Not so long ago.
But what would their husbands say? Their fathers? Their sons?
So Mavita suggests they do something even more dangerous.
For any of you trying to keep track of Eneana’s religions, the Elsamit are a sect that broke away from the common Sambaran church, arguing that Sambar’s wife Elsanami should be worshiped alongside her husband, as they claim she once was.
I’ve been taking a break from flash fiction challenges a bit this week, focusing on work and on my novel — but I missed everyone too much to stay away too long. This one’s submitted for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction writing challenge. Thanks as always to Al Forbes for hosting, and for providing the original photo prompt, below! To see the other stories or to submit your own, click here.
Photo credit: Al Forbes, A Mixed Bag