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WAITING — a fiction
The dark is illuminated by the promises of the past. They stretch out between the stones, adding to the strength of the structure, bracing it against failure.
They have waited so long inside. The dust has gathered, unified, blanketed, loving, caressing in still motion. So many hopes against the future, enveloped, sealed and filed away in the strongbox.
It was installed at a time when it was usual to trust the church more than the safety deposit boxes at the local branch. Now we see the financial guarantee of loss of reputation should anything go missing from the locked rooms beneath the bank — such a thing could end the business overnight. But there was a time when the guarantee of eternal life outbid the desire for financial security. The security of heaven was what she trusted.
And so she placed them here, locked behind a bible reference in a Victor Lock Company floor safe among the basement tombs and memorials of St Philip’s and All Saints.
They were placed here while there was still hope of a future more like our own — before the bombs and horrors imposed doubt upon the parishioners. You can see it written between the lines — something about the scrawl tells of an expectation that the benefactors would still be around once she had made her own way to Heaven. Nobody ever expects the young to die before them.
But war has a funny way of playing with our expectations. Righteous causes turn into generational grudges; victories into revelations of hitherto untold horrors.
But these letters are before disillusionment. They contain the conviction of the early days — a certainty that all shall be well, that all it takes is one person to stand against a nation. Not hope for the self — such honour does not concern itself with self-survival — but hope for the others, those who remain, those who will continue. They lie in the knowledge that one day there will be someone to open the tomb, unlock the safe and find the future waiting, written in will and testament, there among the old bones and brickwork.
Originally published on Tumblr
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