Directions, by Gabriel Orgrease

The country church was an old-style timber box with tall walls of logs cut square and notched on the corners. It had stood for three-hundred years nearby to the Polish village in Podlaskie. Our tour bus had arrived when we poured out of it at the edge of the warm nightfall. We had no maps and no accurate clue as to a name of this place. It was a short wander, a stop in the village store for bottled beer before we made our way to the church. Without direction we all walked in separate routes toward the church as darkness approached. Some went to visit and pet goats, some went to look at carved eaves, and some went to look at old rocks half buried in the loam. Johnson from Kent had found the organ loft. As we walked in he played Let It Be.

We did not know that our host Tomasz had organized a traditional quartet from Warsaw. With the priest it was a warm reception with linger of beeswax candles and the scent of frankincense. Like sheep we had spread to sit through the wooden pews within the soft interior light. The music was music; it filled the wooden box quite adequately.

Some sensed a need to record the event. It may have come from on high, or it may simply have been a plan of the priest who then called out the sexton. There showed a disposable cardboard box camera. Much noise was made in voices few of us understood, though it was clear enough the movement of arms and the priest’s click-click motions of finger. We gathered around the altar as the sexton walked away down the aisle. Closer we got to each other. He turned, held the camera up to his face, box to eye, lens to lens, and took his own picture. So close it would identify the backside of his retina… if it had been in focus.

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At the Borders book store in Patchogue I looked for nothing in particular.  Hungry for a book to read I had chosen several then sought out a seat, a black seat within an alcove of shelves, a seat of seats. And there were two young girls. One was a red head, sweet, petite, the other half as tall and younger still, Asian with long black hair. They kept jumping up and running to the children’s book section. Where they came back, sat and opened pop-ups. It was at the emerald castle with many paper spires that the older girl put on the emerald paper shades. It was then that the cell phone came out.

They wanted to capture their game while next to them I read of the economy of animal spirits. The younger photographed the elder who posed petite and sweet she smiled, the green print of the false glasses framed by the red of her hair.

I asked if they would like one of them together with the emerald castle, an unlikely pair of cousins with a backdrop of books. Yes.

I asked which button did the trick, the large and shiny one, of course. I held the phone up to my face. They giggled as they beheld my unfocused eye large and magnified on the small screen. “The other way around,” they said.

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