This diary entry is part 19 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 31 - January 2024

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

Well, I guess it was a Sunday.

So this morning, Anathema wanted to go to church.  I was very, very surprised.  I think anyone who know Anathema – back when she was more cat-girl than Anathema, would have thought if she walked into a church that the place would go up in flames and a pit into hell would open up right in front of the crucifix, and a bunch of dancing demon-girls would come out of there and start seducing everything that moved.  But…  I guess surprises are going to keep happening.  Sabby and I asked her why, first.  She just said “It…  doesn’t seem like it’ll hurt, does it?”

I guess I can’t argue with that logic, really.

So she went to church.  But, she wanted me to go with her.  I don’t know why, something about being with a “walking shrine” making her feel safe.  Dangit!!!  What the heck?  And Joe, well… he wanted to come along, too.  I guess there are a lot of Christians in the military.  A few less now before, to hear him talk about it.

So…  dang it all, we all went.

I honestly didn’t want to go, but I felt obligated.  I mean, after all, I’m the reason (by proxy, but still) that she’s having all these upheavals right now.

And, well…  I’m kinda glad I went, and I’m kinda not, because it was hilarious.  Well… right up until it wasn’t.

No, she wasn’t hilarious.  Said pit to hell didn’t open.  We all walked in and it was actually pretty uneventful.  The old ladies welcomed me back and, I’ll admit, I was a bit standoffish.  I’m not going to be a “walking shrine for hire” or even an “ark for hire”.  I just want to be Lily.

Until she got recognized.

Some guy walked up to her and started yelling and screaming that someone like her shouldn’t be attending his church, and don’t we know what she did, and how dare she?

She just sat there, while he, in front of his wife and kids, berated her.  She was very calm, and I didn’t understand how.  Both Joe and I wanted to pick that guy up and carry him out, but she called us off.  “I can deal with this,” she said, softly.

Finally, after he wore himself out and the pastor was coming up to deal with it, she just said seven words.

“How do you know what I did?”

He turned red.  His wife looked at her calculatedly.  “What did you do?”

“Up until a few days ago, I was an adult model.  Your husband here,” and she looked pointedly at him, “was probably one of my fans.  Hmm.  What was your nick anyway?”  And she recited a pretty dirty nickname, which he immediately responded to.  He turned even redder, because, apparently, she knew her fans, and remembered his nick.  Though, she did tell me later it was just an educated guess.  Good guess!

“Yeah, you paid for quite a few, umm…  things,” she said, softly, with emphasis.  “Does your wife know how much money you gave me that should have gone to them?”  And she looked at the kids, who didn’t seem to know what was going on, and thankfully.

“Anyway,” she said, “I gave it up.  I deleted the whole thing a few days ago.  I’m, umm… turning over a new leaf, I guess?  God, or at least I think it was God, gave me a second chance.  Maybe your wife will give you one too.”  She shrugged.  “I wouldn’t.”

His wife looked at her with loathing, but looked at him with a fiery loathing that caused parts of him to shrink you couldn’t even see, grabbed him by the ear, and dragged him out of the church, the kids following along confusedly.

‘Bye!,” she waved, cheerfully.  “Thanks for all the support!”

And then, after they all left, she sat down and burst into tears.

The pastor looked at me, then her.  “I hate to ask,” he said.  “Will you give a testimony?”

And that’s when I lost it.  I told the pastor that he could have at least waited for her to stop crying, and that’s why I stopped going in the first place, and while he’s a nice person and has always treated us pretty well, his one huge flaw is that he doesn’t care about individual people nearly as much as he cares about his church as a whole, and…  I was ramping up to go Claire Huxtable on him, Sabby-style.

And she stopped me with a hand on my arm.

“Yes, I will,” she said, sniffling.

I just crossed my arms.  “Fine,” I said.  “If you want.  But,” and I looked at the pastor, “I’ll never come back again.  Not while you do stuff like this.  It’s just like what you did to me, but at least you asked her,” I said bitterly.

So the services started.  Sabby was kind of giving me the stink eye, but I didn’t care.  You know how everyone stands up and sings and sits 22down and stuff?  I just sat there.  I didn’t move, I didn’t talk, I didn’t speak.  She did stand up, and she did give her testimony.  And…  she just had to bring me up.

I mean… I guess, how could she not?  I’m an integral part of the story.

I’m not mad at her.  She was truthful.  She didn’t lie, she didn’t prevaricate, she didn’t pull punches, and she didn’t exaggerate either.  I am what I am and I did what I did..  And I still think it was entirely inappropriate, far too soon, and the pastor was, well, I’m done with him now.

He’s done a lot for me – for us.  I probably wouldn’t have found my family without him, Crystal wouldn’t be where she is without him, and I’m grateful for that…  but…  that was out of line.  Very, very, very out of line.

As she turns out, though… she thinks Jesus was talking to her, through me.  Eh?  Dang, I wish she hadn’t said that.  Now it’ll even be worse.

After services, I just walked out of the narthex, right out to the parking lot, went right to the car, and waited for everyone else.

Sabby was pretty upset at me.  I don’t care.  I’m right.  Dave actually more took my side, which was lucky for me, because they spent most of their time arguing with each other than scolding me.  She got a few licks in on me too but I didn’t care.  I’m right.

Anathema will probably go back.  That’s fine.  I won’t hold it against her.  But I won’t.  Never again.  Even if the pastor apologizes, gets on his knees, and begs.. I don’t think I’d go back.

The girls came over this afternoon and we practiced.  It didn’t feel right.  But we did it anyway.  Sometimes you just gotta bust through and do it.  Right?  Crystal really is improving.  I’m actually kind of amazed.

I don’t like being an ark.  A walking shrine.  A prophetess.  Whatever the heck I am, I hate it.  I don’t want to be it anymore.

Anyway, Jack and I went out, tonight.  I wasn’t very good company.  He was just glad to be spending time with me.  I don’t deserve that boy…  that man.  Maybe…  maybe there are lot of things I don’t deserve.

Anathema and I are still talking.  she’s not mad at me and I’m not mad at her.  But…  I’m not going to support her in that way ever again.  She doesn’t understand.  But I’ll only tell her if she asks.

Love you all!!! ❤️

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