Ravenna had gotten up that morning not unlike any other Sunday. Always being a very religious Catholic, the norm had been to put on the Sunday’s best and to walk the two blocks between her house to her church to meet her parents in one of the sections. Those norms had also included avoiding eye contact with the folks of the Vareno Evangelical Protestant Church by finding a sudden interest in her plain loafers. She could feel stone cold gazes on her shoulders pressing her as she continued down the street, and she had half the mind to turn around to glare right back. She wouldn’t though, their churches had destroyed the peace too many times in the otherwise quiet town square.
In such a town, it was rare to not have a house, but common to not have a home. Despite being incredibly faith oriented, money was one of the larger drivers. If the economy didn’t run, then the citizens did not live. In Vareno, there was simply no such thing as a nine to five job, it was more often a six to ten job. Family values were at an all time high, and yet, many kids had warmed dinner up in a microwave to eat alone at a chipped wooden coffee table after being excluded from eating on the mahogany dining one. Holidays, were the only times that families were truly together, or so it seemed. Even then, the ringing of phones from angry bosses always interrupted grace before Thanksgiving dinner, just as work needed to be completed before December 26th on a laptop that had never been shut since being bought. Even though such a place was almost noiseless from an outsider’s view, the whispers wafting out of the kitchen from housewives throwing a banquet, the water cooler talk between the two stock managers from Vareno spilling dirt, or even the high school wallflower spreading rumors proves that this town was far from noiseless.
Yes, Vareno was a quiet town, but its people were comparable to ants. Every single one of them never stopped working, and still, they made no sound. The sound a town makes isn’t equitable to major events or work schedules. It only means that in a relatively silent place, there are just more secrets in the town than most, to keep it, well, quiet.
A seemingly harmless man yelled from across the street, “Hey! It’s one of Saint Anthia’s churchgoers!” He then addressed her, “Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to go to an actual church!?”
He, however, was not harmless, no matter how he looked. Everybody knew his name, Hector Tiranno. Despite his small eyes and rounded cheeks with a clumpy perm, he wasn’t known for looking like the human epitome of a teddy bear. He was known as the man that carried a concealed weapon permit. Nobody could know if it had been a fortunate day, for example, maybe Hector wasn’t drunk or hungover enough to make rash decisions, or he had been too “hyped” on whiskey to stuff his .45 Glock somewhere unbeknownst to the public. You never knew if it had been a good day to confront him, and if it was, you wouldn’t have any safety later on when he was on a bad day and looking to blow off steam. For the sake of herself, she continued walking after pausing with his comments. Sometimes, it was just best to ignore it.
The church had been the closest thing to a home that Ravenna, and most of the other members of the St. Anthia Catholic Church, had ever had. Sunday was a day of rest, a day for the bees to stop buzzing, if only from 10:30-12:00, and Ravenna had always basked in it like an old Yellow-Bellied Slider when the Sun was at its highest. She could sit wherever she wanted, as all of the pews were scratched from years of usage. She remembers running up and down the aisle while her parents spoke to the Reverend about various issues. She also remembers her first confession, going into the scary box and fearing the dark. As soon as she was inside, she was afraid of leaving because of the “monsters” that once lurked among her were now waiting for her outside for the meal made up of a little girl in a sequined Hello Kitty shirt. They’d eat every part of her whole. At least that’s what her mom used to say when she got in trouble.
Even if that measly one and a half hour prayer group with her family would never make up for the time lost that week, it was still better than nothing. Being as tranquil as possible was a virtue at the church, and even though she couldn’t talk to her mother and father during the service, sitting next to them was enough. The memories of better times were rebirthed in her head, times of laughter and times when she still believed that her parents would eventually make her their priority again. Of course, in those memories, she had been naive.
In the Vareno Evangelical Protestant Church, the same could be said. The entire town, split between two churches, two branches of the same faith. Yet, despite their similarities, they fight because of the few differences and burn themselves with candles of their own hatred. Soundlessness. That's what filled the town like a heavy fog that was thick enough to kill, but it's deafening cry could only be heard on Sunday mornings. The peacefulness was blinding and making you trust in the floors in front of you. It would not remain that way, not even on Sundays, for the rest of little, tucked away Verano. And that, in the end, will be all that will be heard. Outcries of betrayal, tragedies, and mutinies will be overshadowed by one thing; love.