Jack Young is a freshman at SCAD Atlanta pursuing a B.F.A. in Writing. His favorite authors include Jane Austen, Patti Smith, and Rainer Maria Rilke. In addition to writing, Jack is a musician and has released music with independent record labels in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He spends his free time drinking copious amounts of coffee and impatiently waiting for Lady Gaga and Beyoncé to release the sequel to their song, “Telephone.”
How to Be a Modern Mary Magdalene
Sleep with all the men in your city. Keep the shine of your leather thigh-high boots brighter than the fake diamond you wear on your right index finger. Answer your mother’s phone call and tell her your first semester of college is going great and that you have straight As, even though you stopped showing up for class after one week. Cry silently into the telephone as you hang up to text your boyfriend that you love him.
Walk to the nearest coffee shop to order an espresso, then run in Victoria’s Secret to find a black lace thong to wear tonight for the man you’re charging thirty extra dollars more for your services than your other clients, since you’re low on money for weed. Sleep with the man for one night. Forget his name and countenance after a week, since all your customers are the same – aggressive, dirty, lonely, and lost. Think about how you share those same characteristics.
Lose track of time until you pass a cathedral, which is across the street on your right. Realize that it’s Christmas Eve once you listen closely enough to hear a choir singing “O Holy Night.” Remember how you sang in the church choir as a child with your older sister who died last year because of breast cancer. Cuss at the driver that almost runs you over as you cross the street to the church.
Enter the church with the intention of getting warm. Sit in a pew at the back of the sanctuary and lose yourself in the glorious voices filling the building like invisible smoke. Choke on tears you’ve held in all day, so as not to be reminded of how sad you feel. Contemplate your entire existence. Trace the veins of your past with a flashlight in your mind. Try to recall the last time you were happy. Let the tears fall as you can’t remember the last time you felt incandescent happiness.
Look up to see a young man in his early thirties make his way down the aisle towards you. Smile and thank him after he hands you a handkerchief to wipe your tears. Notice the fresh wounds in both of his hands and the thorns stuck in his long hair. Hand him back his handkerchief and thank him one more time before watching him leave through the church doors. Wait for him to disappear, then run after him as you want to know his name. Look out into the night and find him nowhere to be seen.
Retreat back into the church to the pew where you just sat. Stay still. Stay silent. Fall on your knees to pray for the first time in five years. Pray to your sister. Pray for your family. Pray for your boyfriend. Pray for yourself.