When I believed in Pentecost, I always upheld the standards of the church: uncut, untrimmed hair, long, modest skirt, shirt with a high neckline. It wasn’t until I started slipping out that I became lax with it all. It didn’t seem to matter to me anymore. I no longer saw my outward appearance as a sign of God’s holiness. I finally began to claim my body as my own.
Even so, I didn’t want attention for this. One night, I wore a skirt that was long enough to cover my knees, but it had a long slit of about three inches in the back. The skirt was a bit too big on me and sagged a little. It was my comfortable skirt and I had thrown it on not thinking that it was Wednesday night.
I was standing in the aisle during altar call, the part of the service where people came forward to repent and pray. I felt a pull on my shoulder. I turned to see the pastor’s wife reaching up to talk to me.
“Your skirt has a big slit. You should pin it so nobody can see your legs.” She spat, a mixture of judgment and disgust apparent on her frowning face. Without waiting for a response, she returned to her perch on the front pew.
I felt everyone’s eyes on me. My face flushed with heat, my stomach lurched within me. There was nothing I could do about the slit. I didn’t have safety pins on me.
I looked around at all of the people worshiping and praying. I wondered how out of all of these people, she saw my little slit and needed to reprimand me.
From then on, I was more careful with what I wore to church and rebelled even more in private.
Need more good fiction reads? Check out these pieces from the MockingOwls.
Ammanda Selethia Moore
Ammanda Selethia Moore (they/elle) is a non-binary poet and writer who also teaches English at Norco College. Their poetry has been published in Synchronized Chaos, Literary Yard, and The Journal of Radical Wonder. They live with their partner in sunny southern California.