Opening her eyes, Lavinia lay under her heavy blue feather comforter and looked at the early morning sunlight streaming in her window. She lay there, thinking, and looking at the small clay pots of herbs perched on the narrow windowsill: basil, mint, rosemary, oregano. They brought life to her small room with their delicate, pushy green selves. She loved their texture and their smell; she loved everything about them.
It was Sunday morning, so no work today, but she could hear Jenna showering. Glancing over at her clock, she guessed that she was already getting ready for her church, which started at 9:00. Stretching and rolling to her side, she thought about this.
What kind of twenty-somethings get up at 7:00 on a Sunday morning to go to church? Even more--what kind of twenty-somethings are happy about it? She couldn't figure it out. Every week, Jenna put on a skirt, picked up her Bible, and went to church for three hours. This left the apartment predictably empty every week. In any of her former apartments, Lavinia would've basked in the silence and the solitude. But here, it often seemed, after Jenna left, that her apartment seemed to echo with the emptiness, like going into someones house after they've been on vacation for a week. It was disconcerting. So, Lavinia would pull her bike on to a bus and head down to the beach to ride along the boardwalk and watch the waves. Sometimes she would go to the Getty Museum for the afternoon, sitting for hours at a time by the shallow pool and watching people come and go. By the time she returned in the evening, Jenna would usually be home, and usually with a few friends who, by now, Lavinia was familiar, almost comfortable, with. It was predictable, and she liked it.
She closed her eyes and debated going back to sleep for a little while longer when there was a soft knock at her door. Surprised, she invited Jenna to come in, which she did with a smile. She was wearing a pretty blue flowing skirt and white sweater. Her wet hair hung loosely around her face and she carried her toothbrush.
"What are you doing today?" Jenna asked.
"Uh... I hadn't really..." stumbled Lavinia in reply.
"Great. Come to church with me," Jenna smiled down at her "I'm giving a talk today."
Lavinia's mind seemed to pause in it's confusion--what had she just been asked? Come where? Looking dumbly at Jenna, she finally managed "I have nothing to wear. I don't even own a skirt." Disappointment clouded her roommate's face, but then she brightened, "Yes, you do! That pretty black skirt you got for work a few weeks ago." Rats. "Oh. Uh. Okay. Yeah. Sure." Lavinia stumbled. Jenna grinned at her and retreated quickly from the room, in case Lavinia changed her mind.
Still confused, Lavinia threw off her covers and rubbed her eyes. She showered quickly, then found the black skirt at the back of her closet and pulled it on with a simple button-up shirt. She kept wondering how she'd gotten into this position, but found that she didn't mind. She would already know some of the people there. She was interested to see what Jenna was "giving a talk" about.
She walked out to the front room and found Jenna standing by the door with her Bible, a magazine, and a notebook under her arm.
"Ready?" she asked.