At the mention of her name over the pulpit, Lavinia turned a vibrant shade of red. She felt uncomfortably like 100 pairs of eyes were boring into the back of her head, and she wished she could sink into her shoes and disappear. Instead, she slouched just a little bit and kept her gaze on her bare knee caps. She realized that she needed to be more diligent in shaving them.
In her flustered embarrassment at being mentioned, she had missed the first several minutes of Jenna's talk, and felt a vague satisfaction at that. If Jenna was going to call her out in front of everyone, then it served her right to have her words have the opposite effect on her intended listener.
As her mind came back to focus, however, she listened somewhat absentmindedly to what Jenna was saying. It was obvious that she really, truly believed every word that she had prepared. It was also obvious that it wasn't easy for her to share some of the things she was sharing, which surprised her roommate. It had not occurred to her that Jenna might be just as hesitant about the sharing of her faith as Lavinia was about learning about it. She decided she would at least forgive Jenna for trapping her.
The talk was only about 10 minutes long, and then Jenna sat down and someone else got up to speak. Lavinia didn't look at Jenna for several minutes, but instead thought wistfully of her Grandma Jane. She had always wished that she'd had a chance to know her better--to understand what she believed, and what she loved. She had always thought it was too late, to understand that part of her family and her past. It was that thought that made her raise her eyes and meet Jenna's gaze. Doing so she found herself returning her roommate's warm smile.
On the drive home, a full three hours later, Lavinia didn't say much. Jenna kept a companionable silence, while the tinny speakers forced out some classical radio from a local station.
"My grandmother was a Mormon, you know." Lavinia blurted out suddenly. She needed to get it said. Jenna raised her eyebrows slightly, but replied with a simple "Oh?"
"I never really knew her. We never lived close, and she died when I was barely a teenager. But I know she was Mormon."
"But, your family--aren't?" Jenna asked, sounding slightly confused.
"Maybe my dad was christened a Mormon. I don't know. He joined the Air Force, and met my mom. She's Catholic. A good Catholic." Lavinia emphasized.
With a sideways glance, "But I've never seen you go to mass. Are you Catholic?"
Somehow, this question caught Lavinia off guard. She wasn't ready to talk about her own faith, or lack of it. She wanted to talk about her grandma. She wanted to know what her grandma had believed, so she could file it away as part of her genetic makeup--what made her, her. And so she stumbled over the question of what religion she was.
The pause was lengthy enough that Jenna politely moved on, saying lightly "It was really nice of you to come with me to church today. You are such a good sport." Lavinia only laughed shortly and replied "Well. Going to church once a year won't kill a person, I guess."
She hoped she'd gotten the message across--she'd gone once, to be nice, but she had no intention of going back again.