Tonight at church Fr. Justin asked me to help carry the... something, I forgot what he called it... during the procession around the church. It's the cloth that the icon and Gospels are placed on inside the Tomb. I was one of four people, and we each held a corner. While we walked around the church, we all held it over Fr. Justin's head. When we went back into the church, we held it up before the doors that lead into the sanctuary and everybody walked underneath it. Rick said to me, "You gotta hold it higher! You have to actually hold it UP, for it to be UP. Use two hands!" He didn't think I was holding it high enough for people to walk under it safely. I didn't see a problem with it, however. Nobody else was using two hands, and people were moving along just fine. Nobody collided with it, and all four corners exhibited the same quality of height and head clearance, I thought. I'll admit that it had irked me a little, the way Rick had talked to me, as if I were mentally deficient and required explicit instructions as to the meaning of 'up' and how that applied to the art of fabric support, but I prayed for forgiveness and soothed and petted the irk until it was nice and comfy.
After the service I signed up for grave watch. I took the 3:00 am slot, right after Chris Jones. It's gonna be a long night for me, but I'm looking forward to it. Grave watch has become one of my favorite things about Pascha. I called Leah to see if she wanted me to sign her up, but I guess she wasn't interested because she didn't call back or message me to let me know anything. She doesn't pay much attention to me anymore, and I can't say that I blame her. I never really understood her, and I've always been befuddled when it came to communicating with her. She's an enigma to me... I still hope that we can be friends though. We have the rest of our lives to work on it, I guess.
Anywho. I'll always remember my first grave watch... Leah and I shared a time slot for 2:00 am. I was supposed to meet her at her apartment, and then we were supposed to walk to the church together. I had taken a nap beforehand, and my alarm didn't go off as planned and I woke up 20 minutes late. Man, I've never woken up, jumped out of bed and gotten dressed as fast as I did that night. I imagined Leah walking down to the church alone and by herself at 2:00 am and I felt absolutely terrible. I was out the door at 2:25 and at the church before 2:30. When I got there, she was sitting there in the church, reading by candlelight. I walked in quietly and mouthed "I'm sorry!" to her, and everything was ok after that.
Tomorrow night and leading on into the small hours of Sunday morning is the Pascha service. It will be my 3rd Pascha, and my first as an Orthodox Christian. Unfortunately, I have to work Sunday so I won't be able to enjoy much of the picnic, but I did ask Chiy if I could come in at 4:00 instead of 2:00. Last year on the day of the Pascha picnic, Leah, Debra, Mike, Lauren, Nick, Ben, and myself all sat in the back yard for most of the day, near the spit where the lamb was roasted. Nick and Mike had the alcohol, and we all laughed, drank, ate, and smoked cigarettes. At one point, Leah's ex boyfriend, Adam, showed up. I was fairly alarmed by this, as I didn't want him upsetting Leah. He didn't stick around for very long though, and we all managed to enjoy ourselves.
We all went to Nicks afterward and drank, played music, talked, and had a good time. On that particular day, I felt like I was finally making friends. It seemed to me that things were really going forward in my life; that I was on the verge of being happy. Leah and I were still together then, and that day marks the last time we had a good time with each other as a couple. We broke up a few days after that. It was a great day, and I'm glad things ended with such a positive memory to commemorate our last few days together.