Okay, so I'm writing a little background story for a character I'm developing. Whether or not I'll use this in the story, I'm not sure.
A Chain of Cross. That was Marilyn's sixth birthday present. It wasn't the new Barbie doll she'd been hoping for, but she didn't complain at all. She never dared to; not even to her loving parents. Even at that age, she knew that praying was important.
Her great-grandmother, who Marilyn was named after, had taken the delicate gold chain into her gentle, wrinkled hands when Marilyn excitedly showed it to her; Nana Marilyn told her all about her first Chain of Cross. She told her it was a present from her parents when she'd made her First Holy Communion.
Marilyn didn't know exactly what Holy Communion meant, other than it left Marilyn with Mr. Dillon - the old man who lived next door, whom Marilyn's parents drove to Mass every week - her parents disappeared to another end of the church for several minutes. Mr. Dillon was barely able to walk down his driveway, let alone take the long stroll for Communion. Marilyn longed to accompany her parents; partly out of pure curiosity, and to avoid those awkward sittings with Mr. Dillon.
Marilyn wore her Chain of Cross to school with pride; it was encrusted with a single glistening diamond, which she thought made her school uniform look fantastic. She remembered Nana Marilyn telling her that wearing her Chain of Cross meant that she was closer to God. This comforted and delighted little Marilyn; how the children in her class would be jealous when they found out that she was closer to God than they were!
The first person she showed her Chain to was Ms. Gray, her Senior Infant teacher. Ms. Gray was a young teacher, just settling into her career, and was delighted to enthuse over anything her children wanted; this was probably why she was the first adult Marilyn ever trusted, after her parents and Nana.
However, this may have been the cruellest thing that Ms. Gray could have done to Marilyn at this time, though she certainly didn't intend to give the little girl expectations that her classmates would be so enthusiastic about her new-found passion for religion.
After morning classes, Marilyn was outside playing hopscotch with two girls called Lily and Samantha. Marilyn would have called them friends in her own head; they got along most of the time, and all enjoyed their games of hopscotch. However, in reality, the girls have very little in common, and friendship was not part of the relationship.
"What are you wearing on your neck, Marilyn?" Samantha asked when Marilyn leaned over to pick up the throwing stone, and her Cross dangled from her neck, its tiny diamond catching a glimmer of late morning sunlight.
Marilyn stood up, careful not to wobble from her square, and held up the Cross for Samantha and Lily to take a closer look.
"It's my Chain of Cross," she announced proudly. "It's my birthday present. My Nana Marilyn told me she got one when she made her... made her... First..." She momentarily forgot the word she was looking for, but carried on nontheless. "Anyway, she told me that wearing the Cross means I'm closer to God."
"Closer to God?" Lily repeated skeptically. "Like at mass?"
Marilyn shrugged. "I suppose it's kind of like mass. Except I can wear this all the time."
"Why would you want to be at mass all the time?" She crinkled her nose, looking with ridicule at Marilyn's face. "You're weird, Marilyn."
"I'm not weird," Marilyn argued defensively. She looked at Samantha, hoping for her support, but she was wearing the same look of disapproval as Lily.
Lily made a grab for the stone in Marilyn's hand. "I don't want to play hopscotch with you anymore, Marilyn. You're a freak. You can't play with us anymore."
Marilyn felt her throat start to ache, the way it had a year ago when her pet goldfish Finn had died. Her eyes started to fill with tears as Lily pushed her away from the hopscotch, and continued to play with Samantha. Shock made Marilyn stand and stare at them for a few minutes as they played, until Samantha finally looked at her and said;
"Go away. We don't want you or your Cross here."
That was the first time Marilyn got the feeling that being religious, being close to God, wasn't cool.