The flame flickered and mesmerized. Alannah watched. The hot tip licked at the glass votive buffeted in a breeze she didn’t feel. Sufficient mental weight can make one oblivious to subtle things. The blackened glass just inside the rim threatened to conceal the flame yet the flame teased. It eased out of the darkened hole to ensure Alannah still watched before it buried itself deep in the wax again. She smelled it melting, imagined the hot puddle, and remembered her dreams.
She’d never known a boy’s touch other than a kiss here or a clumsy grope there. She hadn’t allowed the groping as much as she’d simply failed to prevent it. Dreams didn’t count and Fr. Thomas even told her so in confession. Neither her imagination nor the stories she’d heard from friends had prepared her. Though just dreams, she more-closely resembled a bushel basket of peaches dropped from a high shelf each morning than a girl. Tender to touch, she cried in the shower for a week with every attempt to bathe.
Alannah looked up from the votives between her and the Virgin Mary, held her swollen belly, and noticed the match had burned itself out against her fingertips.