At catholic school, a priest would come around to each class and rub a cross of ash on our heads.
i'd walk around the rest of the day on my high horse feeling both holy and dirty. It doesn't work if you wipe it off or something, that's what becky said and she had hers so i had mine too.
"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return"
The priest says this before he presses his thumb to your forehead. As if i needed to be reminded about death. I had trouble sleeping as it was, night after night instead: flashlight and comic book, listening to crickets in silence, country music on a static filled radio station, and my favorite- face down rubbing myself into the mattress.
It's why i did the bad things i did. The cursing, the searching for dirty magazines in the woods, the touching myself. I was a kid but i had to be reminded I was this ash on my head and in the end I'm going to be dust. when was this end? tonight? tomorrow? So, I rubbed myself and hard and if it was a sin it didn't feel like it. It couldn't be. I wasn't dead. I wasn't dust. I was sweating and thinking about girls and the way their bodies must feel and i couldn't wait to.
All that ash and stained-glass settled in and now it reminds me of short skirts and panties and the mother mary is pale and beautiful.
In the beginning of lent we were supposed to give something up that we liked very much. There is this excitement at school because everyone is trying hard to be good and you know it makes things worse. It was always between ash Wednesday and Easter things got interesting for me. It was as if every temptation was thrown at me or maybe i was just more aware of them. It was when girls started to notice me.
Becky shows me her days of the week panties, it starts on Thursday. blue. I never see Saturday, but i do Sunday. white. my favorite pair being Monday. pink.
Bunnies and eggs played a mixed up part I'm sure, but it started with the ash. The dirt that was dust and the dust that I'm to become.