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She knelt down at the bench that was drenched with the tears and prayers of all those who had come before her. This was a seat that was not meant for resting, but for wrestling. Sinners came to this bench to confess, to plead, to repent and to rise in salvation.

The black shoes she had been wearing restricted her from attaching herself to the bench in the manner she thought necessary to get close to God, and as she twisted-around to remove them, her black uniform skirt got caught on the sleeve of her tunic, revealing more of her regulation nightshade pantyhose than modesty would approve.

She did not know that he was watching her.

He was always watching.

She went about her business, preaching and teaching the word of God, leading the people in praise and worship of the creator she loved so very much. She was just doing what she had been called to do, the best way she could.

In her twenty-one years of life she believed she had a firm grasp on the world, and was wise and mature to its ways.

When he came to her and confessed his love, she found herself spinning and dizzy, unable to find her bearings and questioning what she had believed to be the safest place.

“My wife knows about you,” he confessed. She felt sick to her stomach and wanted to turn from him and run. Unable to speak, he continued, “I’ve been talking to my therapist about you.”

Was she, honestly, hearing him correctly? It seemed as though she had been thrust into another world, like a twisted version of what one might find beyond the wardrobe.

How could she have let this happen? What had she done to lead him on?

She stared back at him, in shock and disbelief and noticed for the first time how many wrinkles his face held and the glisten of his silvery white hair.

He was in his 50’s and had kind, but lost, eyes. She had always appreciated his gentleness, but now she felt like he was a predator. He was no longer a sheep, but a wolf in sheeps clothing.

“I love you,” he made his confession plainly.

She tugged at her white blouse nervously, suddenly feeling naked and exposed. In her mind she was pleading with him to stop looking at her. She felt undressed by his stare.

“What am I going to do?” he asked.

She said nothing. Frozen to the ground, unable to move, the world rang in her ears and she remembered what it felt like to want to disappear.

She never wanted to be seen by a man again.

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