A Woman of the Church


It was a Wednesday, Wednesday evening; Wednesday late evening. I was helping a friend out by putting up some shelves in a basement of a church hall. Not my usual job but just something I turn my hand to every so often.

I had started to put these up after my usual day job, so I had started late and I knew there was going to be a meeting in the hall above, so knew I could finish late as well, at least till the meeting went on till.

The friend I helped out could not be there with me, and anyhow, I did not need him as I could manage by myself. He had let me in the hall early and there was no one around at that time.

The basement was under the main hall; access to this was via a small hatch in the floor of the hall to the side of a stage. On lifting the hatch, steps led down to the basement. It was not a big basement, quite small actually, long but very narrow and there was no power down there. That together with some lighting was something else he wanted me to put in but at a later date. So I used my cordless equipment to carry out the work required. I am a fairly large guy, so moving around in that space was a bit awkward.

The basement does not get used that regularly, so when not in use, the hatch is closed and a church piano sits on top. My friend helped me move the piano before he left. The hatch I had left open, mainly because I ran a power cord for a light and also so that people knew that there was someone down there. I had put up a small barrier around the hatch.

I heard people as they moved up in the main hall through footsteps on the wooden floor, more and more as the evening went on. There was this one very loud voice I heard throughout the evening she seemed to be the boss or leader and told people what to do.

I needed a chair or a stool; I popped my head out of the hatch and saw an elderly gentleman stood by some chairs, I shouted out but he never heard me, so I got out and fetched the chair myself. That was when I saw the lady with the loud voice, she seemed very authoritative.

I went back down and carried on with my work. After a while I heard a voice from the hatch, “Hello, would you like a cup of tea Mr?”

I walked up to the opening and there was this pretty young girl, who again said, “Would you like a cup of tea?”

I looked up and said, “Yes please, white no sugar, thank you.”

Ten minutes later the same young girl brought me the cup of tea, she asked, “What you doing down there?”

I told her and she asked if she could have a look, so I helped her down and was showing her what I had done when the loud stern voice came across from the hatch, “Elizabeth, are you down there?”

The girl went to the hatch and said, “Yes mama I’m here.”

The lady above obviously the girls mum said, “Come back up here at once, we’ve got work to do.”

The girl, Elisabeth turned to me, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I’ll have to go now, might see you later.”

She went back up and I carried on with my work. An hour had passed and must have been around half ten, when I had nearly finished and had got my tools together. I also heard people leaving in the main hall.

I did not hear her but Elisabeth came back down and took me by surprise when she said, “Have you finished your tea Mr?”

I turned round sharply and said, “O, yes, thank you.”

She looked around and said, “I’ve never really been down here before. My second trip if you count the one earlier. It’s smaller than I thought it would be.”

I said, “Yes and now that these shelves are up it’s even smaller. But it is just a store.”

We chatted for a bit longer, she came across as a very friendly young girl. Then the other sterner voice from the hatch came back and said, “Elizabeth you down there again?”

Again Elizabeth walked to the hatch and looked up and said, “Yes, I’m coming.”

I walked to the hatch and gave Elizabeth the empty cup and saucer, the lady saw me there and said, “We’re finished up here and they need to lock the hall, how long are you going to be?”

I said, “I’m nearly done just a couple more minutes to tidy up.”

She looked at her daughter and said, “Come on Elizabeth, hurry up, hurry up.”

Elizabeth went up and I finished off. There were some candles in the basement; I lit one to see after I took out the cable for the light I used.

I went up and there were just a couple of men putting away the chairs, one of them was the one I shouted at for the chair earlier. I unplugged the cable and took it down and brought up some of my tools to put back into my car.

The stern woman came up to me and said, “Have you got everything? They’re about to lock up?”

She looked very uptight, prim and proper and seemed to be the type of person who liked to be in control.

I said, “Nearly, couple more trips should do it.”

She brushed past me in a huff elbowed me out of the way as she said, “Ah, let me help and you’ll be out quicker.”

She led the way, I thought she was just going to wait at the top, but she actually went down. Bycasino I shouted out to her, “Be careful there’s no light down there.”

She disappeared down, I followed. The light was very dim which came from one lit candle; I could barely see her face. I approached her and she asked, “What have you been doing down here?”

I took hold of the candle and said, “Let me show you.”

We passed the old shelves where the candles and other items were kept, I took her to the far end where I had put up the shelves we could hardly walk side by side. She was quite slim but I was almost double her weight and breadth.

She seemed pleased and said, “Yes very good, we’ve wanted these for a while. They will certainly be very useful.”

She pushed and pulled on them and said, “Very good.”

She was in front and as she turned so that we could leave, she bumped into me and said, “Come on come on, let’s go.”

I turned and walked in my slow stagger, I led the way, she asked, “Are you going to put the light in here?”

I said, “Yes, but have not been asked to yet.”

We both picked up the rest of my tools and walked to the hatch. It was closed, I turned to the lady and said, “It’s closed, it must have got knocked or something. I’ll go and see.”

I put what I had down, just barely able to see the floor. I got up and pushed on the hatch door, it moved half an inch and then no more. It was hard to move and it seemed that the piano must have been pushed back on top. I pushed and pushed, the lady shouted up, “Well what’s the matter?”

I looked down and said, “I can’t open it, it’s stuck. Someone’s pushed the piano back on top I think.”

She tugged at the bottom of my trousers and said, “Nonsense, get down, let me see.”

If I could not move it, there was no way she could, but even so I let her have a go. I stepped down and the lady went up. She pushed and again it moved half an inch and no more. She looked down and said, “What about those tools you have, isn’t there anything we can use?

I looked around, I lowered the candle to the floor, moved it from side to side, I looked back up and I said, “No not really, there are no tools here that would be of any use, just scrap ends of the shelving and other bits and pieces. The hatch doesn’t open enough to get anything through it.”

She pushed up again and shouted out, “Hello, Hello, is there anyone there? We’re here in the basement. Hello, hello.”

She knocked on the wooden door with her hand. She then looked through the very small crack of the opening and said, “They’ve gone home, there’s no light on.”

She came back down, she slipped on a run of the step and I put my hand up to steady her. She grabbed hold and then said, “Unhand me young man, I’m a woman of the church I’ll have you know, and a married woman at that.”

She had placed a foot back onto the run and I took my hand away and said, “Sorry lady, I was just helping.”

She stepped down onto the floor and said, “Helping is one thing and groping a married woman is quite another, young man.”

I again, not in anger but a louder voice apologised, “Sorry.”

And then in a lower tone and a whisper under my breath I said, “I wish I were a young man.”

The lady said, “No need to get abrupt with me sir.”

She looked very stern and unyielding even in the dim light, she said, “Do you not have a phone?”

I said, “Yes, but I put it in the car on my first trip.”

She scratched her head and said, “We’ll there’s only one thing we can do, we’ll have to wait till the morning, there’s a meeting at eight or till someone realises one of us is missing.”

I looked down to the floor and said, “I can wait.”

She said, “There are more candles in the back, give me this one and I’ll fetch them.”

I gave her the lit candle and she disappeared down the narrow basement. All I could see was the dim light of the candle in the distance. It had stopped then moments later came back towards me.

She held up the lit candle to her face and gave me the other candles she had fetched, she said, “Here, light these.”

I said, “It might be better to move further down.”

Further down, although it was just as narrow, there were small shelves to the side, where we could place the candles. She agreed and we lit up four more candles and placed them on those shelves.

There was nowhere to sit apart from the floor; the lady was about to sit when I thought and said, “Don’t sit on the dirty floor, hold on.”

I had thought of the chair I had brought down, it was at the far end, I had to brush up against the lady to get past. I said, “There is a chair over there, let me get it, but I will need to pass by you.”

She stood with her back to the wall and said, “Yes, very good.”

It was tight, no matter how close to the wall I was we still brushed each other, our faces very close, she had closed her eyes and turned her face to the side.

I came back with the chair and placed it down, I said, “Here sit on this, I’ll take the floor.”

I Bycasino giriş sat next to her by the chair, no room opposite. She looked down, even with the candles we had lit, the light was still quite dim and we just about made out each other. She said, “I heard you.”

I wondered what she was talking about, looked up and asked, “What do you mean. Heard what?”

She looked away and stared at the wall and said, “Your comment about not being young.”

I had forgotten that and did not think she heard me; I looked down and said, “Yes…well…I wish I was.”

She looked down and said, “Your English needs improving.”

I thought again and said, “What?”

She said, “You said, you wish you was. The correct term is; you wish you were.”

I shook my head and looked back to the floor and said, “I don’t see the difference, was, were, it’s the same to me.”

She then said, “And one does not say ‘what’ one say’s ‘excuse me’ it’s very rude to say ‘what’.”

She stood up and took a candle off the shelf, she pushed the chair to one side and bent her knees and lowered herself down to me. The candle lit both our faces and she said, “May I ask, how old you are?”

The candle light flickered and casted shadows on our faces I said, “Don’t mean nothing to me, I’m forty six.”

She smiled, very slightly, I think it was a smile, but anyway she smiled for the first time and said, “How old do you think I am?”

Now even I knew that you never ask a woman’s age, and if asked, like in that situation, you should always, always, give a low figure.

I did not know where that all started from or why she wanted to know, I thought I’ll just play along; since I had nowhere to go in particular.

I was still in thought, when she said, “Well, come on, have a guess?”

I looked back up and looked around her face; she was a pretty lady I would not say beautiful. If she had asked me about her looks then I would have said beautiful to her face. But she was a very good looking attractive woman.

She had a small hat on her head, the one I seen a lot of women wear to church and she wore a long dress very broad, it was like an umbrella on the hips, it flared out and a small waistcoat with buttons on the front.

She spoke again, “Come on I won’t be offended.”

I took a deep breath and although I thought she looked forty, I said, “Thirty six,” and closed my eyes.

I heard her giggle, she sounded very pleasant for someone I’ve only heard use a stern controlled voice.

She said, “Now I know you’re not telling the truth. Come on what do you really think?”

I opened my eyes looked at her face again and said, “Thirty eight,” and again closed my eyes and looked to the floor.

She lifted my head and said, “You are a very nice man, by your hands I can tell you work very hard, your face tells me you’ve probably had a hard outdoor life.”

She touched my cheek, she ran a finger across it and said, “You’re skin is tough, you’ve certainly have a hard life.”

She ran her finger across the other cheek and said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but for a black man you are quite good looking, if I may say so.”

She ran her finger across my forehead and said, “I’m the same age as you sir and I thank you for your kind thoughtfulness and modesty towards me.”

She got back up and sat on the chair, she held the candle with both hands in her lap.

She did not look down still straight ahead and said, “My name is Tabitha, you may call me Tam.”

I said, “Nice to meet you Tam.”

She then looked down and asked, “And your name sir.”

I stood up, bowed and said, “Matthew, at tour service my lady and my friends call me Matt.”

She too stood and said, “Well Matthew, can I class myself as a new friend.”

I did not want to just grab and take her hand, so I held out mine to see if she would take it, and she did. She put the candle onto the shelf and placed her hand in mine. I gently closed my fingers around her very small delicate white fingers; I kissed the back of her hand and said, “Yes my lady and I too would like to be a friend of yours, if you would have it.”

I thought I would try and sort of speak her way even if it did sound poppas, I was merely play acting.

She giggled, I was happy she saw the funny side of what I did. I pointed to the chair with my open hand and said, “Please be seated lady Tam.”

She sat and I also sat back onto the floor. We chatted and smiled at each other’s stories of life in general and one another’s misfortunes.

The candles got low and were about to go out, I pointed it out and said, “I’ll get some more.”

Tam placed a hand on my shoulder and said, “You stay there I’ll fetch them.”

She got up and took one of the lit candles with her. I stood and cleared away the old ones to make room. She came back and I leant against the wall, she brushed past me, but for some reason it felt like a tighter squeeze, not just that but it felt she brushed past tighter deliberately.

I Bycasino deneme bonusu got a bit aroused, but thought a lady like Tam, a church lady would not even have thought of any such thing.

We replaced the candles and I sat back down as did Tam. Tam asked, “Are you tired Matt? You may sleep if you would like.”

I thought it funny that I may have required permission from Tam to sleep, I said, “No, I’m fine I may doze off in a bit, but if you need to, then…”

She interrupted me and said, “No I too am not sleepy.”

We carried on with some more small talk for about another half an hour or so. During which we established that I had been divorced ten years and had no children and am a landscaper by day. Tam’s been married for twenty eight years, one child, Elisabeth. Tam was a school teacher for infants, and was quite religious and carried out a lot of work for the church.

Then there was an awkward silence for a couple of minutes.

Tam asked, “May I ask you a personal question?”

I was open-minded so said, “What do you want to know? I’ve told you that I’m divorced and have no kid’s and you know my age.”

She said, “Oh I know all that. I was thinking of a very personal question. You may wish not to answer it.”

I wondered what else she wanted to know so said, “Ask away!”

She then asked a question I would never have thought I would ever hear from a lady like her, especially because of the conversations we had just had. She looked straight ahead at the wall and asked, “Tell me Matt, are all bla…coloured men well-endowed?”

I was lost for words, I understood the question, or did I, I asked, “Sorry Tam, what did you say?”

She did not look down, just looked straight ahead and she said, “I asked, are all coloured men including you, gifted in the lower region?”

I did not know about other men black or otherwise, I had a cock, my cock, I said, “I’ve never thought about it, WE black men don’t go around comparing one another’s bits.”

She then looked down, but I looked towards the floor and she said, “O Matt, I wasn’t asking if you actually compared yours with another, just are you a big man?”

I thought I’d be funny, as I was a big man overall, I said, “Yes, can’t you see I’m a big, bulky oaf.”

Tam placed a hand on my shoulder and said, “You Mr, are diverting the question and making fun of me.”

I looked up; her eyes flickered with the light of the candles around and I said, “Sorry I didn’t mean to make fun of you, but you are asking a very personal question, I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable.”

Tam patted my shoulder and said, “No harm done, I was just curious. I married young and still am with the same person and there’s only been the one.”

I looked back down, Tam placed her hand on my head and asked, “May I ask if you have been with more than one in your life?”

I said nothing I kept quiet, I was not sure why Tam asked me those questions and for all intents and purposes we were complete strangers.

She stroked my head softly and said, “Its fine, I’m sorry. You must think of me to be very strange and peculiar.”

She kept on and stroked my head and said, “It’s been a long few years, for my husband and I, he is much older than I, I was just curious, sorry to put you in a difficult position. Forget I ever asked.”

It was not a question that anyone can just forget was asked.

A long silence followed, then I looked up and said, “I can understand your curiosity and I think a lot of women probably think of asking the same question, just that you have actually asked the question!”

I looked back down and she continued to stroke my head. She seemed to be patent but very inquisitive at the same time she asked, “May I ask again and this time a simple yes or no would suffice? Are you a big man Matthew?”

I did not know what to say, but to offer her a choice, I asked, “Tam, I told you, I don’t know if I am big or bigger than… your husband or the next man that you bump into. Do you want to…see…look…for yourself and judge?”

It all went very, very quiet; we could actually hear the wick of all the candles as they burnt away.

It must have been three or four minutes, but seemed like three or four days, when Tam said, “Okay, get up!”

I did not think she was serious, so stayed down and said nothing.

She patted me on the shoulder and said, “Come on get up before I change my mind.”

I still stared at the floor and said, “Good, you can change your mind.”

She then patted a bit harder and in her sternest tone said, “No I am not going to change my mind. Get up!”

I stood up very slowly as the blood ran back to my legs and the numbness subsided, I stood to the side of her, she looked sideways to me and said, “This won’t do, this won’t do at all.”

I wondered what she referred to, what did she want to do?

Tam stood and picked up the chair and turned it ninety degrees, so it faced along the narrow basement. She sat back down and her face was then in line with my crotch.

With both hands she flattened out her dress from her lap to her knees, she did that two or three times. She placed both hands to the sides of her hat and straightened it. Not sure why she did that as it was held on by a hat pin I was sure.

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