Janessa didn't feel like going to church. Even though she had made her choice, and she knew that the true gospel was worth the sacrifice she had made, she didn't want to see the other young women whispering and giggling with each other while she sat alone. I'll just stay for Sacrament, and then I'll slip out. No one will miss me, and I can enjoy the weather out in the grass near the back parking lot until everything is over and still get a ride with Sister Kirk.
Her favorite part of the meeting was always during the passing of the sacrament, when the sacrament hymn continued to hum away in her mind, and she could feel the spirit wrap its arms around her. By the time the closing song ended and the closing prayer was said, Janessa's desire to continue to feel close to the Lord was almost enough to override her previous decision. But when Cara and Michelle walked past her, leaning together and talking in hushed voices, completely unaware that Janessa was even there, she chose to stick with her plan.
Janessa sat on the grass with her legs underneath her and pulled out her Book of Mormon. She flipped it open and began reading on the page it landed on. When her tears started to wet the pages, though, she closed the book and stared down at the grass. She didn't see Cara step out of the building, stop when she saw Janessa sitting in the grass, and then turn around and go back inside.
Wiping the tears from the cover of the book, Janessa sighed. Why did I have to accept this book from the Sisters when they came by that day? If I hadn't learned the truth, I wouldn't be here, friendless and lonely. Janessa reopened the book and again started to read. But I wouldn't know of my Savior's love for me, either.
She read for nearly an hour, completely engrossed in the story of Alma and Amulek. After reading about Alma healing Zeezrom, Janessa paused to stretch her back. As she was again picking up her book, Cara walked over and sat down about a foot away. She plucked at the grass and glanced at Janessa.
"I should've come over earlier, but you looked so sad, and I didn't know what to say." Cara said, studying the blades of grass she'd pulled from the ground. "Was it something one of us said?"
"No." Janessa replied. "Not intentionally, I guess. Well," she sighed, "my best friend decided not to be my friend anymore because I joined the Church, so I've been feeling a little lost around all of you who are already friends and don't seem to need me."
"Oh." Cara thought of Michelle, her own best friend, and felt grateful that she shared her beliefs. "Well, we do all know each other, but that's because we've been around each other so much--every Sunday, at Wednesday night activities, and at Girls' Camp and firesides." Cara paused. "We can't get to know you if you don't come to Young Womens."
Janessa didn't respond. She looked down at her hands, thinking of Iris and all of the fun they'd had over the years. She felt tears threatening again and squeezed her eyes shut. She nearly jumped when Cara gripped her hand.
"We want to get to know you, Janessa." Cara stood up and pulled Janessa to her feet, too. "Come on, Sister Canfield always finds a way to make food part of the lesson." She smiled.
Janessa shrugged. "Okay. I am feeling a little hungry."
I suppose life can go on without Iris. The spirit wrapped a warm blanket around Janessa as she hurried into the church building.