group prayer

In any event, on the floor of the cabin, in the center of the circle, Aubrey sat down, surrounded by sleeping bags, plastic lawn chairs, Pringles cans, muddy flip-flops, and an oblong ring of young men and women, whose hands were outstretched (some stretched to touch her shoulders and arms, while others seemed satisfied to touch the air) as they crawled closer to her, then knelt back on their heels, murmuring and praying while a heavy peace settled on the room as if finally one had entered the locker room after the game, had pulled off one’s shoes and flung them at a friend, and this sense of the Kingdom liberated some latent spirituality in Aubrey; she felt a rush of excitement for God, crossing some divide in her own mind wider than the Jordan, a rush so heady she felt as if a runner were almost to the finish line and crossing it—never is one so excited nor does one run so fast—and the trembling of the ceiling fan which resounded from all the narrow walls punctuated the prayers, a movement of programmed mechanics and excitement, not unlike the trained rushing of a runner crossing that line—Aubrey knew for the first time why people run; they crave the cycles of peaceful exhaustion and intense movement…

[Exercise for writing class, in imitation of Mailer.]

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