Our Hero, or Faith and Desire: A Voiceover

In the middle of a church camp cottage—blankets muffling the rattle of windows, socked feet muting the floorboards moaning—I lean in and push my voice through an old T-shirt stretched over a microphone. Oh, Axys.

He has dueled with the Dark One. His faith has cured a drought, a blight across the land brought on by the hopelessness and despair of my people. I don’t need to be told. I’ve known the story for years. You are our hero.

Years ago, after a show, David inked an e-mail address onto the back of my hand in permanent black: thethirteenvoices@. I didn’t scrub hard in the shower, let the shadow of his name linger for days.

Oh, Axys. He wouldn’t know me from Eve. But when he stops in front of me, mouses over the halo hovering above my head and presses his forefinger down—click—I need him to understand what he means to me. To all of us. You are our hero.

Years ago, in a sanctuary, David pressed his hand into the soft arch beneath my ribs, made me aware of my body, how I was using it. “From here,” he said. Oh, Axys.

The song came harder then through my rounded mouth, from somewhere deeper, vibrations hard enough to make his fingers tingle. And God help me, I was praising the Lord. You are our hero.

“Can you say it less…like you want him?” David asks. He grins and toggles a switch, adjusts his earphones, and I take a deep breath.

David’s right. It’s nothing personal. When I open the door into the heat of July, one of the other girls will walk in, grin at him, say a line, then say it again. Filling voices David can’t throw himself. A litany of praises for the redeemer.