Bow Down

by HelluvaGirl

It was a beautiful spring night a year ago.

Mrs. Nielsen was visiting. We soaked ourselves in booze, got into adventures all over Lithuania and had the time of our lives, as it happens when we hook up with her.

That night, we went to a concert at the National Philharmonic Hall. Amazing classical music, sets your imagination travelling from the moment the fingers of musicians masterfully touch the instruments…

Then a group of us headed to a cocktail bar. Me, Mrs. Nielsen, Journalist and another friend we call Eyelashes. All dressed up, feeling good about ourselves and excited to see each other. We were Belles de Nuit: heels, lace, jewellery, cigarettes. There was a cloud of perfume around us like an aura of hedonism and promise.

As we walked chattering up the Old Town street leading to the Gate of Dawn, one of the most remarkable places of worship in the world, I heard something in the indigo air of the evening.

There was a large group of people walking towards us, chanting. I then realised it was the Good Friday and people of faith in the slow procession were carrying candles in the honour of the crucified prophet.

I stopped there, stilettos nailed into the pavement. I watched the adults, elders and children slowly walking past me with their heads piously bent down, candles in their hands. The wind was playing with the tiny flames as it was fluttering in my black skirt.

The air was thin around us all of a sudden. My friends have gone far away already as I stood there, overtaken by astonishment. We were all there, on that same street. We were all a bunch of people, outside on a Friday night, yet there couldn’t have been a greater difference between us. I glimpsed at Mrs. Nielsen who was walking back to see why I lagged behind as I felt that very familiar vague longing.

Was it possible I wasn’t at all who I’ve dressed up to be? The childhood memory emerged of going to church and experiencing the pure humility and joy after the mass, the reminiscence of belonging among others – not in a fusional sense but simply of being with humans like myself who were coming to church for different reasons but similar purpose.

I want to be somewhere else, someone was begging inside of me.

What’s taking you so long?

I looked at my friend.


The girl in the black plissé skirt, lace blouse and leather jacket with a perfect blowout and impeccable makeup turned on her heels and headed up the street to hit bars and break hearts and keep her own away from things it vaguely wanted, amused by short-lived crushes, drowned by impossible loves and consoled by maybe-some-day aspirations.

Until exactly a year passed, and on the same Good Friday night she hit a rock bottom a little too hard to finally admit she needed help. She needed something to bow her head to, to admit she’s been too proud and to readjust her focus.

It gets very lonely when you realise you are a particle of God, and in a way God’s representation. The Land of Light is within you. Not in a church, not in some proverbial heaven. You can do anything. Everything depends on you. Turn right – there’s one package of outcomes. Turn left – there’s another, all of your own making. And there’s no escape from being responsible, that’s what it means. 

Next Sunday, when I went to church after 17 years, I could remember all the prayers. I couldn’t stop crying, too.

It is truly difficult to balance the humane and the Godly within, and to respect both parts accordingly. The humane part requires support, and to admit the need of it is a huge step to some. Even harder to succumb, to entrust into the will, into the know or into the authority of another. It brings out the eventual experiences of rebirth; however, that comes after you die – in many ways of your own choosing. I say, it’s ok to weep a bit.