Cathedral Hill

They tore down the church on Cathedral Hill back in 1999. Pilates, all of them, washing blood off their hands with a shrug and reference to a local vote. They never did build the shopping center they claimed they would. A patch of concrete foundation, all that’s left of the place. And the name of the street.

Neighborhood nomenclature, the modern poetry. New Bells Church Road. Lavender Crest Drive. Tom Hamilton Parkway. An anthology of stories, of great figures and scenic views long since forgotten. Peach Street when the farm turned suburb four decades ago. Old Gland Street stretching off the current Gland. A former glory hiding a dead end and gravel from relevancy’s brilliance. And Cathedral Hill Road joined all those riddles. A holy path that cared for no chapel.

Always deceptive though. Never much of a cathedral. No Notre Dame, really. Hadn’t been Catholic since that population moved north. Methodist for its last stretch, the county’s own Hagia Sophia, a symbol of two faiths. Had only two sets of bathrooms for the whole complex. Paramount Church in town had six. And 1999 was a fiction anyway, some myth perpetuated to keep people going. What even happened back then? A school shooting? No, those were recent inventions. Ones that could’ve been prevented with a church on Cathedral Hill. But it’s all weeds now.

A trailer park sits at the end of its road. The kids dwelling there will hike up through the knee-high grass in the afternoon. They push each other down the incline, sometimes with giggles, sometimes with scowling. The no-see-ums are particularly vicious on the children’s uncovered legs, more so than they would be at the local soccer field. But that’s half the fun, nature’s scourging. Proof you’d been there. Sometimes the bites got infected, leaving scars for later, badges of honor. In the future, when the now-adult children meet up at a grocery store while waiting for workers to fix the glitching self-checkout kiosks, they’ll compare marks. A blotch of purple on an ankle’s side. Residual redness on the top of a right foot. “Lived on Cathedral Hill, huh?” Laughter. And the machines will come back online.

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