Much later in the story… Before Tom finished his sentence at least 8 or 9 men and 4 women had stood with faces that did not look happy at all. One of the men, looked to be in his early 40’s was the first to speak not so quietly. “Please be quiet… I would rather not have to quiet you.” Tom feared this response but had hoped and prayed there would be a more interested response. He felt very hot but tried to speak more, “Please just give me a minute.. I promise..” More people stood and none of them looked happy either. “I told you to be quiet,” the man said again, walking toward him. It looked like 75% of the people were standing now, several of them without a word pointed and held their fingers toward the door. It was weirdly quiet with no one speaking, but mostly staring angrily at Tom. “Yes”, one of the first women that had stood said. “you need to leave now, and you are not welcome back, ever.” The woman looked maybe in her 50’s, she looked like she might be sensible but she looked angry.
Tom knew he could not win this battle here, but he knew he needed to stand f or the truth. But his feet didn’t move yet. But he soon decided that his feet better work has more than a few men walked toward him, and it was easy to tell by their faces that they would rather fight than talk. One that looked in his mid twenties said loud enough for all to hear, “Tom, it’s time to leave… we would rather not force you, but..” Tom started walking the aisle toward the exit door, those standing quietly let him pass by, but kept their warning looks fixed on him.
He gently opened the door, he felt all the eyes piercing into him from even behind. He walked out and the door quietly closed behind him. He stood still on the steps of the church for a moment, suprised and wondering at how quiet it remained inside. The sun warmed his cold body, they always kept the inside of the church so cold. The sun felt so good! A gentle breeze washed his face as he slowly started towarrd his car. He felt like what had happened was just a dream, it couldn’t be real, but he knew that it was, realer than anything that had happened in his life in the past several years. He walked slowly, he didn’t even realize tears were rolling down his face. He wasn’t sure if he was upset, a part of him felt like he had failed. Maybe.. maybe he should have stayed and yelled the truth until they listened, maybe he should have stayed until they violently removed him. The tears just poured now, he was getting closer to his car. I failed, did I fail? He asked himself. The tears were unstoppable.. for the first time in his life he realized that he had not failed but that he was free!
“Tom!” he heard someone yell his name from behind. He turned toward the church with tears flowing and a smile that came from his heart realizing he had just been set free. A man had just come out of the church walking toward him. “Tom, wait” The man looked to be in his mid sixties. Tom stood as the man walked toward him. He saw the church door open again, a teenager walked out and came directly toward him, “Tom!” The teenager was beaming with a smile.