“Let's go,” he said. “I will show you something that if not changes you, at least will make you think...”
He took her hand – and, as it had happened to her once before, everything began to spin and float. And when she opened her eyes, she discovered that she was standing in front of some temple in a huge queue, slowly moving towards the entrance.
“So what? You think I haven’t seen the queue, or something? Or believers? Or temples? How many have passed through me. Even if I don’t remember, I realize that. And caring for George required standing in line as well.”
“Perhaps you have, but have you ever listened? And do you know why people from this line get healed?”
“All the same, no matter what I say now, you will challenge everything...” She said almost hopelessly. “So just tell me your point of view right away not to bother too much.”
“Okay. In this case, stand in line, don’t go anywhere and listen to everything they say. And look out for that girl in a blue scarf: she sees me, but she shouldn’t see you in any way.”
“I’ve already seen it all. Many times. So I’m just going to sit here on the roof between the two domes. See you.”
“But!..” She didn’t have time to finish as he was already on that same roof between the two domes, as promised.
“Well, what am I going to see and hear here?” She grumbled to herself and casually leaned against the column.
Meanwhile, the girl in the blue scarf was carefully watching Michael sitting on the roof. The queue was moving forward slowly. Mary had no choice but to accomplish the task assigned by Michael: after all, there was no sense in standing just like that, not doing anything. She began to listen and soon she became so fascinated that she didn’t care if it was a task or her own initiative.
Someone new came and asked:
“Who’s the last here?”
Mary was horrified: what a question! They aren’t standing there for a sausage or something! And it doesn’t matter what it is for, but this line leads to the temple, which means that such a question is quite inappropriate!
After a while, she heard the following dialogue between two young women:
“They say his relics heal everyone!” The girl said enthusiastically. “What if it helps me! I’ve tried so many things! Seeing all the doctors, and healers, and traditional helpers!..”
“But seeing the healers and helpers is a sin!” The second girl exclaimed scared.
“So it won’t heal? Then I’ve been standing in line for an hour already for nothing?!”
“And whose relics were brought?”
“They say Spiridon’s...” The answer has followed.
And then Maria noticed that the girl in the blue scarf, whoever she was, was also unwittingly listening that same dialogue and was nervous, trying to control herself.
‘Who is that girl?’ Mary thought. ‘I’ll have to ask Michael for sure.’
The priest in a modest cassock with a tiny silver cross on his chests came out of the temple and was struggling through the crowd. Maria followed him with interest, feeling the light trail left by the man.
“Child!” He called out, and the strange girl shuddered and turned to him, and then her face became graced with a bright, though somewhat sad smile of a weary person. “Come here. I need your help.”
The dissatisfied crowd rumbled.
“Why is she free of turn?”
“Is she special, or what?”
“I've been standing here since morning!”
Mary froze, waiting for his answer. She herself couldn’t explain why it was so important for her what this modest but confident person would say.
“I need help,” he answered calmly. “Help, not your desire to get inside by all means.”
The indignation of the crowd didn’t go anywhere, but became quieter. Some in the stampede even tried to let the girl and the priest inside and were immediately attacked by other parishioners for that.
At that moment, a man in tattered clothes, torn shoes and with a crutch in his hands, which served rather for creating a strange image than for support, approached the queue. He looked tired and was loudly scolding people for hypocrisy, but they didn’t listen to him or even pushed him away, recalling that he was drunk. Mary was forced to distract herself.
“He’s drunk!” One of the women complained.
The police that were guarding the relics of St. Spyridon that day hurried to "fix the problem." In the meantime, this “problem”, according to Mary, was scarily right in most of his claims. Yes, sometimes excessively sharp, but the truth isn’t sweet as she had already known for sure.