Midnight Mass, flash fiction by Lynda Lee, at Spillwords.com
Tolga Aksoy

Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass

written by: Lynda Lee


I longed to wear the dark blue dress with the red apple motif. My aunt bought it for me to wear on Christmas Day.

Mammy said no and was adamant that it was not an option.

“Wear the white one you’ve always worn to the choir. You’d look out of place in blue at the recital!” It was said in a voice I knew would tolerate no argument.

I scrutinized the plain satin dress I’d begged for three years earlier. Wear and tear had changed it from sparkling white to a muggy grey, like a dishcloth.

My body had changed too, over the years and the dress had been altered in and out until there was barely a thumbnail of material to spare. I was terrified taking a deep breath lest it fell apart and exposed me to all present.

“It’s only one day, Mammy,” I ventured, but she stood firm. “The blue is your Christmas dress which you will wear tomorrow. The white is your choir dress which you’ll wear tonight.”

“Stupid dress,” I grumped, hoping she didn’t hear me.


It was to be my last recital with the Junior Church Choir. Next term I’d be old enough to join the adult group. I had no plan to do that.

I joined the Choir at twelve years of age after I’d been introduced to Him. I learned that He was the Choir Master so it was my way of getting to know Him. Now I knew him like the mirror image of myself.

“When you’re sixteen,” he’d tell me time after time as he’d hold me tightly against him. I wondered what he was referring to. The only thing that was going to happen when I turned sixteen was the Adult Choir. Everything else had already been experienced and mostly enjoyed.

I’d be sixteen in a few months and all thoughts of church and choir would be far behind me…wouldn’t they?


I banged the ice and snow from my boots before opening the vestry door.

Our sacristan Peter Gray appeared to be at sixes and sevens trying to organize the Midnight Mass.

“Ah, you’re here,” he said, ticking my name off his list. “Are any of the others with you?”

I shook my head. “Where’s Father Matt?”

“A question I’ve asked myself for the last twenty minutes,” he grunted. “The man couldn’t organize a flea circus let alone Midnight Mass on Christmas day!”

Just then the door opened and December spread its icy fingers around the previously toasty room. He appeared, like a magician and made everything fall into place.

The choir mistress bustled through brushing snow from her coat. She was quickly surrounded by her angels in white.

“You’re singing the solo tonight,” she said, checking her list, and I nodded. “Do not take your eyes off me!” she instructed and I nodded again. Like the pied piper, she led us toward the loft. I could hear strains as the organist warmed up his instrument in readiness for the service.

“Good luck, dear,” the priest called. I blushed but turned to smile at him.

My solo was Panis Angelicus. I’d sung the hymn many times in the past, but to hear my voice alone high above the crowded church gave me goosebumps.

As instructed I focused on our choir mistress until another voice rose in harmony with my own and I pulled my eyes away.

I’d heard Father Matt sing many times. He was a favorite with parishioners both on and off the altar. Now he was singing with me.

I sang the verse and he harmonized in a lower octave.

The offertory was taking place, and there was silence except for our voices.

When the last note sounded I realized my face was wet with tears, and The Choir Mistress was shooting daggers in my direction.

That was the last time I attended Midnight Mass or sang in a church.


I wore the dress to Mass on Christmas Day. He said the red apple motif at my breast tempted him.

I turned sixteen.

He left without saying goodbye.

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