by s. nicole böcek
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2017 and 1517
Sometimes you have to open your mouth to change the world.
Amber holds tight onto the coat as the world spins around her.
The Pea-Green Coat Guy, Seth, stops struggling to free his coat.
The world goes dark and then everything is bright again. She has arrived. But where? And when?
Amber opens her eyes and realizes he is gone. The coat guy is gone, slipping away and leaving his pea-green coat in her hands.
The air is chilly, so Amber wraps the coat around herself and begins to look around. The place is similar to 1522.
So where am I now? She looks down at her watch. 1517. Well Seth—or whatever his name is—is here, and I’ve got to find him.
Hesitantly, she approaches a vendor. “Excuse me,” she says.
The vendor scans Amber’s coat and then looks into her face.
“Yes?” he leans forward. “Wanna buy an indulgence?”
“A what? Where am I?” Amber cringes at her question.
The man snorts.
Yeah, I get it, stupid question.
“Wittenburg.” He points at the center of town.
“Thanks,” Amber turns around, studying her surroundings. Wittenburg.
In the center of town is a large church with a wooden door. Several people mill about, reading notices on the door and talking. Then Amber notices a man striding up to the church.
He’s wearing a long black cloak. And he seems familiar. She’s seen him before. In his hand is a long paper and in the other a hammer.
She knows who it is! She’d seen him from the rafters! Amber watches him set the paper on the church’s wooden door, on top of other notices, and then pound a nail through it.
This is the moment! This is Luther and the Wittenburg Church door! The Ninety-five Theses! She feels like she is going to faint. This is that historic moment!
Luther steps back and looks at his paper. Then, with a nod to himself he walks away.
She moves forward to talk to him but then suddenly two men behind him approach the 95 Theses. One of them is wearing a high hat. They study it and next thing she knows, they tear the paper off the nail.
She stands, frozen in her track.
What?! They are undoing it! They are undoing the Reformation!
The men start running away with it.
No! They can’t do that! Amber watches the, mouth wide open. No! The world will be destroyed if they take that! What will the world be without the Reformation? I’ve got to stop them!
She starts to run and trips on the long bottom of the pea-green coat hanging down around her ankles. She falls face-forward into the mud.
Her front is filthy now. She looks up just in time to see the men turn a corner. So Amber picks up the hem of her coat and takes off helter-skelter after them.
“Stop! Thief!” she cries. Nobody seems to notice.
Amber shoves through the crowd and turns the corner, catching sight of the high hat again.
Hurry! The Reformation has to happen! If the people of Wittenburg don’t see this paper, they’ll never know about Jesus, Augustine, Calvin, any of them!
She trips over the coat and sprawls on the ground, landing in mud again. She ignores the mushy grossness and stands up again, dodging around a horse. The world depends on people reading that paper!
The men go into a small house. Amber catches up to them, panting hard, and flings the door open. The four people inside look up in surprise.
She brushes off the mud on her front, knowing how ridiculous she looks.
“Y-you can’t—” Amber wheezes, “You can’t take the 95 Theses! Put it back! The world will be destroyed if you throw it away!”
There is silence for a few seconds and then the man on the left begins laughing, the others joining in quickly. Amber just stands there, very confused.
“I mean it!” she says, stomping her foot.
The man on the right finally stops laughing.
“We absolutely agree with you. This is world-changing.”
“We’re not destroying this, child,” says the second man, pointing to a large machine. “We’re going to make copies of it with the printing press so everyone can see it.”
The printing press! That’s right. Amber feels weak with relief. She leans against the doorframe, trying to catch her breath. Thank goodness. Thank you Lord.
“Thank you,” Amber mouths, closing her eyes.
There’s that familiar wind in the air, blue silence, and then the loud noise of the lawn mower.
Amber blinks, opening her eyes. She’s back in the garage. The door opens and Father steps through.
“Amber?” he looks down at her, confused.
“Hey, Dad,” Amber waves.
“What are you doing in the garage?”
“Uh…” Amber looks around and grabs a can of gold colored spray paint. “This.”
“What are you going to do with it?”
“Spray-paint a leaf I found.”
“Uhm…” Dad tilts his head and then shrugs. “Okay then. Have fun.”
Tilting his head he looks at her muddy green coat. “Where’d…How…” he starts to say, but he looks at her face then changes his mind. “Oh, never mind.”
Amber slides around him and hurries to her room.
She shuts the door, tosses the muddy coat off and onto the floor, and flops on the bed.
Dad probably can tell I’m feeling bad.
It is more than embarrassment in her heart. More than feeling silly telling some grown men to put back Luther’s Theses. It is a worry. A growing concern in her heart. What if Luther had never nailed that to the church door? What if Augustine had never spoken? What if Calvin had never spoken? The world changed because they did not keep silent.
But I am silent. This is why I feel bad. I want to share my faith with Lacey.
She fingers the corner of the pillow, a sense of guilt overwhelming her. But I can’t…it’s embarrassing. Lacey will laugh at me. I’ll be shamed.
Guilt burdens Amber down like metal chains.
But I have to! She groans, hiding her face in her hands.
I can’t. I don’t want to. A tear slips down Amber’s cheek. Ugh! Since when did this get so hard?! I can’t do this…
Amber decides to pick up her room instead of moping. She gets as far as picking up the coat. She studies it and gasps. Grasping the tag, she reads the name again, eyes widening.
Amber scratches the back of her neck and drops the coat on her bed.
Zeff? Grabbing her phone, she texts Lacey.
Are you really serious about the name Zeff?
Lacey’s response is almost immediate.
Oh yes! Most definitely! I’m gonna name my kid Zeff someday.
Amber turns her phone off and stares at the coat.
This coat belongs to Seth. Not Zeff. Unless Calvin mispronounced the name.
She sighs and picks the coat up, shaking off the dried mud outside the window then hanging it in her closet.
If Zeff, or Seth, wants his coat back, he’s going to have to come and get it. Then maybe I can get some answers.
Amber finishes her room and goes down to dinner, peeking at the next date as she walks down the stairs.
That’s a hundred years before Columbus! I wonder who lives then?
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