The apparition thing has reached critical mass. I sat down at Interval today to munch on my scone and drink my tea, when my pule called me out in front of the entire staff. “Hey Matthew,” I tend to sit across the room from him, and he has to project and it tends to silence chatter. “You should take your camera and get pictures of the Virgin Mary on the building wall.” Two steps ahead you, buddy.
One of the Indian missionaries, Thanpuii, asked if I had the pictures on my camera at that moment. I did. So my camera got passed around the staff room during our half hour break. People looked at it, stared, put their reading glasses on, took their reading glasses off. It got around the room and was passed back to me. And then Peniamina asked if she could see it again. So it took another loop around the room. It was quite the talk of the town.
I admit I’ve had a little trouble finding the right tone in talking about it. Loto, the science teacher (and moonlight taxi driver), wanted all the details. He interrogated me in a quiet, urgent voice. My pule asked if I thought it was real in front of the staff. I shrugged. “Ou te le iloa,” I don’t know. At first people smile and tend to giggle when they talk about it, but then their tone changes and becomes more reverent. The girl at the computer store asked what I thought, and I snickered a little; her visual cues told me she was uneasy with my response. “What do you think?” I asked, straightening up. “I don’t what to think,” she said.
In any case, I had to walk to town today to pay my telephone bill, so I took the chance to walk by again, and see how the spectacle was playing itself out.
It was as much as I could hope for. Taxis were stopping in the middle of the road so their fares could look at it through the window. People sat in their cars blocks away with camcorders zoomed in. A group of older ladies was camped out in the grass fanning themselves.
Walking around the building, I came to the front where a traffic cop regulated the flow of cars as best he could. People stood along the street looking up at the side of the building. The side has a lot more of the darker patches. There was a crowd across the street along the seawall looking up. I found this strange because the apparition is on the backside of the building. But the crowd, which was sizeable, stood with their cameras and pointed fingers.
Everyone stared at another dark patch. Less cool, I thought. You can’t have two Virgin Mary apparitions. It cheapens it. But I took a photo anyway.
The guy next to me saw me take the picture, and asked to see it. I zoomed in on the dark patch and he nodded. He looked a moment longer and then said, “Yeah. You can see his face. There’s the beard.”
Whoa! The plot thickens.
Apparently the likeness of the Virgin Mary is on the back side, and the likeness of Jesus faces Apia Harbour. Crazy.
Then I paid my phone bill.
I hope you’re well. Pictures below.
Long line of cars.
Old ladies camped out.
Crowd at the sea wall.
Dark patches along side of the building.
4 months ago