Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Write To Understand - Part 3

The others chat amongst themselves. People whom I have never met, but know so much about. I know their foibles, their attitudes, the good and the bad. When had confessor become part of my job description? And for a priest. Why is theology such a strict, and forbidding mistress? Why couldn’t he break free from those early days of shame and punishment?

My eyes are drawn to his face, his cheeks. I search for scratches. Search to find evidence of a last minute change of heart. Other than that I can’t bring myself to form the vision of his final tremors.

But his preparation, that I wonder about. How did he arrange his final morning? Did he play that African song he loved? Did he have a cup of the tea that hung like an albatross around his now marked neck?

And ritual.

In what self-anointing ritual did he steep himself that dawn? Ritual was a great love and comfort to him. I laughed on more than one occasion, telling him his love of ritual could easily qualify him as an honourary Roman Catholic. But this lost Calvinist minister would only become more intense in his observation of the rite, be it tea brewing or discussion.

And then gone, as though he'd quit the inner sanctum before the offering had been accepted.

Or had he simply realized that he was to be the sacrificial lamb?