Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It was like this......



She spent a lot of time with Saint Ignatius out in the garden, digging and planting it for a few years now. She'd go on about the kids and her ex-husband who married The Wan. She'd thought Ignatius had special powers, that he could intercede for her.

She'd bought that expensive Italian stuff once Fr. Ryan had told her the big news. The silver bottle was for the eyes, it took away the wrinkles. The gold bottle was for around the mouth. Made especially for smokers, she thought it said. There was no English translation. She'd heard it removed accordion lips. All she could do was hope. And of course pray to Saint Ignatius.

She told Ignatius to intercede again on her behalf to get rid of the wrinkles. The smoking kept her weight down. She would listen to the hunger grumbling away in her stomach, puffing on her cigarette as she leaned back on the stone bench to take a rest, looking up at Ignatius, flying in the sky he always was. Ignatius flying over the garden, over all her hard work. Over all the wild colours of it. As if he were admiring it too.

Fr. Ryan had said it was spectacular what she'd done with it all. She nursed the word for a few months. A month ago Fr. Ryan had said she'd the hands of an artist, an artist of God, as he came out through the French doors and held one of the trellised roses between his fingers before bending down and smelling it and smiling at her in that special way.

Afterwards she'd looked up at Ignatius and winked at him and said it was great to be appreciated. It was something her ex-husband had never done. Her time had come, maybe.

A week ago Fr. Ryan had said he'd something to tell her, it might be a shock. He took her elbow and sat beside her on the bench, Ignatius swooping in the air above them, drinking it all in.

I'm leaving the priesthood, Maggie, he said, I can't fulfil my vows anymore.

She found herself blushing, waiting, anticipating. She cleared her throat expectantly, ready to announce her feelings too.

But when he stood up in the silence, she looked up at him. He was blocking Ignatius.

Why Father? hope slip-jigged inside her. Her voice was huskily attractive to her own ears which was unintentional. That would be the cigarettes. Her belly held a spreading warmth.

The sins of the flesh, Maggie my dear, I'll have to say goodbye now. Tou're a good woman, a very good woman.

And he'd immersed her hand in both of his, blessed her and then bowed and left through the French doors.

You'll be in touch? she'd asked the closing door. But he didn't hear her. Of course he would be. That would go without saying.

She weeded the lily of the valley circle which was nestled in all the yellow and purple of the claspea.

So Ignatius, she sat on her haunches and looked upward.

You'll take all that to Himself, right? You'll do the interceding for me up there? It's been a week and he hasn't called me yet. It must take a while to leave the priesthood and get your affairs in order. But I'll be ready for him. I'll be waiting.

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