Posted on May 7, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair5.7.2014 Journal Prompt Image from Ida May 7, 2014: We felt it. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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‘If you believe it then anything’s possible. If you have faith, then God will deliver.’ That’s what he’d said, the priest. He smelled of peppermints and smoke and too much wine. He touched her hair, like it was something holy, and he said her name soft as prayer. ‘It’s not for everyone,’ he said. ‘You have to be called.’
Years on and she still holds onto his words. And she prays to God for the world to be different and to be better. And her father to be dead, that she prays for too, though she repents of that thought when her head is clear. And her mother, she prays for her also, prays that her heart is not breaking wherever she is.
And she lies on the cold floor of the church hall, lies flat against the hard stone, her head turned to one side and her arms wide, like she could be embracing the small piece of the world where she is. And she closes her eyes and she stops her breath, holds it so that she hears beneath her the world turning. And it makes a small rushing sound in her ear pressed to the floor.
‘Hear it,’ she says.
And the nun lying beside her, their fingertips touching, and she is listening, too, eyes shut the same and her breath as still as breath is in pictures. And she nods her head, for she hears it, too.
‘Feel it,’ she says.
And they feel it, like she does. And it is a little like flying, as though they float from the floor, lifted by prayer and hope and faith.
‘Anything’s possible,’ she says.
Her name is Lillian. Sister Lillian. And the children in her village look for her coming and they whisper her name, like the priest once did. And they fold their hands into hers and they promise to be good. And she knows them all by name and she is soft in everything she says to them and she is gentle, and each day she blesses them, every one.
And the priest, old as houses or hills, and he still smells of peppermints in his kisses and he touches her cheek and her hair and he says her name, softer now than prayer for there is no sound in his saying it. And she lies with him on his bed, and she tells him all the good that she has done in her day and she repeats her prayers for the world to be a better place and her mother not suffering and the wanting her father to be dead. And the priest clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth and she takes back her prayer for her father then and asks for forgiveness.
‘Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis,’ he mutters under his peppermint breath.
And she feels again like she does in the church hall, lying on the polished stone floor, flat as nothing, and the world beneath her turning, and she floats for the briefest moment and floats as angels must float, lifted up by their goodness.