40 Years Away from the Church

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Most Sundays, for forty years, I would wake in the arms of the woman I love, the mother of our two kids, debating whether to wake up or not. After no one winning, we would make love and wake at around noon, eat a power brunch and laze on the couch cuddling, dreading the inevitable coming of the blue Monday.

Last Sunday I found myself in church, our daughter sandwiched between me and her mother for her wedding. Angel was right. She had managed to drag us to church. I loved her as much as it hurt to lose her to another man who would never treat her like the princess she is.

Nothing had changed much though. It was the same Catholic Church, antediluvian pews probably salvaged from the capsizing Noah’s Ark; the same old hymns that never see time catch up on them.

It was Angel’s big day. I had to be there for her, not for the service, or worship of a God I doubted scores of years ago.

It was awkward. Ave Maria started and it was déjà vu again. But I couldn’t get the lyrics. My wife seemed fine right. Did she sneak to go to church and leave me? I guess when I will be burning in hell she will be gloating in heaven.

Angel, the girl I had seen grow from a baby to a lady, my second best friend, opened the hymnal and moved it slightly so I could see the printed lyrics. I could feel the smile forming on her lips.

Well, when you go to Rome—- I realized I didn’t know the tunes anymore. Actually, I did not know the tunes for any hymns.

The choir began to sing in well-rehearsed falsetto, and everyone joined in. During consecratio I found myself standing alone when everyone was on their knees. Well, I had to do what they were doing. For the rest of the service, I joined in. 

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I saw the creep who had been following me the past week again. My stomach muscles went taut. There was a serial killer on the loose. The media had christened

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I needed a shot of vodka, straight not shaken, James Bond style. If I didn’t get it in the next three minutes or so, I’d be teetotal for the rest

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