She walked into the confessional. Her raincoat and head scarf dripping wet. "Bless me Father for I have sinned."
"How long has it been since your last confession my child?" asked the priest.
"Oh my God, so many years father. "She answered.
"Is there a reason for this? "He asked her.
"I've just been lapsed for many years although I attend Mass occasionally."
"Then proceed my child."
"I'm very troubled tonight Father about something I've done." she replied breathlessly
"Go on." he said.
After a long pause she took a deep breath and continued. "I've just murdered my husband."
She could hear the priest sighing on the other side in his dark confessional box.
"I didn't want to do it but I had no choice." she tried to explain. "My life has become intolerable. I felt there was no way out."
"We all have choices my dear. "Murder isn't usually used as an option."
She started sobbing now. "I shouldn't have come here. Now I'm sorry I did! It was a mistake. Sorry I've wasted your time." And she got up fast and was ready to leave.
"Wait!" "Sit down my child. You are very troubled and I am here to listen and not to judge. That is our Lord's job."
So she began to tell him the whole sorry story about her life with a man she had lived with for many years, through happy times and miserable times and of her loneliness with him. And also of his being a control freak. All those wasted years. Now her only child was grown and she was left alone. And her husband was still very wrapped up in his career. He wouldn't let her out of his sight. That meant no volunteer work. No little outside job. No classes. He didn't even want her having any friends. He was jealous to the point of insane. He wanted her at home like always. Waiting for him to come through the door as always to have a hot meal waiting for him. The house clean, the laundry washed and put away. At home looking pretty for him when he walked through the door, to show off in public. And it was always that way.
She felt she did her duty by him all these years. She had gotten married so very young, at the age of only 15 with her parent's permission, just a baby herself so she was relatively still a young woman. Attractive still with long dark hair, pale skin and big dark eyes and a pretty good figure too, after carrying one daughter whom she never saw any more since she had moved away across the country. She still tried to look nice for him. Why she did this, she had no idea! He never looked at her as a woman anymore and it had been like that for years. Many years. She wanted to sleep in her daughter's old bedroom but he wouldn't hear of it. Even though he hadn't touched her in many years, he insisted on her sharing his bed. This made her even lonelier still.
He had a bad temper, a very short fuse and she always felt like she was walking on eggshells around him. Oh, he could be funny, nice and charming at times, especially if there were other people present. He performed well for an audience. But most often he was dour and negative and complaining. She knew she wasn't perfect either but she did try. She tried to make him a nice home and be a good wife to him and a good mother to his child. But now there was nothing left for her.
So tonight she finally got the courage up to tell him how unhappy she was. She knew she was risking his wrath upon her but it was a risk she had to take. So she made him dinner and then sat him down in the parlor and tried to tell him how she felt about her life and talk about maybe about some kind of separation for them... some kind of solution.
Right away he started in on her, his face growing redder and redder. "You just want to ruin my one free night, don't you?" he screamed at her. "What the fuck is this all about? I thought everything was fine, now you tell me this shit! Whom have you been talking to?" Who's put this crap into your head?? I don't believe this!"
He got up and was crying, ranting, and raving, pacing up and down the hall, screaming, babbling, on and on. He started throwing things across the room and kicking over chairs. He picked up a vase of flowers and threw it down on the hearth with a crash! She just sat there on the sofa quiet and very scared now sorry she had said anything to him.
He came back into the room now and grabbed her tightly by her small shoulders and said, "You're not going anywhere! It'll be over my dead body! There's someone else, isn't there??" he screamed. "You've met someone, haven't you???"
She tried telling him, "No." There was no one else, but he was too busy ranting and raving. And wouldn't listen to her. She got up to leave the room and said "Just forget it, I thought I could talk to you but I should know better by now!"
As she tried to leave he grabbed a hold of her and pushed her to the floor. She tried to get up but he kicked her and she started to cry. She couldn't take it anymore. It always ended this way. Her life was halfway over and this was all she had left.
When she went to stand up, she was going to grab her coat and walk down to a neighbors house till he cooled off a bit. But when she got up he grabbed her hair and slapped her face and threw her onto a chair.
Without thinking, she grabbed the fireplace poker and just started banging him with it, over and over again, relentlessly now, over and over. Blood splattering everywhere! He held up his arms to try and protect himself, calling her crazy. He tried to grab the poker from her but couldn't get a good grasp on it. She just hit him over and over again like in some kind of trance without even thinking.
And then all the yelling and screaming and crying stopped and there was silence. Dead silence.
Quiet overcame the room. His body lay there on it's back in front of the fireplace. She stared in horror now at what she had done. Then she panicked! She had to think fast! "What could she do??" she thought. "What should she do? She was scared. She threw on her raincoat, scarf and boots and ran out the door!
Next thing she knew she found herself sitting in the dark confessional spilling out her guts.
"I see my child. Well, you know what you did is wrong, don't you?" his voice shaking a little from her story but trying to sound calm and collected.
"Yes, of course I do Father." she replied through her tears, her hands still shaking with fright.
"I just went crazy. He was beating me but this time I fought back but I lost control. I don't know what overcame me! And now he's dead, lying there in a puddle of blood! Oh, God! God!! Please, tell me what I'm going to do!!" she started sobbing uncontrollably now and shaking all over.
The young priest thought hard and long about what she had just told him. He sighed deeply. It was very distressful to hear such a story. Most of the time he just heard confessions from the older folk in the parish, very faithful people with their minor sins. He would smile at their innocence. They were truly good people. But this was a very different matter entirely and she wasn't one of the elders.
"Well, if you are truly repentant in your confession, truly sorry about what you have done, then I can give you absolution and only then." he said.
'But was she sorry? Truly sorry?' she wondered.
Something snapped inside her when she heard this. 'All men are alike! So patronizing!' she thought and she quickly threw her scarf on and ran out of the booth. She just panicked. She opened the door and looked out to see five elderly people sitting in the back pew, two old women and three elderly gentlemen. She pulled her coat tightly around her and ran passed them. They looked up, startled to see this young woman and wondered what was going on. They watched her run towards the heavy doors, open them and fly out. There was whispering and speculation amongst them.
They then saw the young priest peek out of his confessional, looking puzzled too. It all happened so fast. He hadn't realized she fled. He ran quickly by the old group and smiled uneasily telling them he'd be right back and headed for the church doors. He went out on the stone steps and looked quickly, his eyes searching every which way for her but she was nowhere to be found, the rain pouring down on him as he made his way back into his sanctuary. "Who was she? Where did she go??" he said to himself.
He shook the rain off of himself and then he re-entered his confessional box and one by one heard the sins of the old and frail. He made quick work of it and one by one they all left. He went behind the altar and into the sacristy and changed in to dry clothes and heated some water up on a hot plate for a cup of coffee. He was chilled to the bone from the storm and from hearing her confession. Outside he could hear the claps of thunder and lightning echoing through the old little church. He sat in the front pew with his coffee thinking about her.
When he was done, he walked to the Virgin Mary and knelt down to pray. He decided to go back into the confessional and wait awhile. 'She might be back.' He thought. So he sat and waited.
She walked all over the small little town, very distressed, sobbing and praying. Not knowing where to go, what to do. Her mind filled with a million and one thoughts. At one point she stepped out in front of a car and it slammed on its' brakes. She hadn't even seen it! She pulled the collar of her coat up and walked through the rain, which was getting heavier now.
She then turned around and headed back to the church. With resignation and a heavy heart she walked up the steep steps and opened the heavy oak door. She walked passed the tray of white votive candles burning in their little red glass cups. She could smell the scent of mysterious incense one can only find in a church wafting through the air. She paused for a moment to collect her self and knelt before the statue of St. Mary then she lit one of the candles and said a silent prayer. It was very quiet inside and the old people were gone.
She noticed the little red light was still on in the confessional. She took her raincoat and scarf off, shook them out and threw them down over the pew. They were soaking wet. She then re-entered the dark little space. He knew it was she from the soft sigh of her voice.
"Welcome back," he said to her.
"Thank you Father."
"So continue," he said.
So she continued with her story. He asked her many details but she somehow trusted this man with his kind voice and gentle manner. And then after what seemed like hours because time seem to have stood still as they talked, she ended her tale of woe.
"I am very sorry about what I've done Father. I know it was wrong. Very wrong." she cried.
"I will also give you a penitence to perform. Also acts of prayer and also in an act of charity. Something I will choose." the priest said.
"Now do your act of Contrition to solidify your spirit to God, to your church and to me, your priest, of your sinfulness."
And so she did.
"Now I may give you complete absolution and forgiveness of your sins." He said.
"Thank you Father." she responded.
Then he added, "Now come here my child. Open my confessional door and come inside."
Puzzled by this, she did as he said and opened his door. She looked at him sitting in the little dark space. She knew by his voice it was the new young priest that had recently come to their little village parish to help the old priest out who had become very frail over the years.
She walked in and looked up looked at him. He was tall and handsome with brown hair and a kind gentle smile. It was a tiny enclosed space but instead of feeling claustrophobic she felt safe inside the dark little room barely big enough to hold one person sitting down, let alone two.
"Come here." he motioned to her. "Come sit." he motioned to his lap. She was shocked at this and felt silly but did as he said. They were close in age, although he might've been a few years younger than she.
"I'm all wet Father... from the rain." She added."