Umber (49.44 — Oleander’s Story)

September 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

The next day was Sunday.  We got to church early.  Father Vanderweyden was hearing confessions as usual.  I waited in line, trembling, needing to unburden my soul of the guilt brought on by my unintentional but grievous wrongdoing.

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.  I made magic paper dolls and put them in an envelope, and made my daddy love someone other than my mama, and now he has gone away and I’ll never see him again.”

“WHAT did you say, Oleander?”

I repeated it.  He didn’t answer.

“So,” I groveled, “I am a bad sinner, and I ruined everybody’s life.”

“OLEANDER!” the priest shouted.  I could hear gasps of shock from the people waiting in line outside the confessional.

He lowered his voice a bit.

“This is superstitious nonsense!  You did not cause your parents to divorce.  You are not responsible for their actions.”

I tried again to explain about the paper dolls, and how I was making things happen.

“Superstition is a sin!  You must not dwell on things like this, or it will lead you STRAIGHT TO HELL!”

I was crying now.  I said the act of contrition with shuddering sobs.  I left the confessional.  I’d forgotten about Mass, and headed slowly towards the vestibule.  I was out the back door and down the steps when Mama caught up with me.  She looked frightened.


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