At the confessional
I walked into the church in silence, my shoes clicking when they came in contact with the marble tile as I made my way to the confessional. The sacred and holy environment of the church felt foreign to me, as it was my first time stepping foot in a church.
Not to mention a confessional. But this was where life had pushed me to.
I was so scared, yet at the same time felt so empty inside of me and it felt like every piece of me was going to crumble with every step I took. My heart beat heavily against my rib cage and I swallowed the lump that formed in my throat as I got closer to the confessional.
I took a seat on the unforgiving wooden seat, placing my hand on my chest trying to calm my pounding heart.
I dragged in deep breaths after deep breaths until my heart rate slowed down to a near-normal pace.
I tried to speak once, but my voice failed me. I could almost feel the silent, looming presence of the priest on the other side of the demarcation. Mustering all the courage inside of me, my wet eyes squeezed shut as I whimpered, “Bless me, Father, for I shall sin.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks in hot rivulets.
"Young Ms.?” The Father called from where he sat, with confusion evident in his tone. I raised my head and stared at the net that demarcated us. I could only hope he would not see my face.
“Father?” I answered weakly.
"A confession is meant for those who have already sinned, do you know that?"
"Yes, Father," I nodded, responding with a surprisingly stable voice.
"You have sinned, or you shall sin?" He asked, confused.
I sucked in a long breath and exhaled to calm my racing heart before answering him, "Father, immediately I leave here, I'll be going to have an abortion."
Those words felt like a grave sacrilege as they dropped out of my mouth, and his shocked reaction proved it. The priest gasped. “What? Do you know that God doesn't support the killing of an innocent baby?" He questioned. His voice still remained as calm as the sea before a storm.
I nodded to his question, not sure if he could even see it.
He asked next, “Then can you tell me the reason you want to do this?"
I bent my head again to stare blankly at the ground. "I don't think I am ready to care for a baby yet," I replied.
He released a deep and heavy sigh. “Killing is a sinful thing to do, and as a matter of fact, it's written in the Bible that, you shall not kill, and I hope you will have a change of mind. May the good Lord be with you," he said solemnly.
“Your penance is, helping a few random homeless people with alms. Do this while pondering on the mistake you made, and the one you are about to make, then, this grave sin of yours, shall be forgiven. Daughter, go and sin no more.”
I nodded. “I really do need forgiveness. But I have to do this," I muttered, looking up at the image of Jesus on the wall.
I briefly wondered if all I really had to do was to help homeless people, then the sin I was about to commit would be completely wiped off. Just like that?
My mind felt crowded as I got up from the seat and walked away, hearing the muted words of prayer from the priest behind the demarcation. I really needed to talk to someone to get the burden off my chest, and I couldn't tell my mom or Estelle, my best friend and that was why I decided to tell the Reverend father. I even felt a bit relieved.
I was anxious to complete my penance, so despite the slowly darkening sky, I spent the last of the money in my purse on some street food. Then, I slowly distributed it to the homeless people in the alleys and corners. By the time I was done, I noticed the sky was very dark when I stood on the porch peering at my surroundings.
It had started to rain heavily, and I watched as people scurry around for shelter from the storm. The rain reminded me so much of how all of this mess started. I stretched my hands forward and smiled emptily as droplets of water from the rain fell gently on my skin.
I vividly remember how it all started, because it had rained non-stop till the next day. I remembered how all of these started and I wished it was never like this. I wished I had not made the bad decisions that led to this pregnancy.
I had just returned from one of my many job shifts, tired and stressed. That Night
I had pushed open the tiny gate and walked through the field heading toward our home. Most people found peace within their homes, but I was not one of them. I detested coming home a lot and I never wanted to come back to such a gloomy atmosphere. But what choice did I have?
I had stopped in my track when I heard sniffles and cries. I had prayed and hoped that my dad hadn't abused my mum again. He did that always and had been locked up before.
"Mom." I called out when I saw her sitting on the bare floor. She was sobbing in a way I had never seen before.
Something twisted painfully in my chest as I dropped my bag on the floor and knelt beside her, cradling her palm in mine. "Mom, what is wrong?" I asked softly.
She couldn't answer me, she just kept crying. I hugged her tightly, letting her cry on my shoulder.
"Can you tell me what is wrong now?" I asked her when she had finally stopped crying. She stared at me with red-rimmed eyes and placed a hand on my cheek.
"You are scaring me," I said to her, nervously. That was when I finally took my eyes off her and saw the state of the house. I gasped in horror, "What happened to the house?!”