short story
Excerpts from a novel in working

For the first ten years of my life I thought that no matter what I did I was bound to go to hell when I died. I didn’t think this up all on my own. Sister Mary had told me so. Practically every day. And of course I believed her. How can you not believe something a nun tells you? Particularly when it comes to matters of heaven, hell, god and those sorts of things. They were, after all, the experts. They had an in with God. They had married HIS SON. Even had a wedding ring to prove it. I ´m just an ordinary kid. We don’t even have a priest in the family. And I not really sure my parents take this holy stuff serious enough. There are no crosses hanging in our living room. The Bible, which has been sitting under the coffee table for the last hundred years, is more of a scrapbook than a holy book. It’s filled with death notices, wedding announcements, Stop and Shop coupons pictures of me and my brother as babies, and all sorts of things unrelated to god. We never read it. It just sits there like an unused draw in the kitchen collecting things. We dust it off when we need it and use it like a family encyclopaedia. On Sundays when we go to church, all the other kid’s parents are going to communion while mine are the only ones still sitting there. My mother is always forgetting to go to confession. And going to confession is a prerequisite for going to communion. You need a lawyer or a middleman to straighten out your stuff with God. She’s always making promises on the way home from church.

“Next week I’m going to get back to confession so I can get back to communion.” I sit next to them praying for a miracle that no one will notice that they are the only parents sitting on the bench. As if God doesn’t want to put them in the big baseball game of life. Hoping that especially the nuns hadn’t noticed because that could mean trouble for me on Monday during Religion Class. When Communion is finally all over with, I feel the tension in me easing. In fact the whole church seems to be more relaxed. You bet they are. Because they know we’re in the home stretch now. Bottom of the ninth. Every body’s a winner. God one, human kind one. The umpire, I mean priest will bless us, and send us on our way out of the ballpark and into our secular lives. In a few years I can make it out of the minors and into the majors. Make my First Communion, marry God and save my whole family from their bad reputation. I can go to Confession every week, twice a week, every day and put. Draw all God’s attention on me so he can look other way in regards to the rest of my family.

I always loved being in the church. The priest on the altar getting to wear really cool cloths. Looking like an apostle. Speaking Latin, which no one understands. No one except my father. He had taken it at Classical High School. Had read Thomas von Aquin in Latin. Can make sense out of what’s going on. I tried to win points one time with my schoolteacher Sister Mary by telling her that my father could understand Latin. Translated the Mass for us. This only dug my grave deeper with her. “That can’t possible be true that means you are either lying which is a main sin or you are putting on airs which isn’t a main sin but none the less not something a good Catholic does how can your father an Italian immigrants son possible speak Latin? That means that once again Deborah YOU ARE LYING:” I was handed out my punishment for lying by being sent to the back of the room, ordered to stand there fifteen minutes with arms stretched out at my side, palms up of course, and think about what I was going to do to redeem my soul while I was of course saying a thousand Our Father’s which I was ordered to do but in secret was saying Hail Mary’s because there shorter and in my opinion more effective in getting Sister Mary to perhaps stop hating me for the child she thought I was which was mainly an Italian wet back with greasy blood in my veins which of course made me dishonest and a liar.
What does she know anyway?
I’ve never ever heard her speak Latin she just thinks my father’s a nobody she doesn’t even have the slightest who my father is or that he’s a Scientist and has his own research Lab down in Narragansett which I have bin to a million times and that he carries a briefcase filled with secret
documents to work everyday that he is in fact is a teacher just like her better than her because he teaches at the University. SHE DOESN’T KNOW A THING. And anyway she’s always falling asleep with her tongue hanging out of her mouth. And I’m doing penance for something I didn’t do. Again. Like always. But I do it with pride. I don’t even cry or flip out. Or tell her she’s wrong. Because my parents told me to respect the nuns. I don’t let the other kids think that it matters to me one way or the other that I’m there. I don’t care if I have to stand the rest of the day. I don’t let a sound come out of me. Don’t let my arms drop an inch. I just stand out my time and then sit down. As if nothing at all had happened.