He wouldn’t have being the first, and rather doubtful he’ll be the last. Many had chosen this hiding place. It was a respectable hiding place, At least in the view of the older people. The true believers. Yeah,those ones with the blinds pulled firmly down in front of there eyes. It wasn’t like it was a prison sentence, although to some it wasn’t far from it. No women. Not much alcohol. A false front, of caring, compassion, and interest in others. But what happens behind the doors of a religious order, never has to reach the knowledge of the outsiders.
As he lay in front of the Bishop, on the altar. He and the three other victims, or should I say cowards. Well he and the other men running away and hiding from life. From themselves. Their friends and families in the Church looked on with pride. What an honour to have a family member in the priesthood. Surely that would ease the passage of all associated with the new religious entrant into heaven. Hardly going to work against them.
As Thomas lay on the altar, while the bishop conducted the very long, drawn out ceremony. Thomas with his arms outstretched to his sides, and his face down in the red carpet. Striving to cope with the current discomfort. The coldness of the Church. The hardness of the ground he was laying on. He reflected on what had brought him to this situation. To this choice. Was it really the only choice he had. Could he yet run from the scene before it was too late. Before he was inducted into the priesthood.
That Certainly Would Be Unheard Of, And A Total Unforgivable Scandal In 1930’s Ireland. His Mind Turned To Her. She Was Never Far His Mind Now. The Forbidden Love. She Was Older, A Lot More Mature Than Her Fourteen Years. In Looks, Manner, And Outlook. But It Could Never Be. Not Now, Not Ever, He Told Himself, Many Many Times, As He Twisted And Turned alone in his bed at night.
But The Deep Feelings Of Love, Or Was It Just Lust, He Wondered, Were Impossible To Hide From Himself. True Yes She Was The First Female To Show Any Real Feelings Of Warmth Towards Him. But He Had Heard Of How Many Young School Girls Fall In Love With There Teachers, But Very Seldom Would They Fall In Love With A Guard. Solid,Upstanding,Member Of The Community. This Was One Secret He Knew He Could Never Let See The Light Of Day.
His Mind Travelled Back, How On That Sunny Day, As They Walked Along The Clifftop, Alone And Out Of Sight Of Others. That’s The Way It Had To Be. She Spoke Of Her Wishes For The Future. How Happy She Was, The Prospect Of A Family With Him, A Long Life Ahead Of Them.
She Reached For His Hand. He Hesitated, And Suggested Instead, She Loop Her Arm Through His.
’It Will Look More Innocent’,
She Smiled And Laughed In Response. As They Continued To Walk Along The Cliff Top In The Warm Sunshine. Valuing Their Time Alone Together. He Teased And Chided Her For Missing Out On School To Spend Time With Him. She Laughed At His Mock Teasing, And Ran When He Chased Her In Jest. Catching Up To Her, She Turned And Softly Put Her Arms Around His Neck And Kissed Him Gently On The Lips.
He Turned Back Towards The Clifftop Path. Feeling He Was Being Watched, And To His Utter Disbelief He Saw, The One And Only, Mrs Delia Murphy. Who Was Better Known As The Local Town Gossip. Standing And Watching Them. With Her Long Three Quarter Way Coat, And Large Handbag, Dangling From Her Arm. A Small Hat Upon Her Head. She Had Never Married, And Had Taken Her Bitterness About That Situation Out On The World, On The Village By Spreading Scandal And Rumour. Overly Exaggerating Half Truths , About Anyone She Chose Too In The Village.
She Very Much Fitted The Image Of A Bitter, Aging Spinster. With A Large Physical Frame, Hair Always Tied Tightly In A Bun, In An Angry Manner. A Plain, Always Stern Face, And Less Than Pleasant Demeanour. She Eyed The Scene Of Thomas And The Young Girl, And Her Mouth Dropped Open In Shock, Consternation, And Some Envy. But She Also Smiled, Because She Certainly Had Some Scandal To Spread In The Village Now. She Hurried Along The Clifftop Walk Towards The Village.
‘Mrs Murphy’, Thomas Called After Her, Releasing Sinead’s Arms From Around His Neck, As He Followed In The Footsteps Of Mrs Murphy’s.
‘i It’s Not What It Looks Like’, He Pleaded.
She Have Turned To Face Him,
‘Get Away From Me Guard Thomas Brennan, I Know What I Saw, And Soon Everybody Else Will Too…..’
Her Face A Picture Of Triumph, Joy, But Also Envy, As She Again Hurried Along The Path Towards The Village, With Her Self Righteous, Indigent Walk. He Knew It Was Pointless To Reason And Argue With Her. He Returned To Sinead Where She Stood By The Cliff Top Edge.
‘Now Do You See What You’ve Done’, He Voice Raised, And Face Reddened. ’You Know We Have To Hide Away From People. You Know Who That Was ?’
.‘Yes, I Know’. What Can We Do ?’
‘I Don’t Know What We Can Do, But We Have To Stop Seeing Each Other, For One. You Will Just Have To Find Someone Your Own Age, We Cannot Carry Any More’.
With That Sinead’s Face Reddened, And She Hung Her Head. Thomas Reached Out To Touch Her Hand, But She Pulled Away. He Reached Out Again, Again She Pulled Away And Ran. Her Tears Blinding Her View.
The More He Moved After Her, The Faster She Ran, In A Disoriented Manner. He Watched, As If In Slow Motion, As She Got To The Cliff Top Edge. He Looked At The Clear Blue Sky, And Asked God For Help. God Didn’t Answer. He Watched Her Eyes Widen, And Her Lips Parted To Scream, But No Sound Came Out. He watched in the silence, As She Moved Forward Into The Clear Blue Sky. He Ran To The Cliff Top Edge, But It Was Too Late. He Didn’t Want To Look, But Forced Himself. A Quick Glance At Her Broken Body, Lying Bent And Misshapen On The Rocks Below.
As He Lay Prostrate On The Floor In Front Of The Bishop, Again He Thought Of Her. She Would It Seems Never Ever Be Far From His Mind And Soul……