Sister Scholastica sipped the wine from the glass on refectory table. Tongue tipped; felt the juice; remembered past and time; the taste rinsed down. Held the glass; peered at the distorted images; the sunlight from the high windows sparkled. Turned the glass; saw the faces of her sisters like distant images in some crazy dream. She sighed. The wine seeped. She sipped more. The tongue licked though the red sea of sensations. The cheeks held; the tongue swam in the juices. Fruit if the vine; the Crucified’s blood; the mass long gone; the day aged. She lowered the glass on to the table; looked at her hand; saw its paleness; the nails clipped just so; the fingers thin and worn. If only father had not chastised so harshly, not touched so. Memories will rise, she mused sadly, and wine does its work. The light lingered in the high windows; sprinkled down small traces upon tables and floor and the heads of nuns. The last taste of custard and apple lingered on the tongue. The wine warmed. The nuns sat waiting; their heads turned towards the Abbess’s table. Sister Scholastica gazed at them; at their expectations; at their holy hopes and dreamed; the way their heads were inclined, the hands hidden from sight beneath their habits black as crows. The abbess raised her small glass; tapped the table; all rose; crossed themselves; mumbled prayers of grace and thanksgiving. Sister Scholastica walked in line behind those who were her seniors; spotted the food-stained habit of one who moved old lips over old tongue. Pity such. Loved long ago by someone maybe. Some one’s child. Someone’s sister. Someone’s lover maybe, she mused, looking at the old hands and nose. Out in the cloister, the sun touched; a slight breeze felt her arm; childlike she smiled. She walked to the low wall; peered at the garden; the flowers spread along the borders. If only Francis had been more aware of her feelings, had loved her more deeply and not just for the sex and the touching and such. She moved her fingers over the wall; sensed the rough brickwork; the sensations triggered memories that tickled and pleased once. Her mother swept in and out of madness like one on a swing. Her hair dark brown and wild. Her eyes stared and stared as if a thousand faces haunted her night and day. Please speak to me mother, she had pleaded as a child. She had tugged at the black dress her mother wore day in day out. Madness leaped from her eyes like tigers. The light from the sun touched her face; the memories slid away along by the flowers and the buzzing bees and butterflies. Monday. She hated Mondays. Her other had been taken off screaming on a Monday; she and Francis last copulated on what he termed Blue Monday. Years now. She sighed. Crossed herself as a bell rang. Walked off out of the sun; away from the birds and bees and butterfly wings. Saved.