AFTER LAUDS. | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Short Story - Religous Bookmark and Share


Moving from the church after Lauds to the cloister Sister Lucia walks at the required pace taking in the statue of Our Lady with the flowers in the clay pots around the base the Child Jesus in her arms the flowers fresh the scent reaching up to her nose the memory of the Christ hanging from the crucifix with one arm in her parentís room at home the arm broken off at the elbow her mother claiming that father did it in one of his rages threw across the room† she had said and the Sacred Heart of Jesus high on the wall of the room with the eyes of the Crucified staring down at her making her feel the sense of sin as a child and her mother pulling her before it and making her kneel down with the small rosary and recite the sorrowful mysteries over and over until the finger and thumb were raw and passing now she lets her fingers touch the top of the wall of the cloister garth the roughness the fingers sensing the brickís the roughness and looking up seeing the mulberry tree in the corner of the cloister noticing the early morning birds the birdsong the wind moving branches and remembering the first time she had seen the square area of sky of the cloister gazing up with the stars and moon like a framed picture that first time visiting the convent and Sister Josephine saying that is our piece of Heaven and keeping those words close to her heart she ascends the stairs to her cell( our cell Sister James had said years back the nun has no personal property her vow of poverty forbids it) and climbing the stairs she notices a dead butterfly on the window ledge a Red Admiral laying there lifeless the colours still held and looking up saw the cobweb hanging from the corner and knowing that Mother Abbess if she saw it would be unhappy and so taking a few moments wipes it away with a brush of her hand and rubs her hands together to clear away the dead matter and the taking in the air waiting for a few moments to gather thoughts she remembers the time she had to climb the stairs back and forth as a novice after Sister Lawrence had see her run down to get to Lauds on time and made her ascend and descend three times until she had learnt the rule about walking never to run never to rush and pushing the memory aside she walks up to the landing and makes her way along the passage way to her cell door which she opens and enters in closing the door behind her and leaning her back against it feeling the hard wood touching her backbone the flesh feeling the hardness through the black serge cloth and turning her eyes she sees the crucifix on the wall above the bed and the bed made neat and precise the pillow positioned exact the bedside cabinet containing her prayer book her notebook for faults the chamber pot for nights the small lamp and across the room the window where morning light was beginning to show and the shutters pushed back and the sky becoming lighter and to the right of that the table and bowl and water jug and the white towel and soap and the water cold and the soap almost scentless and walking away from the door she picks up her bible and sits at the desk on the chair opening the book and allowing her eyes to scan the pages taking in the text finding the right passages Lectio Divina Sister James had said that first day in the convent passing her the bible showing her pages and bringing her the Rule of St Benedict and the nunís fingers so thin and so white turning the pages the hand holding so gently carefully and allowing the memory to drift off she looks up to the painting on the wall above the bookcase the Sacred Heart of Jesus the hand bent slightly the finger pointing to the heart surrounded by thorns the look in the eyes gazing the eyes of the Crucified the look the hurt there the pain sensed the agony felt and she recalls the picture in her parentís room her knees aching where her mother had forced her to kneel to recite the sorrowful mysteries over and over and closing her eyes she senses her motherís ghostly hand on her shoulder sensing shivers down her spine hearing the whispering voice about her shoulder the warm breath the memory of her motherís last days and painful drawn out death.†

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