BEFORE PRIME. | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Short Story - Introspective Bookmark and Share


Sister Pius can still sense the taste of coffee on her tongue from breakfast with the slice of brown bread with a thin spread of butter as she turns over the page of the book on contemplation written by some unknown Carthusian nun the words momentarily failing to reach her the message left on the page the thought of the next meal already making her mouth moisten and the smell of fresh made coffee tempting her nose bringing to mind the first time she had come to the convent as a guest and young girl full of enthusiasm for the idea of being a nun much to her parentís disquiet especially her mother who had wanted and been looking forward to grandchildren even though Eve as she was then had never been interested in boys or that side of things but her mother had said that would come she would find Mr Right and that side of things would come naturally implying Sister Pius muses now that being a nun was unnatural against nature and only the oddities in the world would want to be shut away from the world and men and their families and the prospect of marrying and having children and there had been the rows and the tempers frayed and the words said in haste and even on the day she entered her mother had not come around to the idea even if her father had accepted the fait accompli rather grudgingly and in all the years she had been in the convent her parents had not written once not a word just the one visit her father made looking at her as they spoke as if she had grown another head or caught a dreadful disease and had said her mother couldnít bring herself to visit the place her daughter had died in and those words hurt the way her father had just come out with them the place her daughter had died in and yet she had her secrets too the things she had never told her parents especially her mother never mentioned once that her Uncle Randolph her motherís brother had molested her one summer while she was staying with him and Aunt Grace while her parents were off on some tour of Europe and as she places her hand on the page of the book in front of her she can still feel his hands on her still sense his breath on her that smell of beer and tobacco and the roughness of his unshaven face as she leaned over her and as the memory returns again she closes the book with a small slam and the echo of it fills the room disturbs a paper on the table in front of her and the memory still fresh the deeds done so imbedded deeply that she doesnít think it will ever go that it will ever leave and she had not said a word about that summer to anyone not even her mother not even to make a point about what men could do even those who were supposed to be close to you and yet she never did never said one word about him and the things he had done and taking a deep sigh she gets up from the chair and walks to the window looking down on the cloister garth and the mulberry tree that is now full of fruit and can see birds in the branches and a nun walking along the cloister ready to pull the bell for the office of Prime and even now she dislikes the smell of apples the smell of them cooking or the smell of apples being stored because apples she associates with him and the place he took her and the things he did and it was apples she could smell as he touched her and interfered with her and the scent of apples in the air as he leaned over her and looking down again into the cloister the nun has gone and the early morning sun is coming over the cloister wall and the bell is being tolled for Prime and making the sign of the cross she pushes the memory of him and his deeds and that summer back into the depths of her mind closes the door on it in the room in her brainís memory cells and looking up at the Crucified on the wall above her bed with the features of the Christ battered by time and its hands she nods her head and looks away taking in her mind the image of Him and perhaps a sense of peace and the fact that she is a bride after all a bride of Christ married to one who would not molest or hurt or say cruel words or betray and where no smell of apples will spoil her day.

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