A glass of communion wine
I feel the pull of the earth, the polish of the grass. Meandering between the simple gravestones, I am close to those who have served their time, gathered wisdom and earned their rest. I am ready to share their secrets, complete the tasks they failed to finish and reap the reward.
It is seven years since I left, following an argument with my father. Replaying that parting scene in my mind I appreciate that we were equally to blame. He pig-headed and I believing I knew all the answers. Neither of us was right, but having a bucketful of his genes, I was unprepared to take a step back and he was unwilling to move forward.
My mother tried to reconcile us, but soon gave up. ‘I should bang your heads together,’ she told us, but knew it would achieve nothing. So I went on my way and Dad continued to operate as he had always done, preaching, conducting marriages and funerals, earning a meagre living.
Mother was hanging out washing when I arrived at the back of the house. She didn’t pause. ‘He clung on as long as he could, was sure you’d come. He wanted to say goodbye.’
‘I’m sorry. I was up river and only got the message three days ago.’
‘He was proud of you. He never had the courage to work as a missionary. Always said I was the reason, but I would have gone anywhere with him.’
She still failed to look at me, yet my face reddened as I said. ‘The Bishop’s asked me to take over.’
Raising her head, she asked. ‘Are you going to?’
‘I’d be honoured.’
‘Will you come and live here?’
‘If that’s all right?’
‘Are you on your own?’
‘I’d be happy if you would. You may not be alone for long though, there are one or two presentable young ladies who regularly attend services.’
A glance at my expression confirmed what she had always thought.
About the author
This is Roger’s 110 th piece to be accepted for Cafe Lit. Chapeltown Books recently published his book, Slimline Tales.