as i pulled open the heavy oak door, the smell of incense hit me quite strongly, the olfactory rush eliciting a succession of flashbacks from my youth. boom bang bam zip.
took my eyes a while to adjust, so i just stood there, motionless. inside the church was at least 20 degrees cooler that the balmy, humid summer heat outside. the church was empty, but i saw that the light was on above the confessional. i slinked over, and paused for a moment, before kneeling down inside.
clasping my hands, the window slides open. i clench my eyes closed and bow my head.
bless me father, for i have sinned.
i glance up, quickly. i can see him there, sitting. silently.
it has been [unintelligible muffling] since my last confession.
it took a lot of courage for me to come here, to this place from my youth, which feels so archaic, medieval almost. but i need to talk to someone, anyone about what i’m going through.
i just can’t shake the image out of my mind, that horrific sight. looking down at my feet, i feel shame. no—not shame—guilt. shame? guilt? i don’t know, how should i feel?
i wait a few moments for acknowledgement, but get none. so many thoughts percolating to the surface, second-guessing my guilt. i’m not the only person who’s sinned like this, i rationalize to myself. but, i know that what i’ve done is wrong… it doesn’t matter if everyone else does it. a crime is a crime, a sin is a sin.
he clears his throat.
father, i… well, i…
i stammer again. still no response from him, but i know he’s listening. waiting. waiting to judge me, to advise me, to force me to repent my sins. i wonder how many hail marys this one’s gonna cost me. i don’t care, really, as long as it absolves me of the shame i’m feeling, right here, right now.
i’ve made a horrible, mistake, father…
he murmurs something back, encouraging me to continue.
seconds go by, as i try to find the right words. tears start to well up in my eyes, and eventually the emotions overpower me. my shame is replaced with rage, rage for what i’ve allowed to happen. i open my mouth, and the words come booming out, echoing out of the confessional, into the expanse of the empty church:
i’m wearing white socks, father!
i collapse in a fit of tears, kneeling, huddled against the pew. clouds form over the church, thunder roars, and the heavens open. through my tears, i look down, and see them… laughing at me… two white hanes ankle socks. mocking me.
what has happened to me? how did it come to this?