I didn’t exactly go home right after school. So when I spotted him in his unbuttoned jean oxford shirt over a plain white tee, rubbing his hands together and blowing warm breaths on them, I looked at him sympathetically. I trudged on forward, hunched over. I watched as he greeted me with lips pressed together and head tilted.
My expression didn’t look all too good as he reflected it right back. Naturally, I took the seat beside him. We sat on the steps of my porch, staring at the setting sun.
“Why don’t you wear your jacket?” I turned to the article resting on the top step.
He shrugged and picked it up. I felt it wrap around me. “It’s okay,” he exhaled. I choked a squeal—it was an audible sigh that I hadn’t meant to make. He turned to me and I could feel his eyes boring a hole right through me. “It’s okay that you like him,” he gestured towards Robert, who I hadn’t seen standing on the sidewalk. Robert was just idly standing, looking right at us.
Then I knew, the wind, no matter how strongly I felt it or loudly I heard it, wasn’t real. I waved my hand over the image of Robert.
“Stop it,” I mumbled, but there was no one there to listen. I was alone.
In the dreams I often had, this boy with a gentle touch and cautious steps always listened to what I had to say. No matter how ridiculous my problems became, or how childish I sounded, he never failed to listen to every word. He took them all with full sincerity. In return, I kept dreaming.
But everyone, no matter who will leave in the end.
I first met Father Peter at the church, two crosswalks from my home back in California., where I often went for my tri-monthly confession. For a week, he visited and served the confessional box.
At the time, I’d just finished my first year in art school. I’d be twenty-two. I came and went from home to school, driven by my dad, Tom. My schedule consisted of waking up every day at six in the morning and my day would last until around twelve hours after. Sometimes, on a good day, I would end at three in the afternoon. I never had enough time to fix my hair but I tried hard to brush it every day, otherwise, I’d be teased about it (not by classmates). I made casual acquaintances. They admired my art and I admired theirs. I tried to fit in but all I had were memories. I wasn’t like them.
I didn’t spend my days with eyes glued down on my art table. I didn’t even have my art table set up until my third quarter. I wasn’t traditionally trained. Everything I was… well it was pure talent. There was no hard work put into being me but those surrounding me talked of endless hours of practice and enjoying that time. They chose work over sleep. I didn’t have that time. I had three art classes in high school that I spent about five hours on including the hour of class time. I chose sleep.
When I had my studio art class in my senior high school year, none of it had been enjoyable.
Art school wasn’t as fun as I had anticipated it to be. The hype lasted two-quarters, maybe one. The novelty of being in a prestigious private academy disappeared in a mere four weeks. Instead, I was left with three and half more empty years and a debt I’d later regret.
So, my confession to Father Peter started as thus…
“Father, forgive me for I have sinned.” I took a deep nervous breath. “It has been more than six months since I’ve last confessed.” What would he think of me?
I heard him hum in contemplation. “It’s been a long time, then.” His voice felt like air.
“Yes, it has. I’ve been very confused lately, father. I don’t know what to believe.”
We talked for a long time with a screen between the two of us. I couldn’t see his face and he thankfully couldn’t see mine. I’m not entirely sure what led me to tell him the entire truth but it’s what led him to tell me all about the Maison. He let me cry and reassured me like a real father would.
Though our conversation was mostly
The rest of the chapter can be read in Wattpad. Chapter three to come next month here on my site.