Synaesthesia Magazine Seven Deadly Sins - Page 14

repeated:“Where’s my brave boy?”

Tom smelt the sweet, sugary tea and felt calmer. He sat up, straightened out his pyjamas and took the mug with both hands.

“There he is,” she whispered. Tom sipped the tea and hoped he’d not made his mother too cross.

*

The Church was different. Even the songs were different. At the old Church Tom liked Be Thou My Vision and Water Of Life and O Come, All Ye Faithful. The organist didn’t play any of these songs, and his mother told him he wasn’t allowed to ask. The windows weren’t as bright either. He kept looking at his mother’s face for rainbows but her skin looked grey as stone. Everyone’s face looked grey as stone.

At the end of the service, Tom’s mother kept him in the pew after everyone had left.

“Do you know what you’re going to do now, little heart?” she said, and Tom didn’t know. All he knew was that his mother’s voice wasn’t as warm as it usually was, which made him scrunch his eyes up for a moment.

“We’re not going home?”

“Not yet, first you have to go and see the Priest.” She bit her lip.

“Why do I have to see the Priest? I haven’t done that before.” Tom began to feel jittery again.

“Because you’re growing up. Because grown ups get to see the Priest, and talk to Jesus.”

All of a sudden Tom got excited again. Jesus was the big armed, honey eyed, superhero who adorned the wall of his old Church. He loved Jesus. He always wanted to talk to him.

“I’m really allowed? I’m big enough?”

“Of course you are, little heart, of course you are. You go into that little box at the top of the room and the Priest will ask you what bad thing you’ve done this week, and you’ll tell Jesus and then Jesus will forgive you, because he loves you, little heart... and I, I love you.” Tom’s mother got a lump in her throat.

“Have I done a bad thing?” Tom remembered his sulk that morning, and how he tried to trick his mother into letting him stay in bed. He also remembered trapping that moth in the cup, and thought maybe that had frightened the moth, and he couldn’t remember if he’d made his little brother feel bad for being scared. He also remembered not finishing his broccoli the night before last. He said it was because he was full, but that was a lie, and he knew lying was a sin.

Tom’s mother stared up at the brown box at the top of the room and down at Tom. She thought of picking him up and putting him over her shoulder, leaving the Church and never going back. She thought of telling him it was okay to want to stay in bed on a Sunday, and that she didn’t like broccoli either, and that he was brave for helping his little brother. She thought about telling him, but she didn’t know how to. Instead, she said something that made Tom feel heavy and sad, and made him scrunch up his eyes even harder than he had before.

“Everyone does bad things, little heart, even if they don’t mean to at the time.”

Holding his mother’s hand on the way to talk to Jesus, Tom worried about what other bad things he’d done that week, and the week before. His mother had never felt more sick.

*

Tom sat in the box and felt cold. The Jesus he was told to talk to wasn’t the same Jesus from the old Church. This Jesus didn’t make him feel warm or happy or safe at all. This Jesus made him feel scared. The Priest spoke from the other side of the box and it took Tom by surprise.

“Hello Tom, I’m Father Michael.” His voice was muffled slightly.

“How do you know my name?”

“Jesus told me, Tom. He’s very pleased to meet you finally, are you pleased to meet him?”

Tom said nothing.

“Is there anything you’d like to tell Jesus, Tom?”