“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

“Amen. Bless you, child.” It is her. I could have recognized that voice anywhere.

“Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It has been one month since my last confession.”

“Tell me your sins.”

“First, forgive me Father, for I wished bad things on little Ashley who was fidgeting with my hair all the time . . .” and she goes on and on. Whatever she says is a blur. You know, like when you listen to music and are too zoned out to follow the lyrics?

How can she of all people sin? She is, as Oscar Wilde put it, ‘the visible personification of absolute perfection’ - her beauty, her eyes, her smile, the way her lips move, everything is resonant with perfection. She even comes to church every evening, and for every Sunday morning mass. She prays dutifully, like a devout Christian ought to. She is the best student in her college - people call her the next Einstein. I have seen parents wishing their daughters were like her. She is so perfect that you can’t help but love her - and I am no exception to this.

I stretch my head a little to have a look at her through the partition in the confession chamber. How cute she looks - head bowed down, dupatta draped around her head. I could keep looking at her all day.

She’s what - eighteen? Nineteen? That’s just ten-eleven years younger. My father is fifteen years elder to my mother, this much is fine. And it isn’t my fault that I was pulled into all the false hopes those catechism classes gave me. “It is an opportunity to serve the people,” they said. Oh, shut up. We’re nothing for these people. They only call us to share their extreme emotions of delight and sorrow. In their normal day-to-day lives, we’re nothing more than a speck of dust in their scheme of things.

I think I was just too naive then. I didn’t realize that attraction was an inevitable law of nature. I was a late bloomer - my hormones weren’t active and they hadn’t engulfed every single decision of mine as they do now. How I’ve gotten stuck on this one-way street! Don’t swear, don’t go out and party, don’t fall in love, abstain from sex - when all of my college friends are doing just the same. What does the Bishop even think of himself? But anyway, it’s not like he has a choice really. He’s just doing what he’s been told.

But no, I can deal with the Bishop later. The world is growing more and more tolerant - hell, even the Pope supports homosexuality now! If I confess my love for her and we get together, I am sure people will understand. Who gives a damn about the Bishop if all the people are on my side? It’s strength in numbers after all, as they say. The next generation does not even believe in religious dogma.

Enough is enough, today is the day I say it to her. Today is the day the Father makes his own Confession.

“And lastly, forgive me, Father, for I had sexual intercourse out of wedlock two times. For these and all the sins in my life, I’m sorry.,” she ends.

What? What did I just hear? Sexual intercourse out of wedlock? Does that mean she loves the boy? Who is the boy? How old is he? Does he love her back? Is he Christian?

None of my previous thoughts matter when I hear myself saying, “Five Lord’s prayers and five Hail Mary’s. May God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you of your sins. May the grace of God be with you, child. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

“Amen, Father. Thank you.” she says, and turns to go.

I just watch her walk away. There is so much I want to say, but this is not to be. Maybe this was never ought to be. Maybe I’m destined to let my hormones control themselves, you know, like they say, ‘keep it in my pants.’

Ah, forget it, all this is just destiny. It’s all just God’s wish.