He steps into the church and goes straight for the confessional, not daring to look at the image of Christ on the cross as he passes by him. They’re not on talking terms these days, exactly, him and God. Actually, no, that is not right. He’d tried talking to Him, but it seems that the connection had been… rather wobbly these days. Something else on the long list of stuff he has to atone for, he supposes.
The atmosphere in the confessional is heavy and he suddenly feels it’s hard for him to breathe. He’s not the claustrophobic type, but being there, under the eyes of God, has a strange effect on him. It’s very different to be on the giving side, he supposes. Not that listening to others sins is much easier, especially – no, he’s not going there. He cannot afford to dwell on the memory of a certain confession he listened to and he especially cannot afford to remember what happened after that. This is a place for telling your sins, not for making others in the process God damn it.
Blissfully, the curtain shifts, the sound interrupting his thoughts. Well, then. Might as well get over this, right? He muses. He takes a deep breath and releases it, slowly, hoping it would be enough to gather his courage. It’s not.
“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” he begins. “It’s been… too long since my last confession, actually.”
“Tell me your sins, child,” the priest tells him. There’s something comforting in his voice, and the young man takes all the solace he can get in that.
“There is a woman,” he sighs. No, that’s not right. “There was a woman,” he amends. Though that in itself is a bit of a lie. Just because they broke up it doesn’t mean he doesn’t remember her every day, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t spend his days thinking about her and her stupid face and her stupidly soft lips. It doesn’t mean he sometimes imagines her sitting in the first row at his sermons, the beginning of a small smile on her lips as she looks him up and down, probably undressing him with her eyes in the process.
He expects the priest to tell him it’s ok, that God will forgive that as long as he repents, or to be chastised for it. Frankly, a very dark part of him wishes he would get yelled at for this. He knows that won’t happen, that it will be all smiles and promises of forgiveness. After all, judging is not in the job description. When the priest opens his mouth, however, he suddenly wishes the earth would split in half and eat him right there. Because he doesn’t do any of that.
“Do you still love her?” the priest asks, and the younger man cannot do anything besides screaming “YES” from the bottom of his lungs before he breaks down in sobs.
“What’s she like?” the priest asks, his voice understanding, and that makes him smile despite himself.
“A mess, really,” he says with an incredulous laugh. “Almost as big of a mess as I am, really. But she’s also funny and fearless and when she loves someone – he stops a bit at that, feeling his heart go heavy – when she loves someone, she gives them everything. And yes, that sometimes means she steals for them and lies for them and generally does a lot of bad things for them. But I still find it insanely attractive. She deserves someone who could do the same for her, who could tell everyone who hurts her to go fuck themselves, no matter who they are.”
“And you couldn’t do that.” It’s not a question. He still answers it.
“Especially God,” the priest says through gritted teeth. He doesn’t know the full extent of it, but he knows He had thrown some shit her way. Her mother, her mess of a family, and whatever the fuck had gone between her and her best friend.
“So if you could tell God one thing, what would it be?” the priest sounds amused now, but it is one-sided. Still, the answer he gets is most certainly not what he expects.
“Fuck YOU for creating that and expecting me to choose You in the end.” he says and closes his eyes, half expecting a bolt of lightning to hit him. It doesn’t come, though, and really, he shouldn’t be surprised. He had done worse things in churches and somehow had got away with those after all.
“Fuck you for failing to recognize temptation when it is sent your way and especially fuck you for continuing to sin while having the audacity to think you chose me over her.”
“What?” the young man stutters and he can picture the priest smiling slyly at him from behind the curtain.
“I am supposed to be the embodiment of God in this scenario, in case you forgot how this works,” he says simply. “And honestly? I think this is what God would tell you.”
“I’m pretty sure-“
“No no no, hear me out here. You claim to have chosen Him. But you didn’t. You chose to live a lie and you chose to hope that it will pass. But that’s working like shit these days, isn’t it? So you act like a petty housewife that chose love over her career and you blame Him for that when really it’s your choice.”
“I kinda chose Him instead of love, though,” he says meekly and hates himself for how remorseful he sounds at the moment.
“Yeah and that worked so well for you,” the priest laughs at him. “Listen, son. God doesn’t want you to be with him if that means lying to your heart. He only wants you to be happy, alright? And to live in His light, and well if His Light happens to be near a potty-mouthed café owner, well. His design is weird like that sometimes, alright?”
“How do you-“ he begins asking, but the voice from behind the curtain cuts him off.
“Kneel,” the priest says, and the young man falls on his knees, expecting to hear his penance.
“Be true to your heart,” the priest says, his voice almost commanding, and the young man shakes his head with incredulity. “But that would mean-“
“Did I fucking stutter?” the priest asks, and the young man bursts in laughter despite himself. He makes a mental note to not let her anywhere this priest ever. He knows her type and there can only be room for one foul-mouthed (ex?) priest in her life.
When he leaves the church, he has the stupidest grin plastered all over his face. Yes, they could burn in hell for this - there is a part of him that still fears that. But they could also end up having their best lives together, and in the end? Why believe in something awful when he could believe in something wonderful? He’s so far gone off in his daydreaming that he doesn’t bother looking back as he exits the door. Had he done that, he would have seen a fox exiting the confessional. Only this time, it doesn't follow him. Instead, it looks up at the Heavens, a sly grin on its face. "See? Told you this would work way better than throwing paintings at them."