Sunday, January 18, 2009

Confessing My Sins

At some point in time (1974?), my mother enrolled me and my sister PJ in CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) classes at St. Therese. They were held every Wednesday evening and at one point in time, they almost cut into my favorite new show – Happy Days.

Selsa Couch also enrolled Ericka in CCD and between the two of them, they coordinated the pick up and drop off of the three of us to the classes.

During second grade, Ericka and I went through some special preparation which led up to two events – First Communion (and more on this later) and The Sacrament of Penance. I was puzzled by the latter. The idea was to confess our sins and to be freed from them while at the same time, seeking mercy and forgiveness from God. There were categories of sins and ways in which people showed that they were sorry for them.

My very first time was a bit scary and intimidating. In the multi-purpose room (in the St. Therese school/church building), they set up the confessional – um – I guess box? It was dark brown – one side was where the priest sat – cloaked in privacy and the other side was where the confessor sat. In between us was a wooden, sliding window. It was to be pulled open when the confessor was ready to begin.

I thought long and hard about what to confess and amazingly – I had to really stretch the “bad” things because I truly was a good kid. Seriously!

I remember telling Father Frank that I had been mean to my sister Patty (I left out the part that she provoked me – the little brat that she was), I thought mean things about my mom and dad, and I had told 2 lies to friends (okay – those were white lies because Colleen Wooden had asked me if I liked the way she cut her Barbie’s hair and I said sure – I didn’t want to hurt her feelings).

Ericka went right before me so when I was finished, I joined her in the church, with my rosary to say the prayers assigned to me (10 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Mary’s). Although we were being watched closely by our CCD teachers, we compared our punishment through a pre-designated sign language system. Fancy that we both received the same number of prayers!

After it was all over, and we were waiting for Selsa to pick us up, Ericka dropped the bombshell on me that she would probably be moving at the end of the school year. It seems that her dad Larry was moving up in the world so they were going to move into a big ole house far away from me.

I was stunned and said nothing.

As we were running down the sidewalk to meet her mom’s car, I tripped and fell, cutting up my calf and knee pretty badly. I accused Ericka of tripping me and truth be told – I’m not sure if she did (accidentally) or if my clumsy self with my big feet, tripped over something like an indentation in the pavement. We were horsing around as we were running so either could have been the case. I sobbed – almost hysterically. Sure, there was lots of blood and crappy gravel-ish stuff in my knee but looking back, I think the tears were really about me losing my best friend. She had been my “constant” for three years. I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. But I never told anybody that (until now).

The next day, Ericka came over to my house and delivered to me a "get well" plant along with a handwritten note about how sorry she was for tripping me. I couldn’t even look at her. While looking at the ground, I accepted her gift and then went back to the dinner table to eat.

My mom was impressed with Ericka’s gesture. I kept silent during the entire meal. Everything tasted like paper but I knew that if I didn’t eat, it would draw attention to myself and I would be subjected to questioning. I ate. Kept quiet and took the pain to bed with me.

Me and Ericka never talked about the accidental tripping situation again nor did we have any discussions about the move. When we were together, we just didn’t talk about that. Selsa would give my mom details and my mom would mention things to me. But me and Ericka – nope – we never talked about her moving.

And it happened. She moved to a big ole fancy house on Hadley Road. And another chapter in our relationship began.


colz said...

are you still in touch?