Here’s the next instalment so far. Click on the link above to read the story so far
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Given am not working and have no interests, really, told Paddy would help him out at his work. Paddy is a carpenter. Most of it boring joinery work but Paddy talented man. Carves wood beautifully. Most precious thing I own in the world is a wooden box carved out by Paddy, top of which inlaid with ornate roses. Paddy very good with furniture. One of a kind table and chairs and such like. Have tried to convince him over the years that he should have furniture store. Could sell pieces for thousands. Paddy scared, though. Not willing to take that step. Understand completely but shits me to tears, really. Have no talent myself so am envious and feel is bit of a waste to do nothing with it.
Should have asked Paddy where he was working before tagging along. Rookie mistake, really. Pulled up ute to church. Catholic church.
‘Yes, Jesus Christ. Now don’t blaspheme when we’re in there, for Pete’s sake.’
‘Will burn if walk in there, Paddy,’ I told him. Had already begun to break out in sweats. ‘Not so good when you’re working with wood.’
‘Don’t be childish.’ Paddy already out of cab. Walking toward front doors. Had keys!
‘They give you keys?’ I yell out at him.
‘Of course they’ve given me keys. Have to do work, don’t I?’ Paddy coming back to start unloading shirting boards from ute.
Cripes alive. Am only atheist in entire family of devout Irish Catholics. Mum and Dad very devout which is why they and my other brothers don’t speak to me. This religious organisation and its fear and its rules is what fractured my life and family. Paddy devout, yes. Goes to mass every Sunday. Yet Paddy open-minded man and has the very strong belief that God is above all laws and restrictions of any religious organisation. Believes that God would and has forgiven me. That God understands. That I shouldn’t shut him out simply because a large majority of the church believe me to be wrong. But cannot accept that. Cannot have belief in something that has allowed such misery in my life. Paddy says it’s a test. I say a loving God would not test his faithful. Paddy and I agree to disagree on this subject. His faith has grounded him and helps him. He doesn’t have a go at me for turning my back on God. If I think about it, I guess Paddy acts in the way that Jesus did. Forgiving and loving to all. Trouble is, most of God’s people are unforgiving, judgmental and generally vicious. In other words; hateful. Is unbelievable paradox, no?
When Paddy and I walk through Church doors carrying long planks of wood – skirting boards – I didn’t immediately combust. Paddy made me stop while he crossed himself with holy water.
‘Are you going to do that every time we walk in?’ I asked. Would be a long day if that is the case.
‘No, you eejit,’ Paddy said. Being of Irish parentage we have always pronounced idiot the Irish way – eejit. Still. Is idiot or its Irish translation something you’re allowed to say inside a church?
Once we unloaded all the skirting boards we brought in Paddy’s tools. I was to help by handing him things. Like nurse and doctor in surgery. Instead of scalpel (‘scalpel’) it was hammer (‘hammer’) and such like.
‘Should this not be blessed or some shit before pulling it in?’ I wondered. Catholics like to bless everything. New homes when you move in, new cars, new babies.
‘Father Michael already did it back at the workshop,’ Paddy said.
‘Who the heck’s Father Michael? Thought priest here was Father Boog or some shit.’
Paddy shook his head. ‘I told you we’ve a new priest, Den. You never listen. He’s a nice bloke, too. You’d like him.’
Hate when people like that. You’ll like him, you’ll like her, when I’ve never even met them. Told Paddy so. ‘And besides,’ I continued, ‘you can’t judge a bloke you’ve only seen up on the pulpit.’
Paddy’s eye-rolling almost caused him to lose a thumb – not watching where his hammer was going. ‘See him outside of Church, Denni.’
‘Drinks at pub.’
‘He allowed to go to pub them?’
‘Cripes, Den. He’s Catholic, not Muslim. Yes, he goes to pub. And we play golf together. But he’s too good. Am going to have to stop playing with him. Was thinking, actually, that we should have him ’round for dinner.’
‘We will not.’ Was outraged.
‘He’s a bloke.’
‘He’s a priest. Am not having sold old dribbling man sitting in my house-‘
‘All right, your house, our home, telling me how to live my life-‘
‘He’d never do that.’
‘He would. Is his job as a priest to tell others how to live their life.’
‘Well Michael wouldn’t. And he’s not old and dribbling. Not that it matters.’
No use trying to argue with Paddy when he’s angry, and could see the anger starting to creep in. Ears go red. Nothing else, just the ears. Lucky bastard. With me is whole face.
Quite uneasy being in the church. Jesus eyes. Watching me everywhere. Judging me. Swear they move, really. Weird being back in a church, mind. Yes, brought back memories, and yes, some of them were quite nice. Scent of incense took me back to childhood, particularly Christmas and midnight mass. Only time of the year we’d be allowed to stay up so late. We’d all squeeze into the church, for once there’d be no arguments as Mum and Dad never dared to whilst in God’s house. Afterwards we’d drive home, past all the houses with their Christmas lights still on, and Paddy and I’d be searching the skies for Santa. Good memories. Nice memories. The whole of childhood should be like that, really. Not just one day a year.
Paddy had finished one side of the church when heard door open and close in vestibule. Heard voice call out, ‘Have brought you beer, Paddy. Thought you’d be thirsty.’
Cripes alive. Was priest. Father Michael. Paddy all; oh good, you can meet him. I all; fuck, no, bye, bye. Did not want situation where was standing face to face with priest in church with him wondering why had never been to church. Far too uncomfortable. Ran. Yes, ran. Is running in church sacrilegious? Just another sin, I guess.
Not to know. Anyhow, got right bollocking from Paddy when he got home.