Monday, December 29, 2008

Great Hites # 33

Great Hites 33
Confined to Shape By: Guy David
The Call From Home By: Jeff Hite free polls

Confined to Shape
By Guy Daivd

His concern lay in creating perfect squares. He didn't know why he liked making them, but he did, so he was intent on creating as many of them as possible. He made a profession out of it, making elaborate structures in virtual worlds made entirely of square shapes, keeping his elven avatar busy. It was amazing what you could create while confining yourself to a single shape. Putting restrictions on your creations can sometimes yield the most fascinating results.

His buildings where popular and greatly sought after, and when North Pole Computing Systems contacted him, he was sure he would get the job. The red man himself called him and ho-ho-hired him. With a job like that came prestige and reputation. They had a first meeting in-world, then a second meeting in the real world. The elven businessman showed him a prototype of what they wanted. He shivered. It was the shape of a tree made entirely out of triangles. It was the first time in his life he had a feeling he might be at the wrong profession. He had to cut his squares in half for them, mutilate them, but he did it. Bells run out and rang across the square as the new sim opened for Christmas.


The Call From Home

By Jeffrey Hite

Father Phillip sat in the confessional by himself. This was his normal Saturday duty, and he enjoyed the time to himself. However, it saddened him that so few people come to confession. The three regulars had already been there nearly an hour ago. Two that came to the booth behind the screen so that he could not see their faces, and one who sat in the chair across from him. He knew who they all were of course, even with the screen between them he knew them by voice.
Now he sat with his book in his lap and tried to concentrate on the pages in front of him, but the words seemed to come in and out of focus, as his mind wandered.
"Maybe prayer will help," he muttered. He had just started in on the rosary when he heard some one approaching, and got the beads back in his pocket just as the curtain moved.
"Good evening Father."
"Good evening." The woman who sat across from him, was strikingly beautiful. He realized he had been staring at her for a long time and finally asked, "Are you here for reconciliation?"
"Yes, is there still time?"
"Oh yes, please forgive me. I was lost in thought when you came in." She began her confession, and he absolved her of her sins, all the while trying not to look at her, because he was afraid he would get caught staring again.
"Yes," It had happened again. He had zoned out and she was still sitting there.
"Father, it's not my place to say anything but you seem rather distracted. You know you absolved me of the act of contrition?"
"Oh my, I'm so sorry. My mind is not in the right place. I don't, I..." He stammered.
"It is alright Father, shall we begin again?" Her smile was dazzling. He could not remember ever seeing her before.
"Yes, that would be wonderful."
"Wonderful? I have heard reconciliation called many things but wonderful is not normally used. Are you sure that you're okay?" He realized for the first time that she was wearing street clothes, but also the veil of a novice.
"I am very sorry sister. I am afraid that I am not up to hearing your confession after all. You see when you came in here, I was having trouble concentrating already, and then well."
"Well?" She prompted.
"I found myself distracted further. You are a very attractive young woman." She smiled and blushed slightly.
"Thank you, but I doubt that you are much older than I am, if at all."
"I'm sorry this is very inappropriate, you came here for reconciliation and here I am running on about my problems."
"That is alright father, we all need to talk to someone occasionally. I came here to get away as it was. I needed to talk to someone too, and the priest at the convent knows who I am."
"I understand I often go to another Parish for confession. Not that my sins are so grievous, just that I like the annanimity of it." She smiled again, and he felt himself warm inside. "Listen, I need to be here for about, fifteen more minutes, and if you wanted to just talk maybe we could talk over dinner. One of the other priests is celebrating Mass after this and," he paused hoping this was not completely inappropriate, "well, I could also use someone to talk too. And If you need to go to confession I can ask the Monsignor to hear it afterwords," he added almost as and after thought
"Are you sure it would be alright?"
"Which part of it."
"The Monsignor?"
"Oh yes, He won't mind I am sure of it. I will be going to him after dinner anyway, so that I am prepared for Mass the next day. He is expecting me, I don't think one extra person will hurt."
"Ok, I will wait for you out there." She smiled again and stepped out of the confessional.
No one else came in for the next fifteen minutes and he was glad of that because he was completely distracted now. The down side was that the seconds seem to crawl by. After fourteen agonizing minutes and thirty counted seconds he stood up, straighten his uniform and stepped from the confessional. As he did so he realized that he never left early. He had always waited the extra half hour until the Saturday evening Mass started, just in case. He wondered if he should stay. He wondered if the sister, he realized he didn't know her name, would wait a while longer for him. He looked up and saw her sitting near that back of the church waiting for him. Would she wait another half hour for him?
"Hi," she said as he walked up to her, "Are you ready to go?"
"I'm sorry," he said and watched her face fall, "officially confession is over now, but I normally wait until Mass is started in case..."
"I understand. I am very hungry, and I know there is an Italian place just about a mile from here."
"I guess, since."
"No Father, I am teasing you. Go, I can wait. It is not as if anyone is waiting on me."
"Thank you, I will see you after the procession."
"I will meet you, downstairs. It would not look right for a nun to be sneaking out of Mass."
"Too true," his cheeks warmed. "It is settled then, I will meet you downstairs." She got up and waved, and he walked back to the confessional.
It was the longest half our of his life. He was about to leave when once again the curtain moved.
"Oh Philip, I am so glad you are here." Said the out of breath parish pastor. "I was working on my homily and I lost track of time. I have not gone to confession yet today. Can you hear mine now?"
"Of course. But I must warn you I have not been very attentive today."
"Yes, I met Sister Susan as I was coming in she warned me that you were a bit distracted." The shared a laugh and he heard his confession, this time waiting until the end to absolve him of his sins.
When it was over he found Sister Susan waiting for him at one of the tables of the church basement, and she smiled as he approached.
"Are you ready to go this time?"
"I am. I am sorry to have kept you waiting."
"That's alright, If there is one thing that I understand as a novice, it is obligations." He smiled at that. He remembered his days in seminary, and how they drilled the idea of obligations into you. How everyone had obligations, but it was up to each of us to figure out what those obligations are and to live up to them."
"Alright, let's go I don't know about you, but I am starving and I love Italian."
They spent the next few hours over dinner, and had many lovely conversations. But, the feeling that he had of being lost when he was in he confessional was back.
The longer that talked the more confused about his life he became. The more he wondered where he was. The feeling of not being able to concentrate on what in his life was important. And he didn't know what to do about it. The one the thing that he did know, was that the longer that he talked with her, the stronger his feelings for her became. So that by the end of the evening, he was sure that if he had not dedicated his life to being a priest, he would want to marry her.
After dinner they walked back to the rectory. He felt a little strange leading a woman in to the rectory, but he was not about to leave her standing in the cold while he went and talked to the Monsignor.
"I will go in firs since he is expecting me, then I will explain the situation to him."
"That will be fine," she said smiling. "Phillip, I want you to know that I had a wonderful time," She said letting go of his hand. He had not even noticed that she had been holding it. It had felt so natural.
"Me too, maybe we can do it again some time."
"I hope so," she said and smiled that smile that made his heart melt.
He knocked on the door and stepped in. A few moments later he stepped out into the hallway again, "He said it would be alright," She stepped in, but when she came back out a few moments later, she was frowning.
"What is it?"
"He said he would like to talk to us. And he didn't seem to be happy." She turned around and lead the way back into the Monsignor's room. The room was set up for confession since the monsignor often heard the confessions of the other Priests so there were only two chairs.
"Come in Philip, Susan you sit down over there please," He offered her his normal chair, and moved to take the one opposite her. Phillip found a spot leaning against the writing desk. Monsignor Smith took several long breaths before beginning. "I often have this trouble with married couples and I always face the same problem. The sad truth is that in my nearly sixty years as a priest, I have never found a good solution. In the first place, I cannot reveal what either of you have said to me during confession, but on the other hand I cannot in good conscience let this go completely. There are some things that need to be said." He paused and look from one two the other. "I believe that if you are as smart as I think for both of you are, that you have either figured out what I am going to talk to you about, or are on the verge of figuring it out. But, instead taking the chance that you are not as smart as I believe you both are, I am going to tell you what I think is going on here." His face changed to a smile then.
"Look, first what I am about to tell you, is not a bad thing, it is just something that will require some talking that some prayer to resolve. I am happy to two of your found each other." Over the next few minutes he told them, what they both already knew but had not expressed to each other. They were both feeling lost, and that when they met this evening, they had both found something that was missing in their lives. "I believe," he said finally "what the two of you need to figure out if what you have found in each other is stronger than the vows you have each taken separately."
No one said anything for a long while, and then finally Susan, with tears in her eyes, got up silently and walked out of the room. She set something down on the writing desk next to Philip as she left, but said nothing. He waited a long time wondering what he had done. How he had hurt this woman that he believed he was in love with.
"Are you going to sit there all night?" Monsignor Smith asked in a gentle tone.
"No father, I think I will go down to my room and pray for a while."
"Do you know what you are praying for?"
"Guidance," he said as he shut the door and walked the short distance to his own room. About an hour later he heard footsteps outside of his door, there was no knock, but after a few seconds he head something sliding under the door. He looked to find a small piece of paper on the floor, and when he picked it up he discovered that it was a business card. It had the number of the Sister's of Mercy Convent on it, and another number very neatly hand printed underneath it. It had to be hers, it even smelled like her. But, what should he do, should he call her? What would he say to her? She had left without a word, without even a glance in his direction, but she had left this behind.
"Hello." Came Susan's voice.
"You have reached the voice mail of sister Susan Randin, please leave a message after the beep, and Philip, yes."
He waited for a long second before he said anything. She had taken the time to change her message, but what did yes mean. Yes, she felt the same way, yes she would be willing to leave her vows. No it was yes, to Monsignor Smith's question, the feels she had for him where stronger than the vows she had taken separately.
"Susan, Yes." he said and hung up the phone. He would have a lot of changes to make in his life, but he believed he had found the obligations that were meant for him.


Six months later, he stood alone in the square outside the same church that he had called his home for many years before, and waited until he heard the bells ringing across the square, then entered. This time he took a vow he knew that he would be able to keep for the rest of his life.

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