It was late afternoon when Zendaya arrived in Johannesburg. She took a taxi to the church where Father Botha was. She had called him the night before to let him know that she was going to see him. She needed to see him. She wanted to see if he had any news about Father O’Reilly. It had been two months since she left the parish and she was going crazy. She couldn’t stop thinking about him and wondering how he was and what he was doing. Was he constantly thinking about her too? Many times she had been tempted to call the parish but thought better of it.
She had sent a Christmas card addressed to him with no return address on the envelope. In the card, she had written, To Father O’Reilly and the Sisters. I wish you all a blessed and happy Christmas. May the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bring you joy and comfort this season and always. Zendaya. She had considered sending him a separate card but what would she write in it? Besides, hadn’t she left the parish because there wasn’t any future for her with him? It was best to move on but that was easier said than done. She didn’t want to be with anyone else. She made up her mind that she would be a frustrated and lovesick spinster for the rest of her life.
Father Botha smiled when she walked into his office and he shook her hand warmly before inviting her to take a seat opposite his desk. “How are you, my Dear and what brings you to my neck of the woods today?”
“I just wanted to say hello.”
“I’m sure you didn’t come all this way just to say hello. I heard that you left the parish.”
Zendaya’s heart skipped a beat. “How-how did you find out?” she asked.
“Your former employer, Father O’Reilly told me.”
“Oh. How is he?”
“He’s leaving the parish.”
Kendaya swallowed hard. “Why?”
“He called me about a week or so after you left and asked me to go to Cape Town because he needed to talk to me about something. I went and stayed at parish for a couple of days. He and I had a frank talk. He told me that he was leaving the parish because he had fallen in love with someone but he didn’t mention who. I have my suspicions. Zendaya, you don’t have to answer this question but did you leave the parish for the same reason?”
She sighed. It was no use denying it. “Yes.”
“So, what are you going to do about it? Continue running away from him or face him?”
“There’s nothing I can do, Father Botha. He’s a priest. There’s no future for us.”
“Perhaps when I told you that he was leaving the parish I should have also mentioned that he’s leaving the priesthood as well.”
Zendaya’s mouth dropped open. “He’s leaving the priesthood?” she exclaimed. “But where will he go? What will he do?”
“Perhaps you should ask him that yourself.”
Zendaya stood up. “I will, Father Botha. Thank you.”
He stood up and shook her hand. “God be with you, Zendaya.”
“Thank you, Father Botha. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye.” He watched her leave then, he picked up the telephone and called Father O’Reilly.
Next is, Zendaya Returns.