Bernard’s Visit

It was by the grace of God that he was able to get through Mass that Sunday morning. He was thankful to escape to the office.

“Father Kowalski, you have a visitor,” Sister Francesca informed him as he was leaving the sanctuary.

“Who is it?” he asked. He really wasn’t in the mood to see anyone.

“He said that he’s your former bucket filling friend.”

Father Kowalski’s face broke into a smile. “That’s Bernard,” he exclaimed. “I haven’t seen him in a while.”

“He’s in your office.”

“Thank you, Sister.” He excused himself and hurried to the office, anxious to see his friend. As soon as he walked in, Bernard rose to his feet and met him half-way.

“Bernard, it’s so good to see you. How have you been?”

Bernard grinned and shook his hand enthusiastically. “It’s good to see you too, old Chap. How are things?”

“Fine. What brings you to my neck of the woods?”

“I just wanted to stop by and check up on you.”

“Sit down and tell me what you’ve been up to all this time.”

“Well, for starters, I found a new Bucket Filling Friend.”

“I’m happy to hear that. Is he someone I know?”

“No, you don’t know her.”

“Her?”

“Yes. Sally.”

Sally? The same Sally you said was the last woman you would ever date?”

“Yes. I ran into her a couple of weeks after I left here and we got to talking. I found out that we liked the same things. In fact, I have more in common with her than with you. We did all the things you and I never got to do like skydiving, bungee jumping, outdoor rock climbing, fly fishing and caving. In July, we went to Whitsunday Islands in Australia for two amazing weeks.”

“Sounds like you have been enjoying your life. Good for you.”

“All this time I have selling Sally short. She’s a truly remarkable woman. I love being with her which is probably why I asked her to marry me.”

“You did?”

“I popped the question last week Friday when we were having dinner at her place and she said yes.”

“That’s great news. Congratulations. I always liked Sally and couldn’t understand why you didn’t give her the time of day. It was so obvious that she had a thing for you.”

“What can I say? I was an imbecile.”

“When’s the wedding?”

“We haven’t set a date as yet but as soon as we do, I will let you know. Can a priest be a best man at a non-Catholic wedding?”

“I’m inclined to say no but I will find out.”

“I hope you can be there. It’s going to be the most important day of my life and I would like my best friend to be there.”

Father Kowalski smiled. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“So, how is church life treating you, Father Aleksander?”

“I’m Alek to you. It’s good. I love being here at the chapel and I like the people.”

“Is everything all right? You don’t seem like yourself.”

“I can’t fool you, can I?”

“What’s wrong?”

After inviting him to take a seat, he told him about Clara. “I let things go too far between us,” he concluded.

“You mean because you kissed her?”

“Yes.”

“Alek, under that robe, you’re a man–flesh and blood.”

Father Kowalski dragged his fingers through his hair. “I know. If we hadn’t been interrupted, I would have continued kissing her.”

“I can see that you’re agonizing over this. What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. Avoiding her doesn’t help. I think about her constantly.”

“Do you want to be with her?”

“Yes!”

“Would you consider leaving the church?”

“I can’t imagine doing that. I’ve been a Catholic all of my life.”

“You don’t have to give up your Catholic faith if you don’t want to.”

“But we will be unequally yoked.”

“There are couples who attend the same church and they are unequally yoked. How do you feel about this girl, Alek?”

“Jestem w niej zakochany.”

“What?”

“I’m in love with her.”

“Well, for Pete’s sake, tell her so and then, marry her.”

Marry her?”

“Yes. You just said that you love her.”

“I do, but–“

“No buts. Go and see her and tell her how you feel.”

“It isn’t that simple.”

“I guess for you it isn’t because you’re a priest. Why don’t you pray about it then?”

“I have been praying. I have been praying about it every single day.”

“Have you gotten any answers?”

“Not yet.”

“Well, I hope that you will get one very soon and that’s the one you want.”

“God knows best and whatever the outcome is, I will accept it.”

“I wish you all the best, Alek.” He stood up.

“Thank you, Bernard.” He stood up as well.

“Before I leave, I just wanted to apologize for my behavior the last time we saw each other. I acted like a complete jerk. I should have been supportive instead of giving you a hard time for your vocation. I’m truly sorry, Old Chap.”

Father Kowalski smiled. “No need to apologize,” he said. “Thank you for stopping by. I hope we shall see each other again very soon.”

“We will–before the wedding.”

“Please give my regards to Sally.”

“I will.”

They hugged. “Goodbye, Bernard.”

“Goodbye, Alek. May God grant you the desires of your heart.”

“Thank you.” After his friend left, he went over to the window and looked out. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

Posted for October 2020 Writing Prompts – #27 – Selling Sally

Sources: Rough Guides; Beliefnet

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