It was late Sunday afternoon. Father Morelli was in the sanctuary reading a prayer book. He had done two masses for the day and now he could spend the remainder of the day with family or friends or on his own. He could do with the R&R. It had been a busy week with a funeral, a wedding, a baptism, Confession and personal appointments.
The funeral was yesterday and he gave the Vigil Mass. The deceased man was a man in his late eighties. Family, friends and neighbors gathered for prayer, the reading of scripture, to sing songs, and share stories in remembrance and celebration of his life. The baptism was also yesterday in the afternoon at 5pm.
The wedding was this morning. As he married the young couple, he thought of the one wedding ceremony he wouldn’t want to perform. He dismissed the idea. Genet and Fabrizio had broken up and she had made it clear that she wouldn’t marry him. His mother was right, though. Fabrizio wasn’t the right guy for Genet.
When he had found out that they were dating, he was extremely surprised. “You and Fabrizio?” he had exclaimed after she told him.
“Yes. You sound surprised.”
“I never would have thought that he was your type.”
“And what do you think is my type?”
“I don’t know but I just don’t think he is.”
She didn’t answer and he dropped it. Shortly after that, he met Carla and began dating her. The relationship didn’t last long and now, he was where he belonged and Genet and Fabrizio were no longer together.
He looked up from his book when he heard the door open to the sanctuary open. It was Genet. He closed the book and watched as she approached him. She was all dressed up in a long pinkish dress with a matching handbag. “Hello,” he said when she reached him.
“You’re all dressed up.”
“Yes. I just came from a wedding.”
“Speaking of weddings, there was one here this morning and I performed it. The sanctuary was packed. It was nice especially after the funeral yesterday. Whose wedding was it?”
“It was my friend, Giavanna.”
“I think you’ve mentioned her to me before.”
“Yes. It was she who introduced me to Fabrizio.”
“Oh. Was he at the wedding too?”
“Yes. I know it’s a bit cloudy outside but could we go for a walk?”
“Sure.” He preceded the way out of the sanctuary. She was right. It was cloudy but there hadn’t be any forecast for rain. They walked across the grounds. “Did he show up alone or with someone?”
“He was alone.”
“Did you and he say anything to each other?”
“Yes. We greeted each other and asked how the other was doing. He told me that I looked beautiful and asked me if I was dating anyone. I said no. He asked if we could meet for cappuccino sometime during the week.”
“And what did you say?”
“I told him that I would think about it.”
“Do you think that’s a good idea?”
“I don’t know. What should I have done, Roberto?”
“Turn him down.”
“I guess I should have done that.”
“What if he wants to get back together? What will you do then?”
“No. That’s out of the question. I don’t mind us being just friends and hanging out once in a while but I refuse to get back together with him.”
“Maybe you should tell him that when you meet him for cappuccino.”
“I will do that only if he tells me that he wants us to get back together.”
“So, what time was the wedding?”
“The ceremony was at 12:30pm and the reception was right after. I left around 4:30.”
“Did you leave alone?”
“Yes and I came straight here.”
“So, Fabrizio was still there when you left?”
“My mother doesn’t think he’s right for you.”
“And what about you?”
“I still don’t think he’s your type.”
“Well, we’re not compatible.”
“It’s very important for two people in a relationship to be compatible.”
“Yes. You and I are very compatible.”
“Yes, we are.”
“It’s too bad that you’re not available.”
“I was, before you started dating Fabrizio,” he said before he could stop himself.
Genet stopped in her tracks, turned and stared up at him. “What are you trying to say, Roberto?”
“Nothing. It’s in the past. Let’s leave it there.”
“How can we just leave it like this?” she demanded. “You just admitted that if I hadn’t started going out with your cousin, there’s a chance that you and I would have–“
“Forget what I said, Genet.”
“How can I, Roberto?”
“It’s no use, Genet. I’m a priest for life. There can never be more than friendship between us.”
“Roberto, I don’t want just friendship any more and I don’t think you do either.”
“It’s all that I can offer you and if you don’t want it, then maybe, we should stop seeing each other.”
“Is that what you want?”
“No, but you’ve left me no other choice. Either we continue being just friends or we don’t. If not, then it would best if we don’t see each other anymore unless you need to speak to me about spiritual matters.”
“Have it your way, then. This works out for both of us, doesn’t it? I don’t have to worry anymore about what people think when they see us together in public and you don’t have to concern yourself about taking me to Villa Celimontana. I’ll either go by myself or with someone else.”
“And if I need to speak to anyone about spiritual matters, it will be my pastor. Arrivederci, padre Morelli.” She turned on her heel and stalked off, angry tears welling in her eyes.
He watched her go and then, turned and headed back to the parish, a drawn expression on his face.