“But you said yes. Yes means consent. Have you been drinking?” he leaned back in his chair and folded his hands as if in deep contemplation.
“No. No, of course not. It’s only three in the afternoon. I did have a glass of Chardonnay with my salad at lunch…it was only a glass. It wouldn’t make me…” Her voice faltered.
“Drunk…you said yes. I heard it clearly.” He tapped his index finger.
“You keep saying that.” She bowed her head.
“Yes. Yes. This felt weird.” She kept her head bowed.
“Like it? This. That. What you just did? Women like that?” she finally raised her head to meet his gaze.
“Some come to your office, give permission and like it?”
“Given the circumstances…you know…the collar…”
“Because of the collar, they feel like they must accept what you did? But you didn’t wear the collar when you did…what you did…”
He looks sharply at her. “I wouldn’t strike at God and my vows like that…I always remove my collar…always…do you feel better?”
“…I…felt powerless,” she feels like crying.
“Because I am powerful in your life?”
“Yes, Father. Religion is important to me…this church is important…”
“So…same time next week?” he was eager to be rid of her. He was due in the confessional in ten minutes and he wished to finish a glass of brandy beforehand.
“Next time, when you…when you…touch yourself…can you please not mention the Virgin Mary?”
He leaned forward completely out of patience. “You wouldn’t look at me…I mentioned the Virgin Mary to help things. Next time look at me when I do it and I won’t mention the Virgin Mary.”
“Alright, Father.” She stands up and wobbles. Her knees feel gelatinous. Father Murphy leads her to the door. He blesses her quickly. She is grateful for the blessing.
“Did you do this in Alaska?”
He laughs. “No. I only did it in New York when I was given a high a position with the archdiocese….odd…ah…I guess it is power…men and power…oh well…this is how God has created man…I presume it was like this in Eden.” Father Murphy closes the door on her and smiles.