Can someone please check if I'm using the bold words correctly and tell me if the storyline is OK?
I was eleven when I caught Father Thomas screwing my next door neighbor's wife. I guess they were just getting ready for Confession.
My altar boy years were both the funniest and the weirdest years of my life. I'd give credit to the Catholic Church for that but I prefer to think of it more romantically - that God had something to do with it.
I was five when I realized that religion was one messed up piece of work. Every Sunday my mother would literally drag me out of bed at seven in the morning to get ready for Mass. It was when mother dearest threw a bucket of ice cold water over my head that I realized that God and I were going to have some problems. Who ever made a kindergarten kid suffer that early in the morning was either a sick son of a gun or in my case, God. Once the early torturing was over, it was off to church. Mass was usually held by Father Octavio who would go on about the Lord while I stared at the large stain glassed window behind him. I'd glare at that stained glass Jesus while in my head I'd tell God, 'You and me got a score to settle.'
And that's how it went every Sunday until I was seven. On my seventh birthday my mother decided that the Catholic Church was just what I needed to 'reverse the direction of my reprobate
road.' So mother dearest, in her determination of redeeming me from my seven year old sins, decided that if I were closer to God he might not condemn me to hell for my wrongs. Next thing I knew, I was an altar boy.
Now that I look back at my life, I realize that being an altar boy didn't really put me closer to God but it did put me closer to Catholicism. That means I was no where near God. The joys of being an altar boy were often few, they were often memorable. One of my most memorable memories as altar boy was when Father Octavio ordered the lot of us altar boys to organize the storage room. I must have really loved that storage room because every time I came out it, I was stone drunk. As a seven year old I really didn't get why adults liked alcohol because it didn't taste all that great. But church wine is different. Church wine is good. Or at least it was in my country. It was a sweet sun-kissed wine that was brought from the northern desert. And as the seven year olds we were, we let ourselves become enthused by the provocative
sweetness of the beverage. We'd eventually find ourselves laughing like idiots while the world rotated around us in the most dizzying manner.
Of course the next day, Father Octavio would tattle on us to our parents for drinking down almost half of the wine jugs in the storage room. Mother dearest would give me the beating of my life and I would feel myself moving farther away from God. But, I still went on as altar boy and did my duties. On Sundays I'd be obligated to stand next to Father Octavio while he held out a wine goblet which we were required to fill with half wine and half water. On one occasion we added more water than wine. He yelled at as for it after Mass. The next Sunday we added more wine than water. He didn't complain.
The altar boy duties that I had such as cleaning the steps of the church, helping during religious festivities, helping out during Sunday Mass, and being part of the choir didn't make me closer to God. And those other altar boys who were with me didn't become closer to God either. In fact, later on as I found out, some of them became delinquents and others, drunks. While this certainly wasn't something that shook me all too much, it did make me realize that sometimes those that are the most devoted are the worst.
In one of the most impacting experiences as an altar boy was getting to know the different priests of the church. There were three different Fathers that I have most memories of - Father Octavio who you already know, Father Macmillan who was Irish, and Father Thomas who was Canadian. Now Father Macmillan and Father Thomas were the most popular among the ladies of the neighborhood both being young and gringos. These young men who were both a credit to their race were quite admired in the third-world Chile that I grew up in.
Father Macmillan was the most educated of the two gringos and often gave recondite
lessons in theology to us kids when we were suppose to learn about the Crucifixion. Father Thomas was the nicer one and the one that spoke Spanish least fluently which brought him up on the attractive charts of the ladies. While Father Octavio was always strict with us about how we went about our work, Father Thomas would laugh at our travesties and let us procrastinate
when it came to our obligations. We never once thought of ill of him and had no reason to. He was well-mannered and never disrespected any of us. Many a flirtatious hint would women throw his way during Mass and even during Confession yet he seemed immune to all this. He was our role model and our favorite Father.
It was on the Festival of the Virgin Carmen that my opinion of Father Thomas changed as well as my opinion of religion and God. Now before this, I always was a bit of a cynic when it came to religion, the Bible, the Church, and anything tied to God but after this little eye opener, I was completely convinced that I had the right idea all along. At this point I was eleven and I had known Father Thomas for about three years. It was a bright morning and I had traded my duty of sweeping steps for the sedentary
task of watching everyone else put up decorations. Father Octavio, who never failed to make sure that I was making myself useful, ordered me to go to the Back House to get Father Thomas. The Back House was exactly that - a house in the back of the church where the three Fathers resided in. The house however, was divided into separate sections each belonging to one of the priests. I entered and sought out Father Thomas. Finding his room, I was about to knock when I saw the door slightly open. Not bothering to knock I opened the door quietly believing that Father Thomas might be concentrated in prayer. What I found was a very concentrated Father Thomas, except not in prayer. She was on top of him and they were both so into their 'activities' that they didn't even notice me. So, in the same quiet way I opened the door, I closed it.
That day was a turning point in my life. I realized that all that religious instruction and the respect they made us have towards God and the Church was just a load of...it was just like it claimed to be - holy. It was holy because there were so many holes within the Catholicism and within the teachings we were taught and even in God. I didn't find it traumatizing what I saw and even today I wonder why. Perhaps it's because that day I realized that Father Thomas was a man and he was a person just like I was. There was no real difference between me and him. The only difference was that he knew more things about Catholicism. But that really was it. Did I feel betrayed? Perhaps. Everything that I was taught since infancy about respecting priests and respecting God all seemed like a big joke after that. After seeing that, I stopped taking my duties seriously until one day Father Octavio told me that he had no need for me anymore. Mother dearest didn't take it too well but after a few beatings she bestowed upon me, she was over it.
I never told anyone what happened that day and I never found out what happened to Father Thomas or to my next door neighbor's wife for that manner. I'm sure these things were kept secret and neither of them got in trouble for it. Either way, I don't think I'll ever see Father Thomas again in my life. But if I did, I'd thank him for making me see things clearly and I'd ask him if he was trying to help my next door neighbor find the Holy Spirit.