TIERCE 1937.

TIERCE 1937.

A Story by Terry Collett








































Blessed art thou amongst women. Sister Teresa closed the book. Brushed hand across book cover dispersing dust and thoughts. And blessed is the fruit…She lowered her hands to her stomach and tapped three times. Empty tomb; empty womb. Looked across the room at the crucified hung on the white wall; hammered and nailed; battered and bruised by time. She brought her hands together. Let flesh touch flesh. Jude long gone, in flesh at least. Papa had gone the year before; no last farewell; no last goodbye. Sighed. Lifted her eyes to the off-whiteness of ceiling; lifted her heart and mind to a world beyond. Bell rang from bell tower. Voice of Christ, some said. Closed eyes. Held breath. Then released breath as if God had touched her afresh.  Men not to be trusted, Papa had said. Last will and testament; his last words, she mused. She rose from the table and book; stood gazing at the black book cover; stood in a silence like one struck dumb. Bell rang. Sighed. Moved across the room; opened the door; closed it  with softness of summer’s breeze. Mama wore black in perpetual mourning. Black on black; death on death. She moved along the cloister; touched the wall; felt the roughness of brick on brick. Jude’s image pale as ghost; off to her right she thought he lingered. All in the mind, Mother Abbess had said; smiled; patted her hand. Not to touch, not over much. She paused by church door and felt for the stoup; dipped finger in water; hoped for blessedness; made sign from breast to breast; scanned the choir stalls for Sister Clare; not there, she mused; disappointment stabbed her; drove her inwards; struggled with her night of soul. And blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Jude kissed her once or was it more? She mused, taking her place in choir; shifting her breviary; clutching it tight. Nun followed nun; each to their own place; each to their God prayed, she mused, opening the page, shifting her weight from foot to foot. Mother Abbess tapped wood on wood; made the sign from shoulder to shoulder; nodded the beginning of prayer and chant. Not to be trusted, Papa had said. Not seen last nine months; sorely missed; huge chasm in her breast and heart. Turned the page. Lifted her voice. Eyes flowed across the black and white as if swimming through the sea of despondency. No Sister Clare. I do declare a pain is here; wish you were here; near me now, she said inwardly, following the words like lost sheep. Where are You now my God? Sighed. Held the breviary; felt the weight of it; like her sins it weighed her down. Sunlight shone through upper windows; touched the stone floor between choir stalls; made as if fire burned between them, she mused, letting eyes move from the page; allowing memories to stir like giants waking from slumber. Flesh on flesh; hand on hand to touch. Not over much, not over much. And where are You? she asked in her silence; settled her feet in stillness. Pray for us sinners. Now and at the hour. Where had time gone? Papa gone; Mama long since dust to dust; Jude blown to the four corners in battle; all so sorely missed. No Sister Clare. Chant ended. Silence. Mother Abbess made sign; blessed all gathered; gathering her black robes she moved slowly down the aisle with her bride groomed but invisible Christ and the sisters followed each too with their battered and bruised groom inwardly held; separately loved. Sister Teresa waited and watched. Knelt and sighed. Where was her groom?  Had He gone or died? Closed eyes. Sighed. Brought hands together; moved lips and mumbled prayer, which lingered just above her head; blessed the air. Now and at the hour.


© 2010 Terry Collett

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Added on March 14, 2010
Last Updated on March 14, 2010


Terry Collett
Terry Collett

United Kingdom

Terry Collett has been writing since 1971 and published on and off since 1972. He has written poems, plays, and short stories. He is married with eight children and eight grandchildren. on January 27t.. more..