I have just found this, languishing on my phone. It's not funny, but I like it.
The Second Sin
Bless me Father, for I have sinned
Homework: write a poem about something you regret
Like a present
Waiting to be opened
Like a past
to be erased
If only to be regretted
That nobody knows
If I could take my mistakes
And draw them again
Would I compromise
And leave this out
My best sin?
of a heart
That began beating
I didn't think
I didn't know
With a forgettable beginning.
Molly holds the rosary beads tightly in her hand; feeling the warm, fleece lining of her jacket pocket encasing her cold hand. She needs to count her sins, but having had a lot on her mind lately, she neglected to bring her own prayer beads. For a familiar moment, she feels like a fake: looking for Him: not in His house, but in an ordinary street with ordinary people and ordinary buildings. A fraud. That's what her mother told her last night, when the realisation had set in. 'A good Catholic girl, Molly. That's who you are meant to be, that’s who we raised you to be.'
Molly had struggled with this; she was surely no longer capable of being a good Catholic girl, and was unsure whether she ever had been.
‘When did you forget this? How could you forget this? When did you become this person?’
Molly had then pulled her baggy jumper tightly around her stomach, inducing an unprecedented rage in her mother.
‘Look at yourself! You are a FRAUD, pretending to be someone you are not, hiding under those hideous clothes,'
Molly knew her mother well, and knew that in different circumstances she may have laughed, even been impressed, at Molly’s current talent for disguise. She understood that her mother had to be angry, but all she really wanted was for her to say that everything would be alright. A soothing stroke of the hair and a chocolate biscuit, and everything would be okay.
‘You deserve more; we deserve more. We told you to forget the boys, avoid the sins. Concentrate on Him, we said, for He has the answers; He is the guiding light. A GOOD CATHOLIC GIRL, THAT IS WHO YOU ARE MEANT TO BE!'
Molly is now a statistic, which she now feels is actually no less fraudulent than scrubbing her cheeks until they stung, donning a pretty frock, and pretending to believe something that she could not see. Molly’s school friends-'they are not true friends, they are leading you astray,'- have always mocked her mother, mocked her father, mocked her faith. This is why Molly sinned that fateful evening. She sinned so that she would fit in, be one of them, and be far less than a compromise. This is why Molly is here now, right now, clutching plastic beads from a fashion store. Does it matter? It is another compromise. The rosary beads in her pocket; they aren’t real, but she thinks she probably needs them to guide her.
Two sins, at the last count. The first being a stolen moment in the woods with Simon after the school disco, seventeen weeks ago. Simon is a popular boy, and Molly was understandably flattered that he wanted to spend some time with her. Molly had never before imagined the consequence of time. She would, in all likelihood, still be flattered if Simon continued to want to spend time with her, but now time means nothing to him; he points and he laughs and he mocks along with the rest of them. Molly smiles, she likes to smile through adversity, and she knows that the secret-his secret-that ticks away inside her, will soon wipe that smug grin from his face. Molly places her hand on her stomach. Life. A life that began in a damp wood; a life moulded with fumbling hands; a beautiful beginning; a perfect being, made by amateurs, in a shocking showcase of beginners’ luck.
If faith had allowed them, Molly is sure that her incensed parents would have marched her to a clinic to remove the sin from sight and from memory. But this had not been the case. Through whispers and through anger, Molly had felt a hazy blur of burdened love emanating from them. A weakness growing stronger through misfortune. They were furious, but they were forced to accept, forced to forgive and forced to support.
‘A child?’ Your child?’
Molly feels for the beads in her pocket, and counts down to bead number two, closing her eyes in concentration. She does not want anyone to see. She does not want anyone to mock. She does not want anyone to judge. She does not want to care.
Errare humanum est
To err is human
Molly has been forced to count her sins on many occasions, but this time-the time she wants and needs to-she cannot bring herself to do it. Molly wonders why and she looks towards the sky, searching for an answer. He is there, this is what they say. He is everywhere, He is all encompassing, therefore it matters not where she looks.
Yet, He does not give her an answer, nor does He comfort her. Molly inhales deeply on the cigarette she is holding in her free hand, and strolls-with a confidence she cannot bring herself to feel- towards the ashtray. Another sin to add to the list, she thinks with a smug bitterness. A sin that is bad for the life inside her, bad for the beating heart. Molly just wants to be accepted. Molly just wants to be happy. Pure, simple, unadulterated happiness, the thought of which makes her feel sorry for herself. Molly occasionally allows herself the indulgence of emotion, and now she feels another deep in her stomach; twisting, hurting, punishing her. Guilt. Guilt for the sin, guilt for the cigarette, guilt for the compromise and guilt for being unable to ask forgiveness for any of them. Molly’s knees tremble as a wave of nausea washes over her, and she sinks to the ground, holding her head in her hands. It is nearly tea-time, and she is sure that despite her failings, her parents will want her back for her meal. With this in mind, Molly struggles to her feet, holding her stomach, holding on to the precious life that will love her forever. It is a sin for which she cannot possibly ask for forgiveness, because it is a sin that she will never regret.
Molly’s second sin was another compromise; a struggle between being a Good Catholic Girl and being part of the crowd that had grown to occasionally tolerate her, despite her obvious faults. Molly again fumbles in her pocket for the beads and, holding them tightly, rises to her feet to pay for the second sin. She walks slowly back towards the doors, proudly thrusting out her growing stomach that she has deliberately encased in a tight, white T-shirt. She feels them looking, feels them judging her, but she has decided that she does not care, for she can only ever truly be judged by Him, and He is nowhere to be seen.
‘Babies having babies,' she hears someone mutter as she walks past them.
A walk of shame.
Molly laughs as tears well in her blue eyes; another contrast, another compromise, but she walks on, tasting the bitterness of the cigarette she has just smoked, mingling with the sourness of guilt. In front of her is a row of shops and Molly wishes that she had some money to spend; she wants to buy something for her baby. She would buy a dummy, or a rattle or a tiny, knitted pair of bootees. She just wants to make the fluttering real; solid and unchangeable. Molly shakes her head to bring herself back to the matter in hand, the baby is moving and willing her on. This is the beginning; a new beginning, a new start that she will never regret. Molly is a huge fan of irony, and the humour of this situation is not lost on her. She defiantly raises her chin and walks back into the shop in which she had been ten minutes ago. Time goes so slowly when you are looking for something. She finally reaches the counter, and spots a friendly-looking sales assistant, wearing a badge that proudly proclaims her name is Jennifer. Jennifer makes her way over to Molly, fleetingly taking notice of her rounded stomach.
‘Can I help you?’ Jennifer asks softly
‘Yes, I think you can. I stole these, you see, and I thought I should return them. They don’t seem to work anyway.'
Molly hands the rosary beads to Jennifer and waits patiently for her to call the police.
‘That’s irony, eh? Did they come in useful?’
‘I don’t think I need to atone for this, you know. This is my Best Sin. Are you going to call the police?’
Jennifer studies the beads.
‘No, I won't. Don't show your face in this store again. Just go.’
Molly walks from the shop and looks towards the sky. Still nothing. She feels the familiar fluttering inside her.
Bless me Father, for I have sinned.
in something worth believing
Is waiting to be born
Nothing worth regretting
I waste no time
On the consequence
of a mistake that means everything
Then and now
Time is drawn
upon white paper.
Accept me Father,
Accept me for me
I forgive you Father
I thank you for this:
My best sin.