Ginjeria stood in the old doorway of Pablo’s small room, breathless, a rosy glow blushing her cheeks. Their eyes met; she looked away cradling the folded towel to her breasts. “I’m so sorry, please forgive me, your towel,” she said, as she held out the clean towel to Pablo with both hands, arms stretched, looking up at him once more.
Pablo approached Ginjeria, wondering why she had not entered his room; she was still standing in the doorway? Perhaps she was a little uncomfortable now that the Padre had left, he speculated, after all he was only wearing a robe and was still wet? Pablo couldn’t help but admire Ginjeria, her long black wavy hair, her cinnamon skin, and her amazingly beautiful dark brown eyes, god she is so beautiful, he thought! Sultry, yet innocent, and very intriguing, he looked deep into her eyes once more; Pablo could see a compassionate spirit, and a loving soul, at that moment he felt an instant meaning to his life, an overwhelming pain in his heart which was growing stronger by the second, a love so amazingly real, it took his breath away.
Gingeria was gazing back, almost entranced in Pablo’s deep brown eyes. She could feel her heart beating stronger, her breath deepening as he moved closer, he is so handsome, she thought. His hair still wet, her eyes followed the trickles of water running down the side of his strong jaw, pivoting from one whisker to another, running down his neckline, finally being absorbed by his robe. At that moment, she felt a stirring of arousal welling up deep inside her, Gingeria felt an urgent need to comfort and love him, but new not why? She felt surprised at the intense feelings toward this stranger, she sensed a deep hidden pain in Pablo’s heart, some sort of grief or loss; perhaps he had recently lost a loved one?
Pablo took hold of the towel that was held out toward him, gently brushing Ginjeria’s soft hands, he patted dry his face and neckline and thanked Ginjeria with a smile. Ginjeria felt his coarse hands brush against her soft skin, ever so slightly, she smiled at him in response; and looked down, feeling a little unsure of the situation. Ginjeria felt almost frozen in Pablo’s presence, a statue waiting to be brought to life with a kiss from his tender lips. She glanced up again, Pablo was still looking at her, his stare deep and intense, the silence was growing stronger, Ginjeria then excused herself, “I better get back to my duties, mass will commence shortly” and she turned around and left, he could hear her soft footsteps down the corridor.
The church bells rang; their boom, alerting the locals it was time for mass to commence. Pablo was dressed in his clean clothes and made his way down the stone stairs, through some corridors and doorways until he reached the rear of the chapel. Pablo chose to sit at the rear, nearest the far isle, trying to keep a low profile. The bench he sat on was hard and uncomfortable; the varnished wood had worn over the years.
The chapel was rather small, and filled quite quickly, a mixture of young and old, lost and found, the weak and strong. Old widows and married women wore their black lace head veils, young girls and women wore their white and cream lace veils, reflecting their status.
The congregation stood in unison, as the worn-out organ started to bellow a familiar tune. An old man sat at the keyboard as he did every mass, playing a hymn that most of the locals could sing too, some mumbling not quite remembering the lyrics. There were a few amongst the crowd, who seemed to be rather enthusiastic, singing proudly, raising their voice with gusto.
The chapel boys entered the church from behind closed doors, dressed in their brown gowns, draped in their white tunic, followed by the Padre in his dark robe, nodding and smiling as he greeted the familiar faces that returned the gesture. The congregation stayed standing until the Padre said the first opening prayer and announced, “you may be seated”, all at once the people sat down in unison, with their prayer books in hand waiting for the Padre to continue.
At the end of the mass the people gathered outside the chapel, chatting amongst themselves, waiting to converse with the Padre. One of the more senior followers Jose Rodriguez was conversing with the Padre and asked whom the new visitor was, sitting at the back of the chapel? The Padre replied, “one of Gods children Jose, now how is your family, I hear your brother is ill, is there anything I can do for him?”
This conversation pretty well repeated itself, subsequently with each individual, questioning Pablo’s presence. The Padre knew how to deal with their curiosity, and concerns, he was very discreet about the matter, his patients and integrity, that of a true Padre. His flock was truly everything to him, each soul to be saved and guided through life’s narrow pathway.
Written by Angela Sparks