Twice Defrocked

9 Feb

jesus

 

Jen and Robert decided that they were going to adopt. After years of research and straddling the fence on the issue, they decided to make this life altering decision, though they had no idea how life altering the process would be. One of their biggest hang ups was about religion. Jen was a devout Catholic, as devout as an American could possibly be. Rob on the other hand had an almost irrational hatred for the Catholic Church and all Christian doctrine for that matter. This caused many arguments about how they would raise the child but they came to the conclusion that they would let the child decide for itself when the time came.

Jen´s life was an open book to all who knew her whereas Rob´s life had much mystery beyond the 6 years that they were together. He told Jen that he was a victim of severe abuse and escaped his home at age 16 so he didn´t like to talk about that. Then, with fake documents, he entered the military and served in Iraq which was so traumatic that he didn´t like talking about the either. When Jen met him, he was working as a toll booth operator on the NJ turnpike. He used the veil of abuse to hide his past from her.

They decided on an agency and went downtown to get the paperwork rolling. Rob was very nervous on the car ride. He was visibly nervous.

“What´s wrong, hun?” Jen asked.

“Nothing. It´s just this is the biggest decision of our lives and I am a little nervous” he answered.

“Don´t worry, it´ll be all right. We are ready for this” she said. “We are not going into this all willy nilly. We are totally prepared for anything that is thrown at us.”

“Are we really?” he said before going silent.

At the agency, the couple was handed a thick folder full of informative brochures and forms to fill out. They were briefed by an agent for over an hour. It was surprisingly pleasant.

On the way home Jen said to Rob “I have a good feeling about this”. Rob just nodded.

They sent the paperwork away and waited. The agent told them that it could take up to one month to hear anything. During this month Rob was agitated and very short with Jen. He wasn´t eating and could not get through a whole night without waking up many times.

The day came. A letter from the adoption agency arrived in their mailbox. Rob was leaving work early trying to beat Jenna home so he could intercept the mail. On this day, someone called off so Rob had to stay an extra hour to cover the shift until a replacement came.

When Rob got home Jen was on the couch crying.

“What´s wrong?” he asked.

She slowly looked up. “Who are you?” she said between sobs.

“What?” he said, his mind now spinning trying to think of the motive for such a question. He knew the question would come one day but he needed to know what she knew so he could spin it in the direction he wanted.

“The agency said that the Social Security number you gave does not exist” she said.

“Maybe I wrote it down wrong. Let´s just resubmit the paperwork” he said, his voice shaking.

“I double checked all the information. It was all correct. Why is it saying that you don´t exist?” she said, her anger rising.

Rob knew this was the end of the line. He had to come clean. He knew this adoption would be the undoing of everything. He stalled Jen as long as he could over the past few years. He knew there would be background checks. He knew his new life would come to an end. He couldn´t stall her anymore. She was adamant about this adoption.

He thought about his options. Tell her another lie to get through these next few moments, pack a bag, flee and start again? Take his own life as to not cause any more suffering than he had already caused? Tell her the truth and see how she reacts? The weight on his shoulders was great. He had been living a lie for so long. He made his choice. Truth.

“Jen, 10 years ago I was a priest. I was a damn good one. I helped so many people. But I could not fix myself. I had appetites. Horrible appetites. No praying in the world would make them go away. I had others pray for me. It didn´t help. I started acting on these appetites. Then people started whispering, the whispers turned to chatter until the chatter turned to screams. I had to move. The church moved across the country. The appetites followed. I couldn´t help myself. My God wasn´t strong enough to stop me! They moved me again but the people already knew why I was there when I arrived. I couldn´t stay. I paid some gangster 10,000 dollars to create this new life for me in New Jersey. Since we´ve been together, I have not acted out once! Please believe me. I love you.”

Jen saw through the fog of shock enough to mutter two words, “Get out.”

 

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2 Responses to “Twice Defrocked”

  1. Bruce Goodman February 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    Although the story’s title gave away the punch line, I still thought it was very powerful, and an interesting thing to write it from the ex-priest’s point of view. I was a RC priest myself for 30 years, but the circumstances were quite different from the one in your story! However, many aspects of it I could relate to!

    • Ryan February 9, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

      That´s the second time I gave away the punchline with the title! It´s creative laziness, I guess. Thanks for the kind words though, Bruce!

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