Confession by Radi Radev

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by Radi Radev

My church is small but in compensation there is a cemetery close to it. A lot of people, after visiting a relatives' graves, come to the House of God to light a candle and pray for them. It is not a large cemetery and, although, I am a priest I take care of it, too. I pluck the weeds, straighten a cross overturned or tilted by the wind. From time to time I water the flowers on the graves and make lanes among them.I don't have much work.

I don't overwork at the church, either.

Especially today. A couple of people made confessions.

Some came to pray.

I read "The Raven" by Poe most of the day and now I am poetically disposed. The day is drawing to an end. The Sun is slowly sinking below the horizon. The sky is reddish as if torn flesh merged with the light-blue clouds and created a drawing by Boche.

I gazed at the summer sky for a moment before closing the church gate. Sometimes I feel heavy with the sins heard during the day.

A man was coming across the church yard. When he saw that I was about to close the church, he quickened his step. He was with broad shoulders, dressed in a Kardin suit, with big wet stains around the armpits.

His round face was red and shiny. Drops of sweat streamed down his face, reached his nose and dropped on his chest. Breathing heavily, he asked: "Father, I would like to make a confession. Would you listen to me?"

I said: "I haven't sent back anyone, yet, son. Come with me to the confessional."

I entered my part of the confessional and he sat down in his. I slid the netlike window between us to make him feel at ease. I saw his face just for a while but I was impressed by it. His hair was sleeked back with hair gel. And although he looked young, there was a high, rather wrinkled forehead under his hair. His eyes were deep and arrogant. His nose was straight and his lower jaw was more protruding than his upper one.

"Wait a second, son, "I said. I took the Bible from the shelf next to me, held it tight in my hands and encouraged him: "Go on, son."

"I would like to know, do you keep the secret of the confession?"

"Every priest, entering the bosom of the church, takes a vow not only to listen to people's sins but to impress on them penance keeping their secrets in his heart. "I was still poetically disposed.

"How can I be sure that you won't go to the police after you listen to what I have to say?"

"My son, a lot of people have confessed before me. I have heard things which make normal people's hair stand on end. If you are afraid of talking in my presence you can leave. I was about to lock the church."

"I am sorry, father. It's my first confession."

Then he continued.

He spoke for almost fifteen minutes without a break. I don't want to repeat to anyone the things that I heard from him.

The man was a hired assassin. He had started at the age of nineteen. Now he was twenty seven. I laughed at him in the beginning. A lot of crazy people come to me just to have a chat with someone. But after he told me about some of the murders he had committed and the way he had committed them my doubts vanished.

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