A Moment in Time   Leave a comment

Yvette stood in the porch of the old farmhouse holding her new baby Charlotte. She shivered in the cold December air.

…. Where was her Dad? She had to get away from here fast. She could never show her face around here again. Why oh why did I think this was a good idea?….

It had been Christmas last year when she had got too much into the Christmas spirit, literally. Yvette had always loved to sing. She did a regular gig in Keegan’s pub. Seamus the owner had asked her to sing a few songs at the special social to welcome the new priest Fr. Peter Kearney to the parish. He had recently arrived after the retirement of Fr. James McGinty.  Fr.Peter  was unusually young for a priest. He had a shock of dark hair, piercing blue eyes, ruddy cheeks, and a ready smile. Young and old, seemed charmed by him. He had applauded enthusiastically when Yvette finished singing. He came up to her at the bar afterwards and offered to buy her a drink for entertaining him so well. They made small chat and Yvette found him a great listener, and interesting conversationalist.

A few days later, when she was out cycling, he drew up in his car. He asked her if she would join the new church choir he was setting up. Yvette had agreed to come to a meeting that night. It had been the beginning of Advent and the choir were to make their debut at Christmas. So they had met a few times a week to practice. Fr. Peter always attended, and invited everyone around to the presbytery for tea or coffee and a few biscuits, afterwards.

One night near Christmas, all of the choir members except Yvette had to rush off to attend to Christmas chores, straight after choir practice. So Yvette accompanied Peter, as she now called him, back to the presbytery.

“Why don’t we have something a bit stronger?” he asked her. She agreed to join him in a Christmas drink. Peter opened a bottle of wine , and produced a plate of shop bought mince pies. They chatted and laughed, and had a few more drinks. The bottle of wine was soon finished, and they decided to open a bottle of whiskey, that an elderly parishioner had given the priest.

“Ooo I’m feeling a bit woozy,” Yvette exclaimed as she stood up to go to the bathroom. She staggered and Peter caught hold of her to steady her. Yvette looked up at him. She looked into his concerned blue eyes that seemed to draw her in. His face looked so attractively inviting that reached up to kiss him. He didn’t pull away; but lingered on her lips for a second and then reciprocated tenderly. Before they knew it, they were making sweet love. They lost all sense of time, sense or moral issues. They fell asleep in each other’s arms.

A few hours later Yvette awoke, and it slowly began dawn on her what they had done, and the enormity of it in a small community like Knockdroim. Peter was still asleep and snoring gently. She dressed quietly, gathered her bag and coat, and walked to the village pub. She ordered a mineral water, and then rang her dad to ask him to pick her up. She told him she had gone to the pub after choir practice.

After that she only saw Peter at Mass or choir practice. He always looked away when she looked at him, and hardly spoke to her. She never went back to the presbytery after that, always claiming another job had to be done. The Christmas singing went well and the whole parish spoke about the wonderful new choir. By early spring it was obvious to Yvette that she was pregnant. Her parents were very disappointed with her. They had had ambitious aspirations for their only child. Nevertheless, they insisted they would support her. A termination wouldn’t have been considered by any of the family. Yvette told them that it had happened at a house party and she didn’t know the father. As she grew bigger neighbours and parishioners glanced furtively, but said nothing.

Charlotte arrived in autumn. She was a bonny baby with Yvette’s chestnut hair, and beautiful blue eyes, and rosy cheeks. Yvette and her grandparents doted on her. When it came time for the Christening Fr. Peter conveniently had to go away, and another priest did the honours. Yvette began to feel angry, and became convinced that it was only right that Charlotte should be acknowledged by her father. Advent came and the crib was put up in the village. Looking at the Baby Jesus in the manger Yvette decided she had to confront Peter with his daughter. She asked her dad to drop her up to the presbytery with Charlotte, as she needed to see Fr. Peter about a private matter. Her father was puzzled, but did as he was asked. He went to see a pal of his, and said he’d pick her up in an hour.

When Yvette arrived at the presbytery there was a strange car outside. The front door was slightly ajar. Yvette entered with Charlotte. Charlotte had been asleep, and woke with a cry. Peter came into the hallway, saw Yvette and the baby, and started to try and guide them outside. “

“This is your daughter Charlotte!” roared Yvette. The sitting-room door opened wider, and Fr. Peter’s mother stood there.

“Peter? What is she talking about?” his mother asked quizzically.

Peter looked from Yvette to his mother and reddened. “This is your grand-daughter,” said Yvette thrusting the screaming baby into the woman’s arms.

“I can explain,” muttered Peter, taking the baby from his mother gingerly and bundling her back to Yvette. Yvette burst into tears, and went outside. She saw a neighbour passing and flagged him down. The man took in her distressed state, but kept his counsel. He took her to her dad’s friend’s place. It was an old farm-house up a narrow road, and hidden in the trees.

 

 

 

 

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Posted December 3, 2013 by eileenmoynihan in Uncategorized

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