On the way, out of my mind with remorse, worry, fear, regret, I decided I would not ask to stay over and instead go straight to the airport, after telling James of my plans.
I couldn’t stop thinking about Emilio’s touch, or his lips on mine. But then I would think of the mother Mary, and how I betrayed her.
I parked the car on James’s drive, and would leave the keys with him, and ring for taxi. Emilio could arrange to get the car later.
I knocked at the door. I was shaking and in a right state
Ruby answered it. She went to say hi, but saw the state I was in and ushered me in quick.
She called out for James to come quick.
He ran to see what was wrong.
I held tight to my suite case and asked if I could use the phone, straight away.
He said sure, but what’s wrong Liz.
I put my suite case down and picked up the phone and asked if they had a number for a taxi.
Ruby went and looked in the phone book which was lying next to the phone.
She found one and read it out to me.
While I spoke to the taxi firm, James looked at Ruby and asked what was going on.
I put the phone down, and turned to James.
Wiping my eyes, I told him, I was off to Romania, and didn’t know when I was coming back.
James asked why I was going.
I told him, I was divorcing Emilio and going to be a nun.
He looked at Ruby, then back at me, and laughed.
Come on now Liz, tell me what’s really wrong.
I got mad
I am not joking, I am going away.
Ruby and James looked shocked.
Sorry I didn’t mean to shout, I said.
James stepped forward and put his hands on my shoulders.
Look you can talk to me, what’s happened.
I looked him in the eye.
I said to you, when you picked me up from the airport that day. I was going to do something, but would tell you when the time was right.
Well that time is now.
James hugged me.
I pulled away, as I had more to tell him.
James the kids don’t know, only you and Emilio know.
Is this why you are upset he said, taking hold of my hands.
I said nothing. It made me think to when James wanted to divorce me, and we ended up making love then we parted.
What a fool I was then, and I was still a fool.
I heard a car horn beep.
Right I must go.
I gave ruby my car keys and asked her to give them to Emilio if he should come round looking for me.
She took them from me, but squeezed my hand. She smiled and wished me good luck in whatever it was I was doing.
I looked at James, and started to well up again.
Look after Joseph for me, tell him I will always love him, and I hope one day he forgives me for not telling him.
James started to cry.
Liz I can take you to where ever it is your going, he said, pleading me not to just go like this.
I looked at both ruby and James.
I need to do this, I said with a tear falling from my eye.
I picked up my case, and opened the front, door, and ran towards the taxi,
And towards my new life..... yet again.
All the way to the airport I cried and cried.
God knows what the taxi driver thought.
I was flying out in the early hours, but I was going with two nuns and a few other women who, were also wanting to become nuns, but like me, could not yet become one.
I walked around the airport, hoping no one would recognise me.
I went over to the place I was to meet with everyone.
The nuns would have my ticket and explain everything to me.
I held tight to my cross I wore round my neck. Speaking to the mother Mary in my head.
I asked her to look after the kids and Emilio, and could she somehow know I was sorry for just leaving them.
I saw a woman walking in my direction. She looked familiar. She kept looking around, like she was looking for someone.
When she got closer, I realised who it was, and ran up to her.
Omg Bev is that you.
She looked shocked but delighted to see me.
She was carrying a small case, a bit like mine.
Liz is that you, she said looking me up and down.
It sure is, I replied, happy to see a face I knew, in this crowded airport of strangers.
So what you doing here she asked looking me up and down, once more.
Did I want to tell her I was wanting to be a nun, I was not ready for the world to know that yet, so I said I was off on a business trip.
And you, where are you off, I asked.
She looked around, and then she told me she was off on holiday to see a friend.
Not a man friend I said nudging her.
She looked around again, like she was looking out for someone.
Yeah she laughed, you know me, Liz.
But somehow I didn’t believe her, she looked on edge, like she was hiding something.
Then I saw a nun coming over to us.
Both me and Bev, cleared our throats.
Hmm I thought, what is Bev up to.
The nun came up to us and asked if we were here for the mercy trip.
Bev and me, looked at each other.
Then looked at the nun, and at the same time said yes.
Me and Bev looked at each other again, then I said really.
She replied and said well what’s it to you.
Then she realised I was going to, and said, hold on so you’re going as well.
My secret was out, as was hers.
Yes I said trying to be prim and proper.
The nun asked us our names,
She looked down on her sheet she was carrying, and ticket them off.
I am waiting for one more lady to arrive and then I will take you to meet sister, Bella.
Oh I am sister Hannah, by the way she said holding out her hand to shake ours.
I was in shock Bev wanted to be a nun, I thought she would chase men, until the day she died, but Maybe like me she had seen the light, or realised she was getting to old for the game.
We waited for a further fifteen minutes, then a lady with her hair platted, came up towards us.
I am sorry I am late sister, she said, I went past MC donald’s, and had to have a big mac, seeing it will be my last for a while.
I looked at her, she still had the burger relish around her mouth.
And it looked like a moustache, or was that a moustache she actually had.
And you must be Antoinette the nun asked putting out her hand to shake hers.
Yes but please call me Toni, as everyone usually spells my name wrong, and always do the joke, off with her head.
I looked at Bev, with a frown.
This woman could of passed for a nun any day, she looked like butter, wouldn’t melt, but I was to find out she also had a past.
Right ladies follow me sister and we will go meet sister Bella and explain everything.
The nuns told us when we got to Bucharest, we would then be driven to a small village, which needed our help badly.
The people there had next to nothing, but the sistes, went out every day to help the young old and those with addictions.
I could not speak Romanian, but the nuns told us the town’s folk understood some English, and we would get by.
We would be staying in a convent out there, but life would be like nothing we have ever known.
Sister Bella handed us a dark blue habit, and a veil each.
The town’s folk would not know, or really care if we were not actual nuns. As soon as they saw us, with this on, they would know we were there to help them.
And we were told when we arrived we would need to shave our heads.
My hair had grown a bit since I had cut most of it off, but I wasn’t looking forward to having no hair at all.
But they told us the people were not very clean, and lice infestation, was rife out there, so for our sakes it was better we had not hair.
Toni looked sad about this, as I think she was found of her hair, I bet when it wasn’t tied up in plats she had long hair like I did.
I looked at Bev and Toni, and said come on now ladies, we can all have egg heads together.
Bev and Toni laughed, the two nuns looked at each other, and frowned.
Sister, I piped up trying to be serious, will we need to have new passport photos taken.
No sister Hannah, answered, we have paper work for you here to say what you are doing and that you are in our care, we know you ladies are here to do work for other dear mother Mary and would not betray us, but running off, whilst out there now, would you ladies.
Bev, shivered like someone had stepped on her grave.
The nuns spoke with us some more, on what we would be doing, then our flight was called out and we made our way to departures.
The three of us changed into our habits and veils. We would get our hair shaved in Romania.
The nuns said we should pray while we waited to board the plane.
Then the call came for our flight.
We cued up at the departure gate, my mind was now set on Romania, and helping the poor. The praying had calmed me down, and was grateful, I at least knew someone going on this trip.
While standing in line, Bev asked me what happened between me and Emilio as she thought we were a match made, in heaven.
I don’t know if she knew about the affair rumours or not, but told her we just didn’t get on, and we parted.
The airport was noisy, but then there were a lot of people in it.
But I could hear someone shouting in the distance.
I tried to ignore it, but I could hear it getting louder.
The cue moved on slowly. Hurry up I thought.
The voice was getting nearer, and I recognised it.
It was Emilio, shouting my name.
I did not look round, and Bev even commented, ha,ha, someone wants you Liz. I pretended to laugh, but inside I was shitting my pants.
I was stood behind the nuns, but in front of Bev and Toni.
Liz where are you was all I could hear. The nuns looked around but knew me as my full name Elizabeth.
The nuns had got to the departure desk, they showed the attendants their tickets and passports, then they walked through the departure gate towards the plane.
At last it was my turn.
I handed my ticket and passport to the attendant.
Meanwhile I could here another voice now, James was calling out my name, and Bev recognised his voice.
I looked at her and she said I think they are calling for you Liz.
I looked back at the attendant.
He said I would need to remove my veil as I did not have one on in this photo.
I looked back at Bev, and behind her I could see James and Emilio looking around for me.
God know how they got into departures.
If I took my veil off, they would spot me, but if I didn’t I would not be getting on the plane.
Toni and Bev began to take theirs off, as they would be asked the same question.
I was holding the cue up and the attendant was getting impatient.
I turned around and could see and hear James an Emilio, still shouting for me.
I heard a lady not far down from us say, I wish those big mouth idiots would find this Liz and shut the hell up.
Something in me clicked and I went mad.
I pulled my veil off and stepped, out of line to see the woman who had just said that.
Snobby old cow, she was mutton dressed as lamb.
She saw me looking at her and smiled, but then looked away.
What did you just say?, I said nearly shouting at her.
Bev could see me getting angry and tried to push me away.
Excuse me sister, the woman said realising I was talking to her.
What did you just say, I repeated myself, but making strong eye contact with her. The rest of the cue looked to see what was going on while the attendant told me to hurry along. I turned round and told him to shut the fuck up for a minute.
He was taken aback by my words, and went red.
Bev grabbed me. Liz what are you doing.
I looked at Bev, and Toni stepped forward to try and calm me.
The woman piped up and said Jesus, you nuns want to get out once in a while, and started laughing.
I went crazy, pulled away from Bev and went up to her.
I went right in her face.
Who are you calling idiots?
The woman looked frightened, and backed away.
Well who you calling an idiot.
The people in the cue behind her stepped back.
Bev and Toni grabbed me to get back to the front of the cue, Bev started apologising, on my behalf, saying I always got like this before a flight.
I tried pulling off, when security came running in and grabbed me.
The whole airport was watching.
I told the men to get off me and Bev tried to calm me down.
She’s just nervous about flying, she will be ok when she’s on the plane, Bev was telling the security guards.
I stopped trying to pull away, and composed myself.
The men let me go, and I straightened my habit out.
I am sorry I said.
The men told me I should know better being a nun.
I had dropped my veil, in the struggle I bent to down to pick it up, and when I stood up again I saw Emilio and James looking right at me.
I went red but quickly turned around and headed back to the attendant.
Shaking, I told him how sorry I was, and didn’t mean to be so rude.
He looked at my passport again and then handed it back to me, then he told me to go through.
I heard Emilio shout my name again.
I looked around, I stared at him for a second then turned back around and walked towards the plane.