When in Rome

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

love affair with a Catholic priest

Submitted: February 20, 2018

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Submitted: February 20, 2018



 You don't meet someone like that and your world not be changed forever. Looking back, I should have realized this, thought it through. But I never meant for it to happen. And by that I mean I never expected it to happen. Once things were in motion I darn sure meant for things to happen. I know some people will never understand and think I crossed some sort of " unspoken" boundary. I remember telling him once he reminded me of that song " I knew you were trouble when you walked in." I truly loved him and that allowed the fact that he was a priest to be pushed from my memory, but he was never able to forget it.

 A few years ago the most exciting thing I did was take my dog to the park. I also cared for my mom, who was dying, dividing my time between my house, work, and my childhood home. Mom and I had some wonderful talks on nights she was in too much pain to sleep. I wouldn't trade those talks for a million dollars. She knew my best friend Sherry and I planned a trip to Italy in the spring. It had all been arranged with some little old VERY Italian sounding priest who was to be our tour guide. One night, mom told me " I hope you meet someone in Italy and have the best love affair of your life"  " I'm 48 years old mom" I reminded her. " that ship has sailed."  " Never say never" she grinned at me. Mom's grin was beautiful and priceless,especially since I knew she felt awful.

Mom passed about a month later. Sometimes I think falling in love with Anthony was my way of fulfilling mom's hopes for me. It was several months later that Sherry and I flew to Italy. We landed in Rome and one of our tour guides, Rosalinda, was waiting for everyone with a sign that stated the name of the tour company. There were about 25 of us, we were all herded onto a bus eagerly anticipating our first night at the Hotel de Consoli. The bus stopped to let on a muscular bald swarthy man wearing a Roman Collar. I turned to Sherry, "THAT'S Father Anthony? That's the "little old" Italian priest we have been talking with?"

Anthony's zest for life was enchanting. I had never been around someone so k knowledgeable and confident. To be in his presence was a powerful experience, almost hypnotic for me. I found him quite charming, if somewhat unsettling. At times his glance would linger on me just a little too long. We were never alone until that last day in Pompei when I climbed off the bus and down an old stone staircase to use the restroom. He was climbing up the stairs and his soft brown eyes bore into mine. " I have really enjoyed meeting you" he said " contact me if you ever need anything and remember, we are familia now."

When I had been back in the states a few weeks I emailed him, not quite believing I would get a response. " Thank you for being such a good host" I wrote. To my surprise the response was immediate. " What color toe nail polish are you wearing?" I could feel my pulse quicken. " Excuse me?" I asked.  " In Rome, your toenails had blue polish, I liked that" WHAT? This important, charismatic, attractive and powerful man had noticed my toenails?? I was flattered. We began exchanging several e mails a week and then he called me. He was leading a tour group through Ireland and was calling from dinner. I won't lie- I felt important. Anthony asked if we could meet for a weekend in Chicago. I told my best friend, she and her boyfriend would accompany me. I was so excited on the drive to Chicago, feeling that Anthony and I had a connection people wouldn't understand. As we got closer to our destination, I told my friends " maybe I have this all wrong. He is a priest, after all,and he probably wouldn't dream of breaking his vows. I'll be happy to see him anyway. I can't help but smile when I'm around him." DING! A text from him " I'm going to give you the biggest hug ever." A friendly hug, I rationalized, not wanting to admit how much I cared.

I saw him in the hotel lobby. We hugged and grinned from ear to ear at each other. " Can I put my bags in your room?" he asked after I checked in.My heart was racing as we rode the elevator. Once inside the door, he wrapped me in a big hug, so big we fell on the bed together. We pulled back at the same time, stared at one another, then at the same moment burst out laughing. " I knew you would be a good kisser" I told him.  " Me too", he said " I noticed you when I first walked on the bus." After that it was official- I was in love with a priest.

Anthony and I began skyping often and soon he persuaded me to return to Italy as his guest. My return trip was a dream. With the group we would smile and hug and say we were old friends. During his "down time" we would walk hand in hand through the streets of Rome and return to his hotel suite to make passionate love. On my last night in Rome I was so sad I couldn't make it to dinner with everyone. I heard a knock on the door around 9- it was him. Anthony's brown eyes looked so downtrodden when he told me " that was the saddest meal of my life." We then went to his room and made love again, but on the walk there he looked defeated- like a man who's demons were getting the better of him.

It has been years since that grand affair. We kept in touch for a while and visited with each other a few times. But I came to realize loving a priest is futile- we would never fit into each others lives. And in moments when I am totally honest with myself I know this was not a " first time blunder" for Anthony but a way of life. I so bought in to what he told me at the time, that love was supposed to be easy and if it was difficult it wasn't right. Now I know that sometimes it IS difficult and two people working together through the hard times makes the easy times that much sweeter. I will never forget my time in Italy. It was a grand love affair for me, and that is all that counts in the end.

© Copyright 2019 Judy Spencer. All rights reserved.

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