I had been in the small village helping the nuns, for almost six months now.
It had not been easy at first. Not easy by far. I had never seen such poverty.
Most money raised for the poor starving and neglected goes to Africa, but people needed to know there were other countries and places around the world, which were just as bad.
Bev left after a month it was just too much for her, and she was getting on, so she could not keep up with all the work.
Toni and I were still here, but deep down if I had the choice to leave at any moment I would be on the next plane out of there.
I found out Toni, use to be a drug dealer, as well as a user, to look at her you would never of guessed, but I suppose it takes all sorts. She finally got clean, and wanted to go out into the world to help others.
I had not heard from anyone back in England. Mind you I did not leave an address for them to contact me. At the time I just wanted to get away, before my feelings for Emilio, got strong again.
But every night I and any spare time I had, which was not much, I would sit and think about him and the kids.
I had hoped they might come looking for me. But no one came.
There was a phone at the convent, but I never rang anyone on it, and no one rang for me.
I just accepted that they had let me go.
Me, and Toni got on well. And a few other women had come out to help as well.
But I was not keen on the nuns, they were like power freaks. Who made us live on the bread line, like the poor, while they ate well, and were always clean. We were lucky to get a bath once a week, and it was not even with hot water, so some times we never even washed, which annoyed me, as I had always been a clean person. But for the sake of the Virgin Mary I kept my head down and helped with the towns people.
I had been working with the alcoholics and drug addicts. Mind you seeing they were so poor I wondered where they got the money from to get drunk and high.
I told them how I was when I was an alcoholic, and those who could understand me, told me why they were drinking.
I had to admit if I had been born in this village I would of ended my life through drink years back.
Toni had been put to work with the elderly, and she enjoyed her work, working with drug addicts, would of been too much and she could of been tempted back.
My job was more intense, as the people I met with could be very dangerous and violent at times, but I learnt to watch for the signs.
I man did once try going at me, but I punched him in the face, and knocked him clean out.
The nuns pulled me up on this, but I was defending myself, and argued the case with them.
They let me carry on with the job as no one else wanted it.
Christmas had come and gone.
I wondered how the kids got on. They were at boarding school term time only. I bet Samantha hated me.
But I was not a proper mother to her or Joseph, in that state I was. Without me there, she would in time get over me, and be happy with her dad, whom she was so very close to.
I did hope Emilio had gone back to the opera, and if he wanted to be with Olivia he could now do.
For the next few more months I ploughed on helping others, a lot worse off than me, but I was starting to feel drained.
Yes I was doing a good thing helping these people, but I did picture myself, in a better role.
The twins thirteenth birthday was coming up and I really wanted to let them know, I still loved and thought about them every day. But I was to be contacted, before I could get the chance to contact anyone.
I was in a meeting with the drinkers, when Sister Agatha came running in and told me I was needed on the phone straight away.
I was dreading what I would hear on the other end.
I ran up to the convent, saying hail Mary over and over , until I got to the phone.
Shaking I picked it up and said hello.
Liz is that you, a voice answered.
Yes I said not remembering the name that went with the voice.
It’s me Kate, the person said.
Oh thank god I said, relieved, it wasn’t the kids or Emilio, I would of not known what to say.
Liz you’re a hard person to track down, you never left anyone any contact details.
Kate said, in a hurry to get out whatever she had to tell me.
Sorry about that, I replied, and what did she have to tell me.
Look Liz, I have some news, she went on.
I took out my cross that I usually wear around my neck, from my pocket, and held it tight. As I waited for her to tell me whatever it was, she had called me for.
First of all, Emilio’s agreed to the divorce, but it has taken me two weeks to track you down, Kate said.
Breathing out a sigh of relief, I held my cross up to my mouth and kissed it, but inside I was hurting, for a love that died.
Replying quickly, I said, so do you want me to come home to sign the papers and get it sorted?
Liz there is something else.
Her voice changed.
I held my breath.
Liz, Emilio was in an accident last week.
I said nothing, and fearing the worst, I let go of my cross, and it fell to the floor.
Liz are you still there, I heard Kate say down the phone.
I fell to the floor as well. My heart was pounding I wanted to scream, but couldn’t. No sound came, just tears.
I would never see my love again.
Liz can you hear me, Kate was shouting down the phone.
With tears falling, I answered yes.
Liz he is in a bad way, she said.
What, he’s still alive, oh thank god, thank the blessed mother, I said in my head.
Liz you need to go home to be with Sam, she needs you, Kate said sounding sincere.
I didn’t know what to say, but I had, had enough of this place and was leaving.
Ok I said, I need to make arrangements. I replied.
No need Liz, I have booked you a flight, all you need to do is get to the airport, can you do that, your plane leaves tonight.
It was a few hours’ drive to the airport, I would need to leave now.
I told her I would be there.
Kate wished me luck and to keep in touch when I got back to the UK.
I said goodbye, but before running to ask one of the sisters to take me to the airport, I thought about all I was going back to.
And how ill was Emilio.
But I was still his wife and I needed to be there for the kids now
I rushed to find one of the sisters. I told her I had to leave immediately and could someone give me a lift to the airport.
She said she would tell the other nuns.
I told her I would pack my stuff and would be in my room.
I decided I would wear the clothes I left the UK in, I had not wore them since I was at the airport, the day I left to come out here. They were not clean, and I had no time to get cleaned up myself, but I was only interested on getting on that flight.
I had lost a lot of weight, so they were hanging like rags on me.
I took my veil off, and looked at my head in the mirror.
I had shaved it the day before, so was bold as a coot.
I looked a mess. I could pass for one of the poor Romanians I had been caring for.
No one came to my room, and I had been waiting for ages. So I took my case, and went looking for the nuns.
I found sister Bella, I asked if she had been informed of my request to be taken to the airport.
She said she had been told, but was too busy, to just drive me to the airport.
I asked if someone else could drive me then.
I was taken aback with this.
We have gods work to do, she said not even looking at me. Do you think we are going to drop everything, because, you want to go back and see your husband, whom, you are divorcing.
I was very hurt by her words.
He’s been in an accident sister, he’s very ill and my kids need me. I said almost begging.
You gave up your family when you decided you wanted to join the mother Mary and the sisters, did you not, she said trying to be smug
I could not believe she was saying this.
Sister while I have been here, I have done all you have asked of me, now can you not do me this favour.
Sister Bella, turned to me, with a nasty look.
I have already told you we have gods work to do,
Before she could finish, I butted in
Fuck god, now if you won’t give me a lift, I will take your fucking car and drive myself there.
Sister Bella stepped back and looked at me with her mouth open.
Well I said, will you give me your car keys, or will I have to take them by force.
I was full of such anger, I really would of hurt her if she never gave me the keys.
She took the car keys from the pocket in her habit.
Shaking, she gave me them.
I grabbed them from her hand and ran,
I got in the car, and I saw Toni running up towards me.
Liz where are you going she asked.
Sorry Toni, I said starting the old banger. I have a family who needs me, and I am going back to be with them.
I could see other nuns and sisters, running towards the car, and behind them sister Bella.
I looked at Toni dressed in her veil and habit, I wished her well, and to have a nice life.
The nuns were getting closer, so I put my foot down and sped off, out of the convent.
I had not been this stressed in months. But I had to get that plane home.
I couldn’t reads road signs very well. I just hoped I could remember the roads we came in on all those months back.
Time was running out. I had to stop and ask people, which way it was to the airport, half could not understand me.
But then a miracle happened.
I saw a sign with an aeroplane on it, and I knew I was nearly there.
I parked the car up and chucked the keys on the seat.
I got out, and ran towards the entrance. I could hear a man shouting something in Romanian; probably something like you can’t leave your car here.
I got inside and ran towards the information desk.
Thank god the woman at the desk could speak English.
I told her I had a ticket waiting for me.
She checked it out.
Yes there was a ticket for me, but I had to hurry as my flight was closing as they had brought it forward.
I ran like the wind, to where I had to check in.
I made it with a minute to go.
I showed them my passport and they did query it, as seeing I had no hair now.
I explained I had been with the nuns, and had to shave my hair.
A supervisor was called and they were speaking in Romanian, but looking me up and down.
I had packed my habit and veil and got them out to show them.
Then I remembered I have dropped my cross in the convent, but never picked it back up.
That had been my comfort, and connection to the mother Mary, now I would never see it again.
But none of that mattered now, I had to get back to Emilio and the kids.
Finally the supervisor said it was ok, and I could fly.
I ran to departures, and I only just made that as well.
Again I was questioned about my photo, and nearly got into an argument, trying to prove who I was.
My case had gone in the hold so I could not get my habit and veil out to prove I was a nun again.
Then I saw the supervisor, who I had just spoke to, walking towards me.
Holding a walkie talkie he shouted to the attendant, something in Romanian, and the attendant, nodded, and said I could go.
I never felt so relieved in all my life.
As I made my way to my seat, all the other passengers were looking at me with disgust. Not sure if it was because I had nearly held the plane up or, because of the way I looked,
I sat down, and just stared into space.
I was going home.
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