The Daughter of a Priest.
“Papa don't preach, I'm in trouble deep
Papa don't preach, I've been losing sleep
But I made up my mind, I'm keeping my baby, oh
I'm gonna keep my baby,”
Sarai Anthony was an ordinary six-teen year old girl in almost every sense of the word. She went to a normal state school, catholic of course, and hung out with her friends more than she saw her father. The thing that made her different from her friends, was that her father was a very very strict Catholic.
He was a priest, and took his job very seriously. He was available around the clock for his loyal and faithful congregation to come to, seeking advice and solace in the church. This often meant Sarai was woken in the middle of the night, by sobbing and distressed church goers, looking for her father.
Her mother had died in an accident when Sarai was three months old, and George Anthony had been left to parent her alone. Back then he had been a warehouse worker, but had turned to religion for comfort when her mother had passed.
He had volunteered for the church and quickly passed through the ranks, until finally getting himself ordained as a Priest when Sarai was ten years old. He had seen no problem with indoctrinating her into his church and lifestyle and had strived to build her as a good Catholic woman.
His strict approach to following the word of God was tiresome for Sarai; who although she took a deep comfort from the rites and rituals of the day to day operations of the church, actually hated the religion in which she had grown up. She had always been a bright child with a deep love for science and school, and seeing her father's religion through the eyes of a child, she had witnessed nothing but hate, blood shed and fear.
She was frequently rebelling in small ways, against the teachings of her father. She would question the scripture while in church; arguing the scientific standpoint on certain issues. She frequently volunteered to help out at the Sunday school, and would teach all the children about evolution, rather than the church's preference for creationism. She was often punished for her actions, but could never stop and accept that her father's religion was anything more than brainwashing.
One Wednesday afternoon, Sarai defied her father and his religion in a way that would change her life forever. Despite his insistence that she stay clear of boys, and that she must maintain her virginity until she was married, Sarai had slept with her long term boyfriend, John.
John was about as far away from anything her father would appreciate as she could find in her small town. He was all leather and metal, riding his motorcycle around town and drinking after school. He smoked, and had tattoos and when they had met, George had hated him.
He spent that entire evening when they were alone, telling Sarai that he only wanted her for one thing, he was a waster, wouldn't amount to anything and she was better off forgetting about him. She had laughed at him and told him he was being silly, she could look after herself. Then she left to go to bed, effectively ending the conversation.
Her night with John had been amazing, he was gentle and considerate and the whole evening had been perfect. Now she was home in bed, thinking about how her father would feel if he found out about her adventures today. She smiled to herself at the image of her father's red face, his nostrils flaring the way they do when he is angry with her. Sighing, she fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Life went on as normal for two months, she continued to see John in secret despite her father's frequent questions as to where she was heading off to. She had never let it get to her before, and she wasn't about to start now. One Saturday though, she was forced to face her father with a truth he didn't want to hear.
'Daddy?' Sarai called softly, at the door of his office.
'Come in Sweetheart, what do you need?' He looked up at her as she entered.
Sarai knew better than to look anything but sad, and her eyes never left the floor as she walked across the deep red carpet of his office.
'Daddy, I have something to tell you, and I don't want you to be angry. I know I am in trouble, and I need your support and guidance.' She tried to appeal to his beliefs and job to lessen the blow to come.
'Sarai, darling, whatever is the matter? You're worrying me. Sit down, tell me what is wrong.' George looked at his daughter intently.
'I... I'm pregnant.'
The colour drained from George's face. He was speechless, he stared at his daughter; looking for signs that this was another of her jokes, an attempt to wind him up, but when she would not meet his gaze he knew she was telling the truth.
'How did this happen? I thought I brought you up properly? I suppose it's this John who did this to you?' He was almost shaking with fury.
'Daddy, he didn't do this to me, we did it together. We have been together for a very long time, and we love each other. He says he's going to marry me, and we'll have a proper little family.' Sarai spoke quickly, trying to make him see reason.
George took a deep breath to calm himself and decided to take control of the situation.
'Sarai, I am going to make a few phone calls, and tomorrow morning we are going to the clinic to take care of this problem. Don't worry, Daddy will fix everything. I know you must be scared right now, but it's going to be OK.' Sarai was horrified at her father's words.
'Daddy! I thought taking the life of an unborn child was against God? You can't preach one thing to me all my life, and then do another, just because it suits you. You hypocrite, I suppose you'll be telling the congregation that abortion is fine when it suits you! No Dad, I'll be keeping my baby!' Sarai was screaming at him now; tears streaming down her face, as she turned and ran out of her father's office, and to her room.
George was beside himself in his office. He sat alone and miserable wondering what to do for the best. Eventually, knowing he would never find the answer on his own, he headed out to his church, intending to pray, to ask God what he should do. Inspiration hit him around thirty minutes later, and he set about putting his plan into action.
After she left the office, Sarai sobbed herself to sleep. She had expected him to be angry, but she never expected such hatred and hypocrisy from him, a devout man of God. The next morning, she found out what desperation can do to a man.
She arrived downstairs and found a large suitcase filled with clothes for her, and a bus timetable. Propped against the case, on the floor was a letter.
Please take these things, and anything else you might need from the house. The timetable I left you shows all the buses that are going out of town. I do not wish to know where you go, or who with. I expect you to be gone before I finish at the church today. I do not want to see you again. No daughter of mine will be a harlot, you will be condemned to Hell for your actions. My position here is too important to lose for your selfish desires. Goodbye,
Sarai cried freely, as she packed her remaining things and headed for the door. She didn't stop at the church on her way, she had no desire to see the man she had once called father. He had betrayed her for God and position. He had confirmed what she already believed. Religion was evil, it had destroyed her life.
She made her way to John's house and after she explained what had happened, they set off together, to start their life as far away from the Catholic church, and Sarai's father as they could.
© Copyright 2016 R A B Bradbury. All rights reserved.
Book / Literary Fiction
Short Story / Flash Fiction
Short Story / Flash Fiction
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