Flash Fiction: The First Communion

I remember the moment I fell in love with Cathy. I was kneeling at the alter, waiting to receive communion. I knew there’d been a confirmation service during the week and that this would be the first time for a few young people, including the vicar’s oldest daughter. I was thinking of my first time – of how proud I’d been. Of how my life had changed from that moment so that, even though it was only a few years ago, four to be exact, I could hardly remember my life before that point. The boy I had been. I offered up a prayer for those who had just been confirmed and as my lips uttered my ‘Amen’ I glanced to my right and there she was. I’d seen her before, of course, but it seemed to me then that I was seeing her for the first time. She was kneeling a few people down from me, her head modestly raised, her eyes on her father’s as he approached her with the bread, the body of Christ. She was holding her hands up, ready to receive, and trembling. He placed the wafer in her palms and she gazed at it for a few seconds before placing it in her mouth. She looked down as she chewed. I could see her hurrying, desperate to swallow before the wine reached her. She managed it just in time and looked up again. I saw her catch her breath as the cup was lowered to her. She touched it lightly with her fingers and put her lips to its edge. The cup was tipped and I watched her take the wine, the blood of Christ, into her mouth. She swallowed as the cup pulled away from her lips. They shone red from the wine. She licked them, her eyes on the floor. She muttered a brief prayer, looked around her then raised herself to her feet. She bowed, then turned and walked back down the aisle.

I glanced at her as I walked past her pew, back to my own. She was praying but I think I saw her eyes slide to me then jump back to her clasped hands and the floor beyond them. I smiled to myself. God had shown me my wife.

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