DGAR. MURPHY 13.8.02.

                                                       WHITEFRIAR STREET CHURCH,  DUBLIN.

"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned."

The air in the chapel was anything but forgiving. The Confessional seemed stuffy. My palms were sweating and my brow was damp; my own breath seemed to bathe me. I wanted to be anywhere but here. I wanted to be nowhere else.

"It has been 5 days since my last confession."

And I said nothing else, trying to keep the tears inside, and trying to keep the damned sobs down in my throat.

I have sinned, was all I could have thought.

I have sinned. I have sinned. I have sinned.

I had been on God's Earth for 36 years, and not one of them had been spent innocently. Many had been spent as the Devil himself. All but one had been squandered in darkness. This year. This year, which still harboured the 5 most sinful days of my life.

I hadn't gone on. The Reverend spoke, expectant: "Confess your mortal sins."

I let my eyes roll over in their sockets towards the half-obscured figure on the other side of the dividing line.

How I thanked those wooden slats. How I resented them.

"I have..." I began.

I wrung my hands.

I wiped my brow.

I choked;

"...I have sinned."

And then I cried.

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