Knowing his vacation was coming to an end, Matthew began preparing himself to go back to his calm, secluded life. The memory of his latest murder had already faded from his mind and he now felt like himself again, what he considered his true self. The one he was ordained to be before the misguided affections of his mother robbed him of so much. Standing before the bathroom mirror, he shaved the week old stubble that had grown. At 35 years old, he had managed to retain much of his youthfulness. His eyes seemed still, inviting even. Eyes you could trust. He smiled and washed the shaving cream away. A new man, he thought. Time to go home.
Luckily for him, the 78 year old lady who had rented him the apartment was rarely a bother. He had been able to order his activities as he pleased, he liked that. He liked order. He had chosen his profession because it afforded him restraint and routine, something he desperately needed as he battled the demons of his past. He took a last look at the house, then stepped into the rented sedan he had been using; the car roared to life and he made his way to the airport.
“Passport, please.”, she was a brunette; young. Maybe 23. She smiled at him, as she took the passport and completed the check in procedure. Matthew stared at her intently, she kept her head down, giving him the opportunity to take her in. She was his type. Caramel coloured skin, deep brown eyes. Her uniform stretched tight over a taunt young body. He felt that familiar stirring and clutched the railing tightly. “Are you alright, sir?” , she had looked up. Matthew faked a smile and nodded quickly. He took his documents and stepped away from the counter. He needed to get home. He needed the certainty of home. The security check, boarding and flight itself went by in a blur. He vaguely remember a teenage boy asking something about his choice of dress and something about his collar, he hadn’t been paying attention.
Some three hours later, he flopped down on his bed. No sooner had he closed his eyes than the phone rang. “Hello?”, “Matthew, my boy. Glad to have you back.”, it was Steve. Steve had been a father to Matthew, in more ways than one. He had ensured that Matthew was taken from his mother’s care and raised at St. Joseph’s Place of Safety. They developed a very warm relationship and Matthew often felt that he should tell him about his internal struggles, fear kept him from doing so. He kept telling himself he could overcome it alone. The vacation had been Steve’s gift, so proud was he that Matthew had finished the last 7 years of studying, he had sent him away to enjoy a month of rest and relaxation. “Yes Father, I’m back.”, Matthew replied. “Ready for your big debut tomorrow?”, Steve asked. Matthew hesitated, he wasn’t sure he was ready, but he saw it as a necessary step in overcoming his struggle. “Yes, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” , he finally responded. “Glad to hear it!”, Steven chimed, “I’ll be right there in the front.” Matthew chuckled and put the phone back into the receiver. He then drifted into an uneasy sleep, his mother’s voice drifting in and out of his consciousness. “Do you love me Matt?”
The sunlight drifted lazily through the window and Matthew reluctantly opened his eyes. He felt excitement building inside him, could he really pull this off? He would finally see. He took a quick shower, dressed, had a cup of coffee and made his way across the courtyard. Hundreds of people had assembled by now to hear him speak. He was going to do his best to prove her wrong. For so long she had told him that nothing good could ever come of him. She was wrong. He would show her. Yes, he had faltered along the way, even recently; but he was hopeful. He was back in the safety of his home. He had Steve. He would be alright.
Steve greeted him with a warm hug, whispered “God be with you” and patted him on the back. Matthew took the walk from the vestry to the main sanctuary; the congregation sat expectantly, they were waiting. At the very back of the building the crucifix seemed to stare back at him. He smiled, made the sign of the cross and began his very first sermon.
To Be Continued.