Confessions Made in the Last Candlelight

The Padre's cabin was as a former monk's cabin would be.  Simple, stoic, sparse.  Pure, peaceful, and plain.  Two bunk beds, one with a trundle bed tucked beneath it, each bed tucked neatly with a dark green blanket.  On each of the bunk beds, a grey blanket was well-folded and placed where a white pillow might have been expected.

In the middle of the cabin, a wooden table set on a gold and black rug, patterned as if made by one of the Native American women who often sold their wares at the Rendezvous  held each year at the Big Waters.  On the table, three candles ... I assumed Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Yet, I saw no holy statues or holy books, possibly the monastic life had become long forgotten.  No pictures on the walls, no memories placed lovingly here or there, only boots by the door, towels by the wash basin sitting in the empty corner of the room, a n over-sized, over-stuffed, over-used duffel bag leaning up against one of two chairs.  Near the first bunk, a sizable locker box on the scale of a modest steamer trunk, painted black and brown, no lock.  I found out later that it was in this one box that the grey cloaked Padre kept the stuff of the life he had lived thus far.  Everything else had been left behind.

The Padre hung his lantern on the doorpost peg; then he directed me to set mine on the post of the near bunk; then Granddad was told, "Two lanterns will be enough."  Granddad dialed his down, the lantern light dimmed.  Then the mantle glowed for awhile before fading dark.  There is something sad about a lantern falling cold.

Squire found his place at the foot of the far bunk.  I assumed that must be the Padre's.  Squire gave a sniff or two, then circled round and round in that bedding dance that dogs always do.  Snuggled into his own fur, but kept quiet watch over the doings of his human cabin mates.

I tried to keep the evening going but Granddad gave me that look which says to grandsons, "It's time to go to bed."  I removed my coat, removed my boots, then was directed to climb into the upper bunk.  I was rather surprised to find a muslin sheet beneath that dark green blanket.  I  fluffed the grey blanket into the best pillow I could make.  And I was gone, plunging headfirst into the deepest sleep I had ever known. 

Sometime later, I half awoke.  I could hear quiet voices, deep voices, rather prayerful voices.  The lantern light was no more, just candlelight filled the room with that tallow-ed flicker that only candles can create.  I peeked through the fog that comes with almost waking up.  Two old men, both rugged and devout, sharing solemn thoughts with downward eyes and with intermittent silence.

Before I fell back into my sleep once more, the Padre reached out and with open palm, touched my Granddad's head.  The candlelight refracted for a moment through their tears, and specks of rainbow filled the air.


The End

34 comments about this story Feed