GOD DOESN’T MAKE MISTAKES
By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
The jingle of the bell over the diner’s glass front door announces the arrival of another early morning patron. I look up briefly, see it is not my friend, and return my full attention to the bacon-cheeseburger in front of me… a half pound of Montana’s finest beef sirloin, ground and grilled to medium rare perfection!
“Can I get you anything else, Sister?” Ramona stops in front of the booth, a tray of breakfast dishes balanced on one hand.
“Do you know if Otto found any more of that blue créme soda he had the last time I was in?” I look up at the silver-haired waitress hopefully. “Oh… and I emptied your A-1.” I add.
“Coming right up, dear.” She bustles off. The bell chimes again… Jenny walks in the door and makes her way over to my window-front booth.
“A cheeseburger and fries at 6 o’clock in the morning, Roni?” She slides in the other side of the booth.
“The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast!” I reply with a wink, and offer up the half-eaten burger… “Want a bite?” Ignoring my Pulp Fiction reference, Jenny casts a skeptical eye at my dripping, medium rare offering.
“Ugh! Is that peanut butter?”
“Yep!” I cheerfully acknowledge, popping the fat fry the peanut butter dripped onto in my mouth and smacking my lips in satisfaction. I give Jenny another wink.
“How can you eat this… this… stuff?”
“’I can do all things through Christ, who…’” Small smile of satisfaction.
“I’m pretty sure that is not what Paul had in mind, Roni. I don’t think the Philippians were much on grease-laden hamburgers dripping cheese and peanut butter. Besides, didn’t Paul also say something in Romans about treating your body as a temple?”
Not really wanting to get into a theological debate with my friend, I change the subject.
“What do you think of my new ‘wheels’?” I ask, sliding my leg out from under the table and propping it on the edge.
“Oh no! Sister Veronica, the rollerblading nun? I don’t think St. Elizabeth’s is ready for this. You are one decidedly odd girl… you do know that?” Jenny’s soft laughter fills the booth.
I flash my pearly-whites at Jenny in a wide grin and rake my palm over the neon-green polyurethane wheels, making them spin.
“Sister, not nun… I could never live the cloistered life of a nun….
I decided my rainbow Vespa was a little too flashy… besides; roller blades are ‘eco-friendly’.”
“You decided, or Mother Superior decided for you? Let’s see… bright pink boots… neon green wheels with yellow caps… and purple glitter-laces. Yeah… nothing flashy about these babies, is there?” Jenny gives me her patented eye-roll.
“Yeah… yeah… yeah… here, help me finish these fries. I have to get back to the orphanage.” I say, pushing the plate across the table.
Out on the sidewalk…. walking back to St. Elizabeth’s…
I pull Jenny into the recessed entrance of the recently closed furniture store a few doors down from Otto’s. Standing almost nose to nose, I take her hands and press them to my breasts… loose under my habit, and I might add… in violation of Mother Superior’s edict about the ‘proper accoutrements’ for a sister. But, hey… I am having sex with another woman… I think getting caught without a brassiere is the least of my concerns, yes?
“Did you get ‘our’ room at the Walford… the one with the big jacuzzi?” I ask my friend and lover. Jenny nods… a wicked little smile crossing her lips. Her hands are still pressed to my breasts… my arousal evident against the tender flesh of her palms.
“I brought that little outfit I had in Portland… oh, Roni… I can’t wait… it has been almost a month!” Pressing against each other, I feel the heat of her desire. I tilt my chin up… our lips meet… it can’t be wrong… something that feels so right…
Back at the orphanage, I run into Sister Abigail, on the way to my room to change footwear.
“Sister Veronica! Mother Superior has been asking about you for the last half hour! Did you forget your appointment?” Lowering her voice… “She does not seem in the best of moods. I should not keep her waiting, if I were you, Sister…”
Great, I think to myself, casting my eyes upward and offering a silent prayer… Heavenly Father, grant that I may…
All too aware of my ‘penance’ for keeping Mother Superior waiting, I zip down the long corridor of the west wing. My new rollerblades make a quiet ‘thrum’ as I glide along, weaving back and forth… the long skirt of my habit flapping behind me.
Just as I rounded the corner to the Mother Superior’s office, the door swung outward. I quickly heeled back on my right skate… the neoprene brake making a slight squeal on the polished hardwood as I quickly came to a rather awkward stop.
“Sister Veronica! You are…” Mother Superior pauses and looks down at her watch… “… fourteen minutes and thirty-two seconds late!” She looks at me over the top of her reading glasses, perched on the tip of her nose… lips pursed. Drawing back a little… her gaze moving up and down my petite frame.
“You look different, child.” Her eyes narrow in suspicion. Yeah… that’s because I’m three inches taller in these skates and you’re not looking down at me. I wisely keep this thought to myself.
“A little flushed is all, Mother Superior. The air is crisp out this morning, is it not?” I try a disarming smile. She ushers me into the office… mercifully the floor is carpeted, else my rollerblades would surely be discovered and I would get a lecture on appropriate footwear for a nun… not to mention a reminder about wheeled devices indoor.
Last year, I bought one of those little Razor scooters, and rode it everywhere… the orphanage… the dormitories… classrooms. The children loved the little ‘physics demonstrations’ I would put on. Learning should be fun, right?
And then… Mother Superior returned from conference. We had a ‘talk’. Shortly after that, a revised list of rules went up inside the sisters’ dormitory. The last line read…
“Skateboards and scooters are not permitted inside the buildings.”
Two days later, a stick figure drawing of a nun on a scooter appeared below this edict.
Several minutes are spent in silence while Mother Superior arranges some papers on her desk. I stand in front of the desk… waiting… my ankles starting to get a little sore… rollerblades are not meant for standing still in.
“The monsignor was impressed with your fundraising efforts for the orphanage… quite impressed… $400,000 is a great deal of money. The monsignor would like to pass on his personal thanks to our benefactors…” Mother Superior looks up at me… the question in her eyes.
“That is most generous of the monsignor, but I… I believe they wish to remain anonymous.” I offer. I have much for confession this Sunday, I fear…
“I see. Well, we must respect their wishes, I suppose.” She eyes me speculatively. Just then, my left ankle gives a little… my body not yet accustomed to the rollerblades.
“Child… you are unsteady. Are you not well?”
“I am fine, Mother Superior.”
“You are flushed. Sit down… on the sofa.”
I start to protest, but… one does not argue with Mother Superior. I ‘step’ over to the sofa and sit down… my rollerblades now revealed. You are so busted, Veronica!
Mother Superior says nothing; she just stares at the rollerblades… bright pink boots… neon green wheels… purple glitter-laces. Her manicured fingertips tap on the desktop.
“I am disappointed, Sister. I thought we had an understanding as to the proper means of locomotion inside these walls?”
“I’m sorry, Mother Superior… it won’t happen again.” I make no effort to explain… it would only be seen as an excuse… and excuses do not sit well with Mother Superior.
“A bit ostentatious, don’t you think, Sister?”
“Oh, not at all…” I stop… “Well, maybe a bit… but, the children do like them!” I offer up a little smile.
“Speaking of the children… I shan’t keep you any longer. I believe you have a class this morning?”
“Yes, Mother Superior.” I stand to go.
“Yes, Mother Superior?”
“You will leave those…” Pointing down at the rollerblades… “… those things in your room, yes?”
“Yes, Mother Superior.” I start for the door.
“There was another matter, Sister…” She pauses…
I stand there… waiting.
“The monsignor mentioned to me… in passing… a rumor, perhaps…. a midnight poker game on the campus… playing for communion wafers… your name came up…”
The question hangs heavy in the air.
“I assured the monsignor it was just that… a rumor. I said that Sister Veronica wouldn’t know the difference between a full house and a flush…”
“A flush is five cards in the same suit and…” My mouth snaps shut.
I smile and back carefully towards the door…
© 2012 – Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw. All Rights Reserved