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being force-fed rats, toads, and snakes in Hell for all eternity. Everyone in the church would be impressed. When the confessional’s slat shot back, my heart stopped. I mumbled my confession. I knew I’d be kneeling at the marble altar rail until the end of time, but the priest didn’t see it that way at all. I said my three Hail Marys as slowly as I could then I rose from my knees with my heart scrubbed clean and left the church as anonymous as I had entered which is probably what I wanted all along. I couldn’t sleep the night before my First Communion. What if the host fell out of my mouth or stuck to my tongue. I knew that happened from time to time. To avoid that disaster, I had practiced with my A Lonely Afternoon, Veronica’s Café, Kenai Joe Kashi friend Joey. For the host, we used Necco Wafers and for the altar rail we used a slab have been three hours later when a neighbor saw me of granite in the Nason’s back yard. In exchange for a roll and led me home like a lost sheep. It was raining and I of Necco Wafers, Joey’s older cousin, an altar boy, played was soaked to the skin. My father was still out looking for Father O’Conner, and just to make sure we were not being me. My mother thanked the neighbor and told me to get influenced by the devil, we each received the Necco host undressed and go to my room. When I was called down thirty three times, once for every year Jesus walked this for supper, I heard her say, “He’s just like you. He doesn’t earth. When Sunday came, I was ready. know what he’s doing,” to my father. At that moment, I knew that I was the cause of her unhappiness. Tolstoy wrote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy I was determined to please my mother. After seeing her family is unhappy in its own way.” No child wants to laugh and laugh at Milton Berle in drag on his television admit that his parents are unhappy, but what happened show while we were visiting her friend, Madeline, a immediately after I made my First Communion was the neighbor from before I was born. Madeline and her first time I sensed that mine was a very unhappy family. husband, Dusty, had the first television set in the First Communion is a time of celebration. Aunts and neighborhood. I woke up the following morning certain uncles, godparents, and even neighbors come together I knew how to make her smile, and I would. to celebrate and congratulate the new communicant, but the only people I knew would be there were my parents I was probably eight at the time so it was 1948. Uncle Milty and perhaps my sister. When I rushed down the church was the king of television. After I got home from school stairs into a crowd of waiting people my parents were that day, I put on one of her dresses and her high heels. nowhere to be found. I decided to walk home alone. The dress must have touched the floor. To complete my outfit, I put on her lipstick and her hat then I made my It was raining and the shoes my father had spent hours way slowly down the steep stairs. It’s a wonder I didn’t dying black were once again brown. My white socks were fall. When she saw me she rushed to me and slapped me gray. It was a short mile from Oak Street to the church. as hard as she could then she screamed, “Don’t ever do Halfway home I decided to go back and look for them. By that again.” Nothing else. It was years before I realized that time the church yard was empty so I started home what “that” was. She was afraid I was a fairy, a fag in the again. I decided to go another way and got lost. It must

Cirque, Vol. 7 No. 1  

A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim

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