Friday, April 19, 2013

A Frustrating Day for Cardinal Fratelli (part II)

Throughout dinner, Cardinal Fratelli managed to avoid Veronica’s flirtatious glances. He hoped her father would intervene but he was already too drunk with wine. Thank goodness, Fratelli thought, he hasn’t asked for more. In order to be rid of the temptation, the cardinal quickly poured a last glass and drank it.
Noticing, Sergio laughed.
“No more wine?” he asked.
“No.” Fratelli said.
Veronica giggled at him while her mother, Julia, yawned.
“My dear, I am tired,” she mumbled, “It is so late. Should we be off?”
Yes,” Fratelli interrupted before the sluggish Sergio could reply.
Getting the message, Sergio stood. He shook crumbs off his fine attire, straitened his hair and helped his wife from her chair. Veronica unseated last. She seemed reluctant to leave, almost disappointed. Perhaps upset she cannot ogle me anymore…Fratelli mused. Of course he didn’t say anything about it. With polite smiles, he gave Sergio and his family farewell, guided them out and blessed them on their way.

~ ~ ~

 When their carriage finally disappeared from sight, he closed the door and sighed in relief. “Now, I can have quiet,” Fratelli said, “…and peace.”
However, his stomach began churning, uneasy from that last, quick drink of wine. Not yet going upstairs, he strolled into the parlor where he blew out the only candlelight, signaling that all in this house were asleep- and thus unavailable. Cardinal Fratelli realized he was never quite unavailable. The rigors of his office called at all hours. Even in the late night, someone could need him. A widow could knock at his door, a prisoner flee to his cathedral or a random penitent appear. Indeed, he could be summoned to give some poor soul final anointing…He was constantly on guard against these things.
“Oh Lord, how can the servant expect rest when he was made for work?” he asked the darkness. No one answered. He spoke again.
“Your Eminence,” a voice suddenly said, “Who are you talking to?”
“Oh Rodrigo,” he exclaimed, seeing a white-robed figure perch on the staircase, “I was just conversing with my Lord.”
“Let me know if he ever talks back,” the priest sneered. He didn’t mean to be rude and was just tired. Cardinal Fratelli hid his irritation. He approached Father Rodrigo, put an arm around him and said, “Let us retire. The morning will not be long, my stomach hurts… and now my head hurts.”

No comments:

Post a Comment