Unchained melody

Late last night I entered an empty church hidden on a hill above the Colosseum. I thought it was empty but then I heard voices and I followed them to a confessional.

The soft voice was yours and the listening ears were mine.

I heard your confession.

I knew what you needed and it wasn’t forgiveness.

The next thing I knew I was giving communion: “This is my heart, breaking for you …”

Just as suddenly I was alone in the dark, candles flickering, incense burning. Right in front of me were the chains that once held St. Peter. They were black and holy in an unholy way and I hated them. I picked them up and threw them, spinning, into the air.

They were still spinning as I ran through the door and into the moonlight. I can’t say whether they ever hit the marble floor. I was already running down the steps and down the street. For all I knew the chains continued to spin through the centuries and were still spinning now.

I ran through the tunnel where a saxophone player blew a soulful tune.

Yes, yes, yesssss …

I stopped long enough to untie the rope around my waist and drop it into his hat. Then I ran back and added every coin I had.

“Play well for me,” I said and hurried on.

I caught up with you at the bottom of the hill. You turned and smiled, or was that the sun coming up?

BOOKS BY AL RISKE

Precarious | Sabrina’s Window | The Possibility of Snow | Then We’d Be Happy