Somebody’s Gotta Have Faith
Claudia Del Balso
I should feel guilty, but I am not! I think. Damn it, I’m not even a Believer! These thoughts had better not haunt me, not now, not ever! I’m about to become Mrs. Jacob Rowan and it’s all that matters. I see Mom’s face in the mirror; I can see her trembling smile and dewy eyes as she fixes up my veil. I’ve been waiting for this day since I met Jacob.
“Oh, Grace you look beautiful!” Mom tells me.
I turn to face her and say, “I love you, Mom.”
Father Michael, Jacob’s uncle, comes into to the sacristy where my mom and I await the toll of the bells announcing my arrival. Last night at rehearsal, Donna, Jacob’s mother, had asked me to wait here. She said she wanted to give me her blessing before I entered the church. I don’t know if those words come from one of the ‘Trinity of her Divine Personality’: the Mother, the Psychologist, or the Roman Catholic.
Michael greets me in a friendly, yet dry tone, “Hello Grace.”
“Hi Father,” I say.
Our stares form a triangle as we look at each other. Mom doesn’t say anything. Michael’s presence is as uncomfortable as wearing pantyhose in summertime. It’s obvious none of us have anything else to add. This silence is more frightening than the thought of going to ‘Hell’ —that’s if there is one!—for straying one of God’s lambs, for straying Jacob from his calling. But if it’s true what they say about God being merciful, then shouldn’t He forgive me?
Jacob and I met through my sister in university. They were taking Philosophy together. I was a senior and looking into programs for my Master’s. A few of my friends went away to university in Toronto and Ottawa. But I don’t regret my decision of going to school close to home. If I had gone away, I would never have met Jacob.
The moment I met him, I knew there was something special about him. I felt like I had found my six, my perfect number: half the sum of his entire positive characteristics, including myself. The mathematician in me couldn’t be wrong about him.
After my sister introduced us, Jacob and I went for coffee. Our conversation was as fluid as the St. Lawrence waters. We talked about movies, hobbies, traveling, food, and all those banal topics common among young adults.
“So what’s your major?” Jacob asked.
“Mathematics,” I said, averting my eyes to the people outside crossing the street. “I know it doesn’t sound as cool as…”
Jacob interrupted and said, “It sounds cooler than Theology.”
“What do you mean?” I stammered.
“I’m transferring to The Montreal School of Theology next semester.”
“You mean…” my thoughts were a yarn ball and I don’t even knit!
“I want to be a priest.”
My tongue was tied. How could this strong tall epitome of masculinity be thinking of wearing robes? Did I hear him correctly? But why did I even care? I had just met the guy! My heart had also become a mathematician at that moment and had calculated the result of us as a couple but… Wait! Three is a prime number…exactly two factors: one and itself. I left God out of this equation!
“I don’t get it,” was all I managed to say.
“This is the reaction I usually get,” he said, smiling.
Jacob walked me to my Business Calculus class. He told me that God had called him since he was in high school. Jacob’s eyes widened as he shared his ideas with me about how to help the underprivileged communities in Montreal. And, his desire to open up schools in remote areas in South America was as foreign to me as the indigenous people he mentioned.