I wait in the dark trying to remember the opening words. The panel to the privacy screen opens with a quiet shoosh, and still I wait peering into the darkness. There is a cough on the other side of the partition, my cue to begin. I sain myself. "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been," I mumble an indistint sound hoping it sounds like a vague number of weeks, not years. "Since my last confession." I hear a tsk, another cue to continue. "I have been disrespectful to my mother. For these and all the sins of my past life I am heart'ly sorry." I rush through the phrase using one breath.
I hear a sigh on the other side of the partition. " For your penance, say a good Act of Contrition and take your mother shopping at Market Basket on Friday. I absolve you of your sins....."
It's my turn to sigh. I should have gone to Father Murray. No matter what grievous sins or errors you've committed, penance is always the same. "Father, I took some candy without paying for it."
"Say three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys."
"Father, I murdered 13 people with an axe."
"Say three our Fathers and three Hail Marys."
Next time, I'll go to Father Murray.