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The Light
The Warrior

By and © Joe Writer Man

Chapter 53d
Part 4 of 6

Before I even woke up completely, before I had opened my eyes, I sensed that I was in a different place than where I had been the previous night. No, I wasn't afraid. Instead I felt comfortable, comforted, and really okay. I was being held in a man's arms... I felt the hairs of his arm on my own. I took a quick inventory: I was sore from the beating the previous day, I was dressed, I was alive... my mental faculties... well I felt peace, well beings all around, safe and protected for once.

I chanced a look at this man holding me in his arms. His eyes were closed, he had big bushy eyebrows and a head of sandy beach white hair, his face with a ruddy complexion yet at the same time his facial features were gentle and reassuring.

I couldn't remember ever feeling the way I was... not even when I was a little kid but I quickly pushed my childhood away when the man's' eyes opened. His immediate reaction was a smile from ear to ear. Sleepily he said, "Good morning little one."

I replied, "Good morning, where am I?"

"You're at the Mission on the Beach. My name is Father Ben."

"I am Antoine. It is nice to meet you. How did I get here? I was in church..."

"I brought you here. Do you have any complaints?"

"Oh no sir, I'm not complaining. Thanks. I guess I was a mess?"

Just then my tummy grumbled and rumbled its protests about hunger. I needed to get up and find somewhere to pee yet I was so comfortable with a kind and gentle man holding me safely in his arms.

Not wanting that moment to ever end, reluctantly I worked my way up to a standing position. My cock was straining at its confines. Quickly, I looked down only to find its silhouette clearly outlined. It had fallen out of my underwear. I turned away from Father Ben and made a couple of major adjustments. Satisfied, I turned to face him, "Sorry."

He disregarded my apology and urged me back into his arms. Contrary to my long previously held resentment toward older men, I did as he asked and what I really wanted to do. He squeezed me tight but not menacingly tight... it was just right. I relaxed. Though I needed to pee badly I decided it could wait a short while. I asked, "Were you here with me all night?"

"I was. We all need someone sometimes child. What is your name?"

"Antoine. Antoine Garza."

"It is nice to meet your acquaintance Master Antoine Garza. Whatever are you doing out here all alone?"

"Uhm, it's a long story. I don't want to talk about it. I'll just go."

That said I got up and started to walk away but Father Ben said, "Wait. I'm sorry. I'm sure you have your reasons. I'll stop asking questions. Just know that I'll listen if or when you're ready, okay?"

Father Ben stood. He was waiting for a reply.

I nodded.

He asked, "Can I offer you some breakfast? Our housekeeper makes killer breakfasts around here... I'm sure we could wrestle up some bacon, eggs, hash browns, and perhaps a fruit or two... will you join me? You are certainly welcome to leave anytime you want."

I regarded him carefully. He was sincere. I relaxed and let my guard down... I felt safe.

He extended his arm invitingly. I joined him and he put his arm around my shoulders and we walked to the rectory, up the steps and into an ante room. A faint smell of frying bacon hit my nostrils. My tummy rumbled and gurgled loudly but before I could ever think about eating I had to pee. I asked Father Ben, "Uhm, can I use the restroom, please?"

Father Ben led the way to the bathroom. He said, "Here you go. When you get finished just come on down the hallway. We have plenty of food."

I nodded, went into the bathroom, closed the door then unleashed a mighty stream into the open toilet bowl. I had to pee so bad that when the stream began my fingers tingled. I didn't think I would ever get finished but after about a minute and two gallons later I squeezed out the last remaining squirts then shook it one more time than is the usual case. My snake was fully erect. I debated on sitting down and taking care of matters but the need to eat something overtook all other desires. After putting it back in its resting place I washed my hands and went to the kitchen.

Father Ben was sitting in a chair facing the direction I came from. He smiled, "Better?"

I nodded just as this smiling lady turned away from the stove where she was cooking up some food that was titillating my taste buds beyond their capability. She reminded me of a grandmotherly type person. Ample bosoms adorned her chest; her white silky hair adorned her pleasantly plump but not obese face.

Father Ben stood, walked to me and said, "Meet Mildred. She is our domestic engineer. She keeps this place organized. She feeds me well. What more can a guy ask for?

After introductions Mildred said, "Sit child. Rest your bones. I'll get you a plate dished up."

I did as instructed, put a cloth napkin on my lap, and waited with my hands across my napkin for my plate to be served. I was anticipating maybe a piece of bacon and perhaps an egg or two.

My anticipations were entirely wrong, once again. Instead of morsels, Mildred placed a very full plate of bacon, eggs, hash browns, buttered toast and a banana. She said, "You get started, I'll bring you a bowl of cereal and cream."

I looked to Father Ben without taking my hands from my lap. His eyes softened considerably, even more than they already were, "Go ahead Antoine. Mildred, let's say grace so this boy can get started shoveling..."

Mildred walked over. She took my hand and Father Ben's hands in hers. She looked to me expectantly. Father Ben bowed his head, Mildred did top. As the blessing I said, "Dear Father... thank you for this meal to nourish our bodies. Grant us peace, serenity and prosperous lives. Please bless my parents, they need you. Amen."

"Amen." Father Ben said reverently.

"Amen." Mildred replied.

"That was a nice prayer Antoine. Thank you for asking for God's grace. You do know the short version don't you?"

"Short version of what?" I asked curiously.

"The prayer... usually boys your age say or thinking something along the lines of, 'Grace!'"

I giggled, "I've never heard that before. I'll try and remember it but I have no occasion to use it. Thank you for a beautiful breakfast."

"Go ahead; get eating before it gets cold." Mildred admonished mildly.

Father Ben nodded.

Everything tasted so wonderful... I couldn't and wouldn't stop... and didn't stop until every single everlasting morsel was devoured.

Father Ben and Mildred both looked up from their plates. All of a sudden I felt guilty for not pacing myself to their eating habits, "Sorry ma'am for my rudeness. Please forgive me."

"Oh honey. I should know better than to get in the way of a hungry teenage boy and his food. Are you still hungry?"

I shrugged my shoulders thinking that one of the sins of the world is gluttony. Mildred faked a scowl on her face. She had a gleam in her eyes so I knew the scowl was just a ruse. I replied, "Yes ma'am. A little bit."

She got up from the table leaving her food to get cold and fetched a bowl from the cabinet. She also retrieved a banana from the fruit basket like thing. She peeled it and threw the peeling in the garbage. She poured me a bowl of wheat bran and then began cutting up the banana into it. She then went to the refrigerator where she poured cream on the cereal then put it in front of me. I said, "I've never had bananas on my cereal."

Mildred replied, "Try it. I think you'll like it."

I took a big scoop of cereal with a banana slice in it then put it into my mouth and started chewing. Oh my, I'd found heaven. I took another bite. Like a vacuum cleaner the bowl was just as clean as was my plate. Totally accidentally and incidentally a burp escaped my throat. I was totally embarrassed. Another one escaped which put the first one to shame. I bowed my head reverently filled with shame and then said, "I'm sorry. May I be excused?"

Father Ben quickly said, "I would prefer you sit with us. You've done nothing wrong. You've done everything right."

I waited for hell to pay... for a second or two I thought he was lying to me. My dad always... well never mind. Instead of getting knocked off my chair and receiving a verbal lashing they went on about their breakfast.

Mildred asked, "So where you from? You don't have to answer... I am just curious. Hawaii is a multicultural state with people from all over the world."

I looked at Father Ben. He was looking at me expectantly yet both his and Mildred's eyes were soft and kind. I volunteered, "My family, they travel extensively all of my life. I think I was born in Brazil."

Father Ben offered, "I could tell you were extensively traveled. You're quite smart and refined. You're very polite and articulate also which are great qualities in a young person."

Mildred asked, "Honey, I do not mean to meddle... okay... where are your parents? Do they know where you are?"

"Ma'am, please excuse me. Father Ben, I must go."

With that I got up from the table even while not being excused. My father had said many times that I was a defiant, selfish and ungrateful person during my training exercises. That made me mad and I always worked harder and harder.

"I'm sorry. I must go. Thank you."

Mildred took my hand in hers. She stood up, pushed her chair aside and offered her arms out to me in a hug invitation way. Her eyes were soft and gentle. She said, "You don't have to answer my question child. I'm concerned that you're on your own. How old are you?"

"I'm 13." Thinking, I reached into my pocket and retrieved my birth certificate. I looked at it carefully, did a quick math computation. "I'm sorry ma'am... I'm 14. The date was last week. I have been, as you say, traveling extensively."

"You missed your birthday?" Mildred asked sadly.

"I have only one birthday ma'am. I can't change it."

"No honey, I'm not asking you to change it. Oh sweetie."

She cupped her hands under my jaws, lifted them up so that we could see one another in our eyes, and then said, "Antoine, in this country most families celebrate birthday anniversaries. It's a token to help people feel that they're special and blessed to be here and to share lives. Quite frankly, sometimes I feel they're overrated... especially when you get to be my age!" Mildred finished while giggling.

"Oh no ma'am. You are not old. You deserve respect, unlike me." I replied honestly.

"What do you mean 'unlike me'? You're here; you're alive; you're a fine young man in the prime of your life. I don't understand why you think that way? Help me to understand." Mildred replied... oh no... her eyes were filling with tears.

What did I say wrong? Did I do something wrong? I've hurt her. Oh my God.

"Father Ben, do talk some sense into this young man. Antoine, so many kids think they are the cock of the walk, that their crap doesn't stink, that they are the gift to the world, that they are invincible, and that they can talk to their elders in any way they want including total and complete disrespect... and you talk bad about yourself? Son, I don't know where you came from but you can stay here for as long as you need to. In no way do we feel that you are disrespectful... you are a beautiful child. You are loveable. And you deserve to be loved. That's that, don't argue with me." Mildred said seriously yet her grandmotherly side took over. Rather than waiting for me to go to her she enveloped me into her arms and pulled my head deeply into her bosom.

Father Ben joined us. He wrapped his broad expansive arms around the both of us and held on tight. Try as I might... my strong reserves utterly failed my discipline. At first tears started slowly falling from my eyes... I couldn't easily accept what Mildred said yet I did. Somewhere deep inside I felt that I was okay or could be okay in time. Mildred then began rubbing my head with her soft yet sturdy hands. She then held my neck to her chest. Father Ben would squeeze every now and again. I felt so safe, so loved, and yes I felt cherished - something I had not felt in a very long time, if ever.

I slowly raised my arms and put one around Mildred's waist and the other one around Father Ben's. I allowed them to love me. And I permitted myself to unequivocally allow my love to pass into them hopefully as strong as their love was passing into me.

During our bonding moment, I sobbed a few times and as hard as I tried to remain strong I was largely successful.

Our moment slowly passed. Mildred released me. I looked up into her eyes... they were wet as were her cheeks. Father Ben also had shed tears both in his eyes and on his cheeks.

I said, "My parents... my parents, they mean well. I know they love me in their own way. I love and honor them but it is not enough. I'm sorry; I must go before you hate me too."

Mildred said softly, "Don't believe everything you hear child. Listen to your heart. Hear your spirit. Neither will ever steer you wrong."

I decided to leave things where they were. After one last hug Mildred announced, "Antoine, do not deny me the pleasure of running your bath water for you. I used to do it for my children each and every day they were home. They loved receiving just as much as I enjoyed giving to them. I will wash your back."

I tightened up, ashamed and embarrassed I replied, "Oh no ma'am, I am sorry but I have abnormalities..."

"Antoine, two of my sons had spinal bifida. They were horribly deformed. Both died during their first month of life. But you know what?"

I looked into Mildred's eyes. I saw pain, longing and regret. "You love them. You always have. Not a day goes by that you don't think of them."

"That's right. I got to bathe them in the hospital before they went Home. They were my oldest children. My husband, God rests his soul, and I just about gave up. Well, God had other plans because he gave us 9 healthy children. They are all doing well and are healthy. I will run your bath and I will wash your back. You have nothing different than any of my other sons. By the way, they asked for me to not wash their backs after age 15... you're 13, no you're 14, right?"

"Yes ma'am. Okay. I know when to not argue." I chuckled.

"Good. I knew you would see it my way." Mildred chortled.

Father Ben nodded smiling all the while.

"Yes ma'am." I replied respectfully.

Quicker than lightening, Mildred grabbed me in the armpit and squeezed. That is the only place where I am ticklish. How did she know that?

In any event that gesture broke any remaining tension. I helped (as much as she would allow me to help) her clear the dishes. I wiped while she washed. We talked about many things but nothing really serious. She left my family alone and didn't ask any more questions about it.

When we finished she looked deeply into my eyes, "How about that bath?"

I nodded.

"Okay, here's the plan. I'll get your bath started. When you are cleansing your body I will go find some clothes that I think will fit. Most of the kids who wander through here are younger than you are but I think we'll have something in your size."

With that said she led me to the bathroom. Without hesitation, while she knelt down and started the water spigots flowing I took off my shoes, socks and shirt. While the bath was running she stood up, turned me around away from her then lifted the back of my jeans and underwear out. "Size 14 underwear and 26 jeans. Did you get that Ben?"

When she didn't receive a reply she stated as a matter of fact, "Men!"

I giggled. She gave me a wary smile then pinched my underarm again. Of course that cracked me up again though that time I farted. She smiled but stopped her tickling. Besides, and I did not tell her, I do not like to be tickled. Period.

When the water was at the appropriate level, she tested it for temperature. Finding it adequate she gave me a quick hug and assurance she'd bring my clothes when she returned to wash my back.

She left. I finished getting undressed, sat down on the toilet, exited certain presents for the sewer system, and then wiped up and got into the bathtub. It was perfect. The water was just right. I lay back in the tub and just relaxed like I'd never relaxed before. I was so relaxed that my serpent felt safe enough to rise to the occasion. Idly I diddled with it, and it very much liked the attention being paid to it.

I closed my eyes and rested them. Unable to stop the depravity of my hands I grasped my member with both hands and slowly massaged the serpent into standing up proudly. The moment was quickly arriving. No, it wasn't at the moment of truth but it was very, very close.

Just then the door to the bathroom opened. It was Mildred. Quickly, I sat up, squeezed my hard member up and back so that it rested under my right leg right near my crack. That created exquisite pain.

Mildred, realizing what I had been doing, chuckled softly, "I'll be back in a bit. Knock 3 times on the wall when you're ready. Enjoy!"

With that she made her exit and closed the door.

I quickly finished washing up. I got up on my knees so I could wash the nether regions. My prong was fully erected, and my body remained filled, if not more so than before, with need.

All the while looking at the door I finished the final act of wicked depravity. I recovered quickly. I really debated on getting out of the tub, getting dressed (oh no, I had no clothes to put on), and exiting the bathroom.

But then I stopped my thinking in that direction by thinking of what Mildred had said about her children, her oldest sons in particular. I sat back down. By then my prong was at its normal state of rest and recovery. I did however over it with the washcloth and put my legs in such a way that it wouldn't be 'that' obvious.

Satisfied that all was well I rapped on the wall 3 times and then double checked one more time that my serpent was out of sight. It was. I relaxed.

A knock on the door announced Mildred's arrival. I said, "Come in."

Mildred peered around the corner, smiled and then entered seeing that I was in a state of having visitors.

I then noticed "it".

"It" was a long strand of my male essence. I saw two more strands and then one more. Thankfully, Mildred was reaching down inside of a linen cabinet... quickly, I retrieved the washcloth and scooped up the evidence of my depraved actions. I quickly sat on the washcloth and arranged my bits in such a way that they could not readily be seen. Just in time.

The cat was out of the bag, so to speak.

Without fanfare she soaped up a (thankfully clean) washcloth and began washing my back from my neck to my tail bone. With one hand she leaned me further forward while her other hand gave my butt and hole two swipes. She announced, "Okay, how was that?"

I replied, "Wonderful! That felt so good. Thank you. Thank you again."

Father Ben arrived and entered the bathroom. Thankfully the bathroom was pretty large, maybe it was like 10 feet by 12 feet. In any event all was well.

I used washcloths filled with water to rinse adequately. When I was finished rinsing, Father Ben approached me with an opened up towel. I turned in such a way so that my serpent was well hidden, or so I hoped anyway, if not then nobody said anything.

When I stood up, Mildred gave a long loud wolf whistle and then said, "Sweet cheeks!" She giggled hysterically, I felt mortified. Thankfully she exited the bathroom.

Meanwhile, Father Ben wrapped the towel around my midsection and then used another towel to help me dry off leaving my middle parts alone. He turned around away from me. I tried my bits and butt crack.

Feeling more comfortable with the situation, I turned to face him. I got out of the bathtub, leaned down and dried my lower legs and feet. He handed me a pair of boxer shorts. They looked too small but I put them on anyway. Yes, they were very tight, probably 2 sizes too small but whatever no big deal as my serpent was relieved and at parade rest. Still, its outline was easily apparent.

I retrieved a bright orange shirt from the pile of clothes and put it on. It fit perfectly as did the socks.

The jeans were entirely a different matter. They would not pass above my hip bones. Father Ben had meanwhile stepped out into the hallway. I said, "These are too small. I'll just wear my regular pants if it is okay?"

"Come with me. We had an older boy, Pedro, stay here for a few days earlier this year. I think I remember where his clothes are. He didn't come back for them."

The coast was clear. We went upstairs to a broad expansive bedroom filled with clothes. Lots and lots of clothes were neatly arranged. Father Ben reached onto one of the taller cubbyholes and retrieved a pair of faded blue jeans, handed them to me. I put them on. They were quite a bit too large but with a belt they were just fine.

"Thank you, Father." I said humbly. I was used to hand me down clothes from the markets. I had nice clothes but those were reserved for 'traveling'. I had worn nice clothes because I had traveled the day before but they were dirty from trudging through the sand and salt water.

We then went downstairs to the parlor. Father Ben retrieved two Cokes from the refrigerator, brought them to our tables then closed the door. He sat down and urged me to comfortably sit across from him so that we could look at each other while we talked. That made sense so I did.

Father Ben said, "Antoine, I will be celebrating noon mass today. Would you like to be server?"

"Oh no, I could not possibly do that. It would not be right; I am not worthy." I quickly replied.

"You are of our religion, correct?"

"Yes, I practice it but I fail too often. It would not be right for me to serve." I said steadfast.

Father Ben regarded my comment. His facial features, although already soft, softened considerably. He thought for a moment then we made eye contact. He said, "Do you need reconciliation?"

"Father I have worked severe penance to no avail. I still sin. Sometimes two heads talking about the issue helps to resolve the pain of shame and guilt. I am but a mortal being. Just because I am a priest with a college education doesn't mean that I have my own difficulties."

"That is my problem, Father. I have difficulties reconciling my two heads." I said sheepishly.

Father Ben smiled. I thought he was going to laugh at my difficulty but thankfully he didn't. Perhaps he knew of my difficulty... to test my theory I said, "My sin is Lust."

Father Ben nodded knowingly, shrugged his shoulders and in a matter of fact voice said, "Do you use lust as a weapon? Do you other hurt people or yourself by your actions?"

"No of course not. I am virgin. My sin is of the serpent. It does not listen to this head <pointing to the head that sits on top of my shoulders>, instead it has a mind of its own and causes me to sin. My father took me to a priest for absolution. My sex is wrong; I am weak for not controlling my desires; I am ashamed and I am guilty for my sin."

Father Ben mused for a moment, "What was the penance given to you?"

"Father, my seed and the serpent from which it comes were blessed with holy water and oils. Yet I still sin. My father gave me pepper. I am to sprinkle the serpent at night before bedtime. If the serpent arises I am to grind it into my sinful serpent and pray."

Father Ben became angry. I was afraid. Going for broke I thought "I might as well get this over with so that he has the true picture. He too will hate me." I said, "It did not work for very long. I stopped doing penance, Father Ben. I am ashamed."

Father Ben waived his hand back and forth. He said, "I have heard enough my child. The penance you were given is barbaric. It is ancient. The practice was abandoned centuries ago. As you have experienced, the method does not work. I understand your difficulties child. "Antoine, you have nothing to hide from, to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about. You see, God gave us our sex powers. Remember child that God loves us unconditionally. There is no sin in what you do. The sin lies in the barbaric methods to control that which cannot be controlled. You are an adolescent boy. Your hormones are very strong during this time of your life. They will remain very strong for many years to come. To punish our bodies for doing what it is designed for is -wrong-. Child, we are given so much false information. I was a boy once upon a time. I had the same desires you do. I still do from time to time. Remember - the Pope was also a boy at one time. We all have desires for sex. We would not be normal and natural if they did not come upon us. <Father Ben chuckled>. And by the way, do not go around telling people The Pope masturbates - some folk would not take too kindly to the news."

I grinned at his pronouncement. His eyes had rolled up into his head, he smiled from ear to ear, he put his hands to his face where he cupped his cheeks... mainly I giggled because something about him set me free. I then realized that I could not and cannot alter my hormones with wishes and desire to make them go away. I had just thought I was wicked.

When Father Ben recovered he once again asked a previous question, "So long as you do not use your penis and sex powers against another person or against yourself, or you do not masturbate say 80 times a day... do you do any of these?"

"No sir. I only awaken the serpent of lust when I cannot stand the pain in my testicles any longer."

"Let me ask you another question... it is one that puzzles me." <I nodded>. "Why do you refer to your external sex organ as a 'serpent'? A serpent in my mind is a snake to be feared. A serpent hurts people."

His words hit home. I recoiled. My throat tightened. I fought off an urge to cry. Father Ben saw my difficulties, he said, "What's wrong, child? I'm sorry if I said something wrong. I feel your pain. I know it is hard for you to trust. Right now I can understand your troubles with trusting people older than you. I've been down your road Antoine. I know what fear is, I know what hurt is, and I know what it is like to not be able to trust those who are charged with caring for children. At one time, I was married. I had two children... a boy and girl. We lived in Laramie Wyoming. We had a small piece of property and were living the good life... no we weren't rich in the conventional sense but we were abundantly blessed with the riches of our lives together. We didn't need much. We didn't want much."

"But you're a priest..."

"I became a priest later, Antoine. You see my family was killed in a propane gas explosion. I was feeding our animals when the house exploded killing them all."

My unshed tears burst from my eyes. Tears fell from Father Ben's eyes. We experienced several moments of silence as we felt our pains... I felt his pain as he shared and experienced his.

He recovered before I recovered my senses. He added, "I turned to alcohol. For a good while it was my friend then it transferred into a serpent that brought about pain and destruction to all around me. A man in town came to me one day. I was sitting in a bar drowning my sorrows but the tide had turned... I was totally lost. The farm went to hell so I sold it for a pittance of its value. One day I was in church. The sermon that day was about demons... and no I am not talking about demons in the conventional sense of the word - you know the demons that people put onto people... instead he was talking about our inner demons; the demons that plague our lives because of misinformation and misinterpretation."

I nodded.

"Since I had no direction in my life I went to college. I studied agriculture and got a degree but still my life had no direction. Sure I had a college degree and got a decent job but still I was dogged by my fear and guilt."

I nodded understandingly.

"Another time while sitting in church I decided that working with the ground was not my cup of tea. I went into hiding for 3 months. I thought that I might be good at being a Monk. So I was fast tracked through the monastery. I had to take coursework in theology and ritual. I did well with my studies but still I was plagued with shame and guilt about not protecting my family. My life all came crashing down one November day in 1982. I was assigned to a very small parish in an obscure town in Iowa. I was called to counsel a man who'd lost his family through death in an automobile crash. He and I were able to relate on a gut level. He has since remarried and has another family that he loves, cherishes and protects. His wife and he have adopted a number of children who had no home and who were living on the streets of Des Moines. They moved to a farm and are as happy as can be. I've since found my calling here in Hawaii. And you are part of my joy in life."

I closed my eyes wondering what it all meant... no not what Father Ben told me about his family... but I was in that place where I was lost. My family didn't want me anymore - so they were gone much like his were.

"Father Ben, my serpent is my male gland. Nobody will ever love me 'that' way. I will never be able to pleasure them. I am abnormal... a freak. Maybe I should be a priest." I cried.

Father Ben came to the rescue with a quip, "Hey now, not all priests are freaks I tell you. Do you see me as a freak?"

"No of course not. I meant... I should be a priest because that way I won't have to worry about someone not being able to love me... you know... my thing."

"Antoine, as long as you see yourself as a freak then you will be a freak within your own mind. I have no doubt that your mate will be along when the time is right. For your information young man... your organ is what God gave you. I see no reason why you cannot be loved, and I damn well know that your sex will bring your mate much happiness. That's that. When you believe for yourself what I have said... the point of what I'm saying is to accept yourself as you are. You've told me that you do not use your penis as a weapon so no harm will come to your loved and chosen one."

I looked at Father Ben with a whole new perception: what if he was right? What if I could bring love and joy to another person?

I said, "But I am so big..."

"So? Trust me, when your mate comes along size means nothing. What means something is how you and your mate work it out, so to speak. That is where a loving and committed relationship comes into being. Antoine, love conquers most all obstacles. And the obstacles that cannot be overcome between the two of you must come from within. You'll be able to overcome those obstacles. Besides, all boys wonder if they are good enough. They wonder and worry if they'll be able to please their mate. So far the human race has survived those worries, no?"

I nodded readily, "Okay, I'll try. What you say makes sense, uhm. I need to use the bathroom but I'll be right back. I have something else to confess."

Father Ben looked at his watch. He said, "Take your time. We aren't due in church until about 11:45 or so."

With that I took off for the bathroom, peed, washed my hands and returned to the parlor. Mildred was filling our drinks that had long ago dried up. She smiled, "Are you working things out child?"

"Yes. I feel better inside here <pointing to my chest>. I have some things to work out but I feel that I can now."

"Good. I made up some cinnamon rolls. I think Father Ben is in the pan if I know him. Come on; let's go see what he's up to."

I smiled. My mouth began watering with desire. Mildred put her arms around my shoulders and together we walked into the kitchen. Sure enough, Father Ben quickly pulled his fingers from the pan. He had a huge wad of icing precariously balanced between his hand and mouth. Mildred laughed, "Got ya. I've been wondering where my cinnamon rolls went to the day before yesterday... now I know."

Mildred then went to the cupboard, retrieved three plates and dished out a cinnamon roll onto each one. She then shooed me and Father Ben back to the parlor. He shut the door, sat down and then we pigged out. I'd never had a cinnamon roll THAT good, ever.

From out of the blue I said, "Father, I am carrying a greater sin. I feel like I can talk to you but please never tell anyone. Promise me you will never tell anyone ever."

Father Ben regarded me but for a second before he replied, "Antoine, whatever we talk about here stays here. Mildred is here. Would you like to go to the beach so that we can be alone with God?"

When I didn't say anything... I was afraid... he said, "Let me make a phone call. A priest owes me a favor <he giggled>. He can come down here and say mass while you and I leave. Just a moment."

What that Father Ben made the call and we set off for the beach located only 200 yards from the rectory. When we arrived, I sat down, took off my shirt, shoes and socks and then rolled the oversized jeans up to my knees. Father Ben took off his shoes and socks and laid them next to my clothes. We walked down the beach not saying anything, just listening to the waves coming into shore. Father Ben led us to an outcropping of rocks where we sat down in full vision of the ocean, within hearing distance of the waves, feeling the trade wind breeze blowing across our bodies.

That was my moment of truth. I put my arm in Father Ben's and said very quietly, "Father, I have sinned grievously. You said wrong is when we take another persons' choices away from them. I have done that."

Father Ben nodded understandingly, "We all have at points during our life journeys. What is troubling you child?"

My story came rushing out - all of it holding nothing back. When I completed by telling him of the times 'those people' lost their choices he said, "I understand why you had to do what you had to do. Though I do not condone permanently removing a persons' choices I can understand and emphasize WHY you had to do what you did. You were put into a bad position, a position that no child should be exposed to. The question now is what to do from today on out and in your future. What to do right now is of concern to me. You see, your parents are legally responsible for your well being and since they are not being legally responsible for you... hmmmm. Child, you are welcome to stay with Mildred and I until we can get this straightened out. I have some friends in high places that will help us to do the right thing. Can I call them and ask for their help so that the right thing can be done for you?"

"I cannot do that Father. I have seen what legal people do to children in other countries... I cannot have that happen to me. I need to go. Maybe my parents will take me in. My parents love me in their own way... I will adapt." I said, got up and began walking back to where we left our clothes.

Father Ben was soon next to my side holding my arm in his. I joined his arm knowing he would not force me to be with him.

"I must see, Father. I do not want to run because I have nowhere else to go. My father will love me... I just know he will..."

Father Ben, when we arrived at our clothing, sat down on the sandy beach not caring that he was getting wet. I sat down next to him. He said, "You have shared your burdens with me today. I am truly blessed that you would trust me with your secrets. I will not say anything to anyone ever about your experiences but I am having a problem putting my head around your desire to return to your old life, doing what you have done - again - to please your father and mother."

"Maybe my father will change me to be a buyer. I am getting too old to run... the authorities are becoming much more advanced with their techniques, and there skepticism about young children traveling alone is getting very great. I will ask him. Maybe it will please him."

With a very distant look in his eyes Father Ben said, "Son, I do not think being a buyer will end there. In 'the trade' buyers can be replaced in a heartbeat. Being a buyer is much more dangerous. It will put you into even more positions where you will have to remove their choices because of the real or imagined fears that they will remove yours. It won't take you very long to become hardened and cold. The thought of you going in that direction breaks my heart. You are not that kind of person but those kinds of people can and do break impressionable young minds... no good come of it. I believe our Creator has a good plan for you."

"Thank you Father. I will take your words with me. Right now, I must return to my parents. They worry. Can I come back here to tell you that they love me?"

Father Ben, with sad eyes said, "I'll be waiting. Don't take too long, okay? Promise me you'll come back here. We'll work something out."

I nodded my understanding, "Okay. I trust you."

After putting on our wearing apparel I brought his face to mine. I kissed both of his cheeks per custom and we headed for the rectory after he said that Mildred would be fixing fried chicken and all the trimmings. He said something about it being a crime by not feeding a hungry teenage boy.

When we arrived at the rectory, Mildred had a wonderful meal prepared. I ate voraciously then, much to Mildred's many protests, I departed and headed for the strip where my parents were residing, if for only for a short time.

Both Father Ben and Mildred saw me off. I replied, "Thank you. Everything will be okay. Don't worry about me. I will see you soon. I promise."

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