Afonso got into the confession booth. He didn’t know what he was doing there but something compelled him into that church.
– Forgive me, father, because I have sinned.
Afonso couldn’t see the face of the man on the other side of the screen.
– How long didn’t you confess? – asked the father.
– I have never confessed…
– You weren’t raised in a Christian family but felt the need to find the path to salvation, my son?
– Yes, something like that, sir! But I would appreciate you to shut up and listen! That’s why they pay you!
– But, my son…
– Shut up, sir… I am nobody’s son! Listen to me, please. I just came here because I need to talk to someone, not to get advice. – Afonso took a deep breath. The father kept silent.
– I made some mistakes… I am forty and all my life I made mistakes.
– Tell me, son.
– People wronged me and now I wrong people… especially women. You know, I like women. I like women very much. But I only like some women, do you know?
– I like giving them pleasure… but enjoy making them suffer! I know you mustn’t understand because you came into this job, so you don’t like women. But listen to me, please.
– We are here to talk about you, my son…
– Shut up and listen to me! And don’t call me “my son”. I hate people doing that… I have already told you I am nobody’s son. – he heard a sigh from the father.
– I try to stop but I can’t… they don’t let me. They beg me to hurt them. They cry sometimes, you know, sir, but I know they cry out of pleasure, asking for more, asking me not to leave, to come back again and again. I never do that. I do it once and that’s all. Many times it causes phobia to me… maybe because of the other one.
– After all, what do you do, my…
– I rape girls! Why do they ask me? They shouldn’t dress that way, they shouldn’t do their hairs that way… I even think that they know her!
– But, who do they know, my son?
– Fuck! Shut up and listen… I hate that thing of “my son”! I am nobody’s son.
– I wait. I wait and they show up. They come from the factory and go across the woods. Then I answer to their callings.
– But aren’t you afraid of…
– No, sir. They never tell. If they are married they can’t tell because their husbands would become disgusted at them; if they are single, they won’t tell or they would never get a man to marry them. Who wants a woman who belonged to another man? Who wants a used woman… dishonoured?
– But that’s…
– A sin? Is it? What about her always crawling through churches, helped by your brotherhoods, who found in this house the way to salvation and would compel me to go to mess, kiss the father’s hand… who accused and excommunicated the daughter from home out of shame! But she always had the support of the church who forgave her… did you see what she did to me? The church named it an act of heroism because she was taking care of the child… of the little angel who had no guilt from the mother’s sins. Why didn’t she let me go with the one I never met? – Afonso started crying – I am what I am because she stuck me into this life… She is the one to blame! I was nine years, sir!
The father kept silent.
– She would pull my head down so hardly… she would hurt me much, sometimes… do you know how often I did throw up? Do you? It was so smelly… she was smelly! Women smell.
He was silent for some moments.
– One day a priest gave me the picture of a saint…I think it was St. Sebastian. I would pray to him every night, asking him to relieve me from doing the same the next day. I only understood the message much later. The saint was nailed tight and therefore couldn’t help me. What could he do for me? Then I understood that the suffering face would always be mine whenever I looked into the mirror, for the rest of my life.
– But, my son, those women you abuse aren’t responsible for all the suffering imposed by that woman upon you!
– Don’t call me your son, dam it… How do you know? How can you say that? I have never been responsible for anything.
– Now, I do want to confess a sin, sir… father.
The father expected the worst possible.
I miss her… every night. Every time I lay my head to the pillow, I miss her so much!
Afonso got up. He was about to leave the confession booth and turned back to the priest. He put his hand into the pocket of his coat and took a picture o St. Sebastian.
– Grab this. I don’t need it anymore. He has never helped me.
Photo: Sérgio Moreira
Text: Adão Baptista