He's No Saint by AJ Harmon
Charlie was a parishioner that had lived a couple of blocks from St. Mary’s his entire life. He’d grown up in the neighborhood, married a girl he’d known since 1st grade, Ruby, and they settled in the same apartment building as his parents. Charlie and Ruby were inseparable, not blessed with children, but that did not affect their deep and eternal love for one another. Ruby had died many years before after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, Charlie becoming her caregiver in her final days. Father Casey had known the couple well, but Ruby had passed before Father Hugh had arrived. But Charlie had made an impression and Father Hugh loved to visit with him as often as he could. He was in awe of Charlie’s desire to be reunited with his Ruby… to feel her hand in his and see her smile again. It almost made him believe in love.
On this particular day, Charlie now in a nursing home, the phone rang in the nunnery to tell the Sisters that Charlie was nearing the end. He’d asked to see the new nun… the pretty one, and to have Father Hugh come and hear his final confession. Sister Agnes was heartbroken as she informed Sister Meredith of the request. Father Hugh was also saddened to hear that this would be his last time with Charlie, but quickly changed out of his work clothes and waited for Sister Meredith to accompany him to the nursing home.
They drove in silence the short distance and hurried down the white halls to find Charlie propped up in bed, his breathing labored. Sister Meredith took the old man’s hand in hers as she sat by his bed and smiled down at him.
“I’m glad you came,” Charlie smiled. “I wanted your beautiful eyes to be the last thing I saw on this earth.”
“That’s very kind of you,” she blushed. “I’ll stay as long as you’d like.”
“It won’t be long,” the nurse whispered, looking at the monitors.
With a sacred reverence, Father Hugh performed last rites and eased Charlie’s conscience by hearing his confession, all the while refusing to let go of Sister Meredith’s hand. His hand relaxed slightly as he drifted in and out of consciousness and occasionally had a smile on his lips.
“What do you think he’s thinking about?” Sister Meredith asked.
“No clue,” Father Hugh replied.
“You don’t think he’s excited about going to be with Ruby?”
“I guess he might be,” he shrugged.
“You must believe in heaven,” she gasped.
He didn’t answer straight away. There was a sadness to his expression that made her curious.
“You do believe in heaven, don’t you?” she asked again. “Heaven is where we will live for eternity with our families, our loved ones, our pets.”
“I’m sure you will get to have that,” he acknowledged. “You are a good person who deserves to have a heaven. All good people go to heaven.” Like Melanie, he thought to himself.
“I believe they do,” she agreed.
“Just not me,” he whispered to himself.
Sister Meredith didn’t hear him and tilted her head in thought. “What do you think about hell?”
“There is a hell,” he assured her.
“I know what I’m supposed to think about hell, but some days I wonder if it’s as bad as we’re made to think,” she admitted.
“I’m afraid that hell will be knowing that no one in heaven misses me when I don’t arrive. I’ve been a disappointment to my parents, Father Casey, and to God, and nobody in heaven is gonna miss me.”
“No! You are a good man Father Hugh and I cannot imagine you ever being a disappointment.”
“You don’t know me very well then,” he smirked.
Charlie gasped for air, his final breaths difficult. “Ruby,” he smiled and then he was gone.
The monitors beeped, Charlie’s chest exhaled for the last time and a tear fell from Sister Meredith’s cheek. She smiled as she glanced up at the priest, knowing that Charlie and Ruby were together again... in heaven. “They’re happy again.”
Father Hugh just nodded and they left the nursing home, each of them in their own thoughts. Sister Meredith felt a peace at Charlie’s passing, but Father Hugh felt restless and uneasy. As a priest, it was his job to preach of heaven and set the example of how to get there. As a man, he was sure he had no hope of ever reaching eternal glory and presumed he was headed in the opposite direction.
All of Me by John Legend
Love Me Again by John Newman
Monster by Eminem
You’re All I Have by Snow Patrol
Unconditionally by Katy Perry
Let me love you by Ne-Yo
Back at One by Brian McKnight
Because You Love Me by JoDee Messina
About the Author
AJ was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, and currently resides in the United States. She has been married to the love of her life for 29 years and has two grown children, and a dog named Max. She is an avid reader, writer and wannabe chef. New romance author AJ Harmon published her first romance novel "First Class to New York" after accepting a challenge from a friend to write a book. She self-published the book on November 17, 2012 in Amazon's Kindle eBook store as a contemporary romance. "I just write about what I like to read as a romance novel enthusiast myself," stated Harmon in a press release. It must be working as readers from around the world have downloaded thousands and thousands of her books and left rave reviews across the internet. AJ Harmon's 'First Class' romance series is available in paperback on Amazon and for digital eBook download from the Kindle store. She has released all nine of the books in this series of contemporary love stories, including a boxed set that includes a bonus novella, has released the first book, San Diego, in her new series, Sky Romance Novels, and her new stand-alone novel, He's No Saint, will be released in May 2014. You can follow AJ Harmon on her website, www.ajharmon.com, GoodReads, Facebook, www.facebook.com/authorAJHarmon, Twitter @1stClassNovels, and YouTube.
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