Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Vow

His home was hit by a great misfortune and he had no idea of how to react. He would spend too much time and energy getting drunk and cursing all and every one, and hitting his wife, but to no avail. There was nothing he could do to make things right, but even if there was a solution to his problems he wouldn’t know where to look for it. He’d spent his whole life feeling safe and untouched by evil so, now that something bad had happened to his family, he felt helpless.
The doctors have given up every hope, the traditional medicines produced no result, his child was going to die. His beautiful adolescent daughter was going to die. Just thinking about it drove him crazy. Anna used to be full of life, with her dark brown hair and almond eyes, with her big warm smile and smooth kind voice. She was his princess; his only child. And she was dying. And no one really could say why. She just seemed to be shrinking day by day, seeking comfort in the hands of death. You see, the poor thing, had a broken heart. Her soul was ill and it showed on her body, but nobody there could read the signs. It was something beyond their ideas and beliefs about the human soul. None of them would believe that a girl could lead herself to death just like that. So, they kept on trying to make her well.
The time went by slowly, painfully, and since no human could find a cure for the poor girl’s illness, they did the only thing they could do; they started praying for a miracle to happen. Day and night her mother and all the relatives would endlessly pray to Virgin Mary, to give her blessing and save the life of the child. And her father would take a vow. If Anna was cured, he would order a candle her size and weight and then carry it on foot all the way up to the top of the hill, where a monastery dedicated to St. Mary stood.
Spring had finally arrived, with its wonderful smells and beautiful days. The whole of nature was beginning to sing the great song of life. And the girl seemed to be getting better. The flame of life started burning again in her youthful soul and before not too long her once pale face started gaining color. It was like she went to the world of under and came back all new and happy. Her parents, all her friends and relatives would spread the word that a miracle had taken place. Their prayers had been answered; or not? Only Anna’s best friend knew something that no one else did; along with the spring came back to their village, Bill, her sweetheart, who all those months ago abandoned her, leaving a wound in her heart. But, as time went by, he finally came to realize that he really cared for her, so he returned to claim the love of her ailing heart.
Her father, who knew nothing of course of who really the miracle maker was, had a vow to fulfill. So, he did order his daughter’s wax look-alike, and on a sunny Sunday, he started for the mountain. The sun was burning hot and he thought that it would be impossible to climb all the way to the top, carrying so big a weight on his shoulders. Oh, well, the car would do just fine. His daughter was now in good health and he was quite sure that Virgin Mary wouldn’t mind if he used the car to get to the monastery. So, he started driving fast up the snake-like road. However, at a strange and dangerous curve he lost control of the car and crashed on the mountainside. He felt shocked at first, but he was ok. He couldn’t say the same about his car’s front, but there was nothing he could do about it right then. So, he entered the car again and after a few moments he managed to start it, and slowly moved on towards the hilltop.
As he arrived there he saw that the main door of the church was closed, but he could hear hymns of sorrow recited inside. That sounded a bit weird to his ears, but he moved on towards the entrance. He tried to push the door open, but it wouldn’t move. A big chill run over his back as he knocked. A nun dressed in sparkling white came to answer the call.
“What’s going on in here?” he asked the woman.
“Your funeral, my child,” she replied.

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