‘In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti…’ Fr. Kane’s voice boomed outside the church in a singsong voice as people walked in at a frenzied pace inside the church. The mass had started. The crowd’s voice rose in unison in reply, Amen.
Inside the church, Fr. Kane waited patiently for the echo to settle down. The congregation waited. Across the room, Fr. Kane eyed the last man as he walked in quickly and took a stand in the pew. ‘Brother and sisters, we are here today to celebrate the Divine Liturgy and to offer our thanksgiving to God for safeguarding Captain Antonio’s life from an armed attack last night…’ The sound of horse hoof beats reached his eyes and he slowly paused. At the entrance of the Church, he saw a chariot come and stop and Viceroy Fonseca and his wife climb down, followed by Antonio who looked around eagerly obviously searching for someone. The Viceroy and Lady Viceroy walked inside the entrance while Antonio waited impatiently outside. Seconds later, Fr. Kane saw the Viceroy walk out. ‘Son, aren’t you coming in?’
‘Yes Pai…’ Antonio blurted quickly and taking one last look around, followed his father inside the Church. Fr. Kane has started the ‘I confess…’ recital and the crowd had joined in. As the prayer progressed, Fr. Kane saw the Viceroy Fonseca and his wife walk in followed by a hesitating Antonio who kept looking behind fugitively a couple of times and finally followed his parents. Suddenly someone ran behind Antonio and held his hand and pulled him back. It was Rosalin. Smiling, she dragged him outside with one hand while with the other hand, she furtively did a sign of the cross in repentance. Antonio quickly tried to keep pace and at the same time, looked behind to see if his parents were looking and seeing no sign as such, hurried out. Fr. Kane for a moment went slow with the prayers as he stared at their retreating back.
They ran half way down hill to a paddy field and were now sitting at the edge overlooking a beautiful lake. Across the lake, they could make out a village. ‘That’s my house over there.’ She pointed out her huge house that stood tall among the other houses in the village.
‘Looks very cozy to me.’
It is.’ She answered. She brought her head down for a second. ‘We made a mistake. I think we should have attended the Liturgy. It was in your honor.’
Antonio took her face in his hands. ‘I have my whole life in front of me to offer my thanks to God. But this moment to be with you is once in a lifetime opportunity.’
Rosalin looked at him innocently. ‘Am I that important to you?’
Antonio looked back at her lovingly and then brought his lips to hers and started to kiss her passionately. Suddenly she stopped him and pushed him back. Her eyes fell on the lake where a fisherman in a small fishing boat had ventured in the middle and had cast his net. She watched him silently as he pulled his net in and empted the few fishes he caught in a bucket in the boat.
‘You see him?’ Rosalin pointed out. ‘Someday I want to be happy with whatever little I get but then I am highly ambitious too and I am afraid that being too ambitious might prove disastrous for me.’
Antonio looked at her. ‘It’s good to be ambitious Senora. I’ll help you attain your goals, to realize your dreams…’
She looked at him sideways. ‘I don’t even know what I desire. My heart’s in a turmoil.’
She turned back to look at the fisherman casting his nets again. Time went by slowly as she relaxed in his arms, her head nesting against his shoulder as she watched the fisherman laboriously go about with his fishing.