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The church isn’t a place for fooling around. Those shiny red pews and polished wooden seats are reserved for prayer, reflection, and divination. Altars are where offerings are made – rituals, the parting of clouds for the spirit of God to descend upon the confused flock; ecclesiastical hymns asking for grace, for mercy most of all. Gospels are spoken, priests preach. People confess and commune, meditate and mediate.

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You must think me mad; you must think me a sinner then, for falling in love with you inside the church, for having allowed myself to be distracted in my own communion with God. You must think me a hypocrite. But then again, the church was made for sinners not saints, and I have made it clear in ways beyond the life of letters, I am a work in progress, prone to doing (and entertaining) evil as he struggles to be good.

I am not sure why. I can only guarantee you one thing. It wasn’t instantaneous. It was not – as so many dangerous clichés have played out – love at first sight. The feeling accumulated until one day I was struck by a newfound sensitivity over your presence. Inside and outside the church, noticing and not noticing you, lost in my own weak prayers and shallow thoughts, the profound realization I was beginning to feel something over a complete stranger began to infuse its poison in my system.

Your drug came at a time when I needed God more. I was defeated. I was shattered. I was dangerously picking up the shards of a heart which lay scattered across the floor of a young man’s life. I needed to be in church. I needed to pray. I needed the catharsis of faith. I needed the consolation of something greater than human emotion. Your presence was merely incidental. You were not within gaze.

But with each mass, with each prayer, with each Our Father, your incidence became a presence I could no longer ignore. A fondness brewed. It did not help we began to cross paths even outside the church. It did not help you reminded me of someone I needed to forget. Bespectacled, stubble-d, and pensive – you were the kind of man I had an affinity for, the kind of man I got used to loving, and the kind of man who could easily dismantle my defenses.

A friend told me this must be what they call an emotional rebound. She also mentioned it to be sacrilegious. I agree this is dangerous territory. But I’m not inclined to take any further steps anyway. I know well enough the pitfalls of letting my emotions run wild. I don’t think I can afford even more losses, especially one involving my reputation. I’m happy to be at a distance. This will not last anyway. Infatuations are fleeting. My prayer, hopefully, isn’t.

So what must it be that I pray for?

Mercy. That for all this fooling around, for all this procrastination and sensualities I have found my heart disposed to, God will look upon me with pity and make me feel he understands. There is a greater chance you won’t. God, wherever he is, is in a much better position to know. And I hope that if ever I’ve done anything good, he’d remember them even when he’s sharing attention with you.

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