Some time ago I was in a confessional booth when
There was a moment I never experienced before or
Since. It was a lovely terrible haunting moment and
I continue to think there was something wonderfully
Holy about it. We’d paused in our conversation, the
Priest and me, and then he covered his face with his
Hands and began to weep quietly. My papa just died,
He said after a few minutes. He said this from inside
His hands. My dad just died on Thursday. I couldn’t
Get to him in time to say goodbye. I wanted to anoint
Him. It should have been me. But I couldn’t get there.
I feel so alone. I loved that man so. Not so many guys
Love and admire their dads with all their might, but I
Did. Do. It has to be present tense if I am not a liar as
A priest, isn’t that right? Isn’t that right? and he wept
Again and I stood up and put my hand on his shoulder
Like you do when that’s the only way to say I’m sorry,
I’m so sorry. The way we speak without saying a word.

—Brian Doyle