I needed to rant, uninterrupted. I contemplated a visit to my neighbourhood church. My Catholic friend had told me about the feeling of relief she felt when she returned from confession. I craved that feeling at this moment. But being an atheist forced the thought away.
After weeks of feeling melancholic, I called Catherine. “Ever since you mentioned your confessions to me, I have been wanting to go. I am hesitant since I don’t believe in God,” I blurted. “Honestly, it makes me feel better. Sometimes, it is nice to imagine someone will listen to you and never be able to hold it against you. Or ever use it against you in conversation. I feel alive at the moments when I speak and relieved once I have left the church,” she responded, “It is a way for me to empty my thoughts and recoup.”
I quietly hung up.
The next day, I took a stroll near the tall, white church. The building brought back memories of the last time I had gone. I was 16 and my mother forced me to tag along with her. I was disturbed by the prayers my mother chanted; I felt a deep disconnect to this God that everyone revered. I had never felt the urge to return. I stepped in precariously and walked straight to the confessional rooms. They were wooden rooms along the front of the aisles. They were craved and divided into two halves; one for the priest and one for the confessor. I opened the wooden door, pushed aside the bright purple curtains and sat down. I left the door a little ajar for my mental comfort. There was a tiny window with wooden mesh on the inside. I slid its door open and I could see the profile of a priest on the other side.
“What is on your mind, child?” he said. “I have begun to question who I am and what I am going to do with this life. I feel hopelessly lost and I walk around aimlessly,” I replied.
There was no response from him, not even an acknowledgement that he had heard. Exasperated, I continued, “I have a life, but I am too disturbed to live it. I cannot seem to assess what upsets me but I feel an ache deep within. The hope that this life will end haunts me too.” After a few moments of silence, I blurted, “That’s all. I have nothing else to say.” I could sense his deliberation through the wooden walls. He then said in a cautious voice, “You could keep coming till you feel better.”
I was too speechless to find words. I muttered a thank you as I left the room. After all, he had listened to my rant albeit a short one. I felt confused and wondered what I hoped to gain from the confession. I had no idea what sin I had committed. Did harbouring the hope that this life would end amount to a sin? But was that really a confession? Sitting across a stranger who isn’t allowed to judge my thoughts is tempting. Perhaps, I needed a few more sessions before I can confess more freely. Though, I was unsure if I could convince myself to go back into those solemn halls again.