Summer Soap(Episode 10): A tormented Maura’s startling confession

Welcome to The Echo’s second Summer Soap of 2022. Now in its seventh year, Summer Soap is a daily fictional serial run over 12 parts, which started last Monday and runs till Saturday. Called Kilroche, this story is about a woman who falls downstairs - but was it an accident? It was written by Assumpta Curran, from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC. Catch up with previous episodes at Echolive.ie. In the tenth episode, Maura talks to a priest - and blurts out a confession
Summer Soap(Episode 10): A tormented Maura’s startling confession

“ I have also been seeking comfort in the arms of a married man, these past few months.”

MAURA found the house increasingly lonely without Hannah. She thought of how peaceful her sister had looked the previous day, as she slept. She wondered if she was dreaming, and if they were happy dreams, or if they were dragging her back to that awful night of just over a week ago.

Could people actually dream of their past, when their present was erased from their memory?

A knock at the front door made her jump, and she approached it slowly, opening it a crack.

“Hello Maura, I thought that I’d drop by and see how you’re doing.”

“Father, please come in.”

The priest walked through to the kitchen.

“So, what’s the update on Hannah?” he asked.

“Well, the neurosurgeon told me yesterday that she’s doing OK, that they can’t guarantee yet that her walking won’t be affected by her injuries,” Maura began, her voice shaking, betraying her fragile state.

“Maura, don’t you go worrying unnecessarily. Please God she’ll do fine, she’s a strong lady.”

“Actually Father, do you have time for a cup of tea? I’d like to ask you something, well, more like tell you something.”

“I do of course, Maura,” Fr. Cleary said, sitting down at the kitchen table.

“Thanks, Father,” Maura said, pouring tea into two china cups. She took a big breath and began.

“As you know, Hannah left Kilroche and went to live in the States for a year, after herself and Mick Molloy had broken up.”

The priest sat quietly, nodding his head.

“The reason for her sudden departure had nothing to do with a new job, it was because...”

Fr Cleary reached across the table and took Maura’s hand in his.

“Maura, you don’t have to tell me, I know the whole story. Your mother, God be good to her, asked me to call here one day, and she told me everything. She asked if I’d talk to Hannah, try and talk her out of the decision she had made. I explained to her that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be my place to get involved in the life of a young woman caught up in a difficult situation, one she had to work out for herself. My door was always open if Hannah had called, but she didn’t. She’s a determined lady, as well we both know.”

Maura was sobbing gently now, both for the mother, whom she had undermined, and for her sister lying in a hospital bed, and all because of a decision made decades earlier.

“You’ve made my confession easier, Father.”

“Okay, continue Maura,” he said, nodding encouragingly.

“So, after Hannah went to America, she never spoke to Mick Molloy again. Then, about six months ago, she received a letter from Boston asking if she’d like to have contact with the child she had given up. Of course she said yes. So she’s been corresponding for the past two months now, with her daughter - Amy, who is coming to visit in March.”

Maura’s lips began to tremble and she started to cry again, tears now washing down her face.

“It’s OK, Maura, take your time, surely that’s great news?”

“No, you see, we’d just had an awful fight the evening of the accident. I felt like I was about to lose my sister. I know that sounds selfish, but Hannah was talking about contacting Mick Molloy, and about Amy becoming involved in the business here, and even spoke about signing her half of the shop over to her. Well, we had a really terrible argument upstairs, and then she lost her footing. 

"I feel that I may be responsible for why Hannah is now lying in a hospital bed. It’s all my fault.”

“Maura, for God’s sake, don’t go blaming yourself at all, accidents happen to everyone. Let’s wait...“

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned,” Maura suddenly blurted out, “it’s been a long time since my last confession. Here are my sins.”

Protestations by Fr Cleary fell on deaf ears, as Maura, her eyes now closed, spat out her crimes at a rate of knots.

“I have been unkind to my sister and could have helped to prevent her fall. I have also been seeking comfort in the arms of a married man, these past few months. 

"I have finished the affair, but he won’t accept that it’s over. That’s all.”

Maura opened her eyes and looked ruefully in Father Cleary’s direction.

His hands were gripping the edge of the table. He looked stunned, but gradually regained his composure enough to speak.

“Maura, I will give you guidance and as much support as I can, but where you feel that an injustice has been done, I have to ask you to see if there are ways you might do some good in return, consider it a gesture of reparation, perhaps.

“Of course, if you think that you intentionally caused Hannah harm, then you should report it to the Gardai. As for the adultery, shur didn’t the gentleman’s wife come to me only recently, and she distraught. You needn’t worry about him, he’s being moved out of Kilroche to another province, this week.”

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