An Excerpt – The Bell Tower

 

THE BELL TOWER

That night as I lay in bed, my mind was racing wildly, and sleep was impossible. About midnight, I got up, grabbed a pack of smokes, and a can of Millers beer from my stash of forbidden goodies and made my way up to the off limits bell tower. I needed to make some sense of where my life was going. The reality of things was I was a fun loving, mischievous, fifteen-year-old rebel pursuing my dream of becoming a world-class builder. I was always determined to be the best that I could be and settle for nothing less in life. I’m an achiever, not an over-achiever. I want what I want and I’m determined to get it. I have no interest in doing just enough to get by as some of the robots around me were content to do.

This habit sometimes got me in trouble. In fact, that’s how I ended up  in this Catholic Seminary. I was hiding out from my abusive father, while  getting the education required to enter University and achieve my dream. I wasn’t proud of my circumstances. I was pretty pathetic, but that was what it was. Although I had no intention of becoming a priest when I showed up here two years ago, the comfortable, non-threatening lifestyle of a seminarian was winning me over to the priesthood. At least until this morning when Father Lafayette, a really strange priest who we called Ichabod, shocked me with his disturbing diatribe on how seminarians, are expected to behave. The fervor of his insistence that we obey all the rules, and at all costs avoid close friendships and any attraction to the trappings of the world outside the Seminary gates both blew me away and angered me.

I already had three close friends here, and I was clearly attracted to the outside world, which I found to be exciting and lots of fun. I liked being with girls. In fact, Marsha, an old friend, taught me to do the Bop during my last free day, and Brody and I enjoyed chatting up the Seattle Prep cheerleaders after our exhibition basketball game last week.

My demons have occasionally driven me to hang out with a group of like-minded rebels who regularly gathered to defy authority and break the rules by drinking, smoking, and listen to rock and roll. Rumors of ‘The Gatherings” had shocked Ichabod and sent Chubs on the warpath to track us down.

Summer vacation was just around the corner, and I was intrigued and concerned about the fate of my fragile vocation when it came face to face with the distractions of the outside world.