“The Church,” said Professor Bramley, pacing around with his hands gripped behind his back, “took considerable steps to keep from acknowledging that science was a better way to understand the world than theology. This truth is nowhere more evident than with its mal-treatment of the astrologer, Galileo.”
Dominic’s right eyebrow arched skyward, while his body remained in exquisite posture, back straight, arms forward on the table, studious, surrounding his notebook, filled with attentive notes, with affection and youthful eagerness. His cursive, phenomenal for a college sophomore, exemplified a brilliant fluidity, the circles and swirls of perhaps some artistic affluence yet undiscovered. After hearing those words all stopped. “If I have to listen to this yet again,” he thought, trying hard to figure out what exactly he would do.
‘Why did you have the knife on you, when you came to me in the church?’ I asked in response without using a splinter of passion.
‘I was carrying it, so I could protect myself from the boyfriend of a colleague of mine. We’d had sex only once in the kitchen of an apartment where we were celebrating St. Nicholas’ Day. Her boyfriend wasn’t there, I don’t remember why, but someone told him what we had done. The guy said nothing to me, but I heard he made a huge scene, when he found out about the kitchen episode… He must have called me dozens of names in front of her.’
‘And because I said I wasn’t able to see what you need a baptism for, you decided to butcher me?’
Nevertheless, Tara and he had made their pact in that circle. Upon this sunrise it would have been seven days ago, in that last circle of the city. Everyone had been pushing for squares so much that circles went out of fashion.
It was she that had brought the subject up. They had gone to the circle for some pastries after work that day. The talk soon turned to what lay over the horizon, but it stopped short for the last bite. Lane finished his last, just before Tara had said, “I hear the mountain is beautiful this time of year.” She had lately been picking up on things on his mind.
Lane offered his assent. Then he asked, “Do you want to see what it’s like from the summit?”
Tara smiled, not because she wanted to see the mountain, but because he had yet again framed his question more elaborately than was needed.
Hugh had always thought it would be easy to give obedience to someone who was clearly his legitimate superior. Now he wondered why he had thought that. After all, he’d never found it easy to give proper obedience to his parents, and they were his primary “superiors,” so to speak. Practicing a virtue, he was beginning to realize, didn’t usually feel good, unless it was one you had particularly mastered or were predisposed to practice. In fact, the answer to his problem was the same basic one that he had been told for years, except that he hadn’t really understood it. Self-sacrifice – “offer it up” in the words of his childhood, or “self-gift” in the language of personalism and the theology of the body – that was what obedience meant. Dying to himself was what God required of him.
He laughed and swung his blade, cutting off a couple tall weeds. “Well, I have to rescue a princess, and I’m not good enough yet.” He looked up, a little shamefacedly. “Does that sound funny?”
“No, not at all,” she reassured him. “Who do you need to save?”
“Well, I don’t know, yet. I’ve saved a lot of princesses, but that was just accidentally, almost – I kept thinking I had found my true quest, but it was just someone else. But each adventure is more exciting than the last, and someday I will find the princess I am meant to rescue.”
Prince Tristan seemed to understand questing and seemed confident in his own quest, so the girl asked him a question that had been puzzling her.
“Have you ever been in a well? But you don’t need to tell me about it,” she added, “if you don’t want to.”
“Yes, of course. I spent several years in a well, and didn’t think I would ever get out. It’s happened to a lot of people.”