“Journalism is your passion.  What happened?”

Regina’s hazel eyes filled with tears.  “You did, Joe.”

“You knew from the start I’m in the seminary.”  He looked at the tattered hat in his hands.  She was so young; too young.  She had lied about her age when they first met, but he continued seeing her, even when he knew the truth.

“You’re only human.”

“I’m going to be a priest.  What kind of a man would I be if I reneged on my promise?  Would you want so fickle a husband?”

“I can’t live without you!”

He plopped down on a nearby bench before recalling it had rained earlier.  There was a garbage strike and even the rose garden smelled.  Shouldn’t the rain have improved the situation, he wondered.

He sighed looking down at the tattered hat he still held.  “I’m not a good man.  I’m acquisitive, I drink too much Jim Beam, and play the ponies.”

She placed a delicate hand on his shoulder.  “You’ve been nothing but a gentleman.”

“The only time I feel like I’m a good person is when I’m doing His work.”  The seminary made him a better person.  It was the right path.

Regina’s gaze, full of adoration, made him angry.  Why couldn’t she understand?  He chastised himself.  She was innocent; he needed to be more understanding.  They stared at each other.  She really was a beautiful girl, and he wished they had a future together.

Finally, she wiped away the tears.  “Either you’ll change your mind, or you won’t.  You know where to find me.  I’ll always love you Joe.”  She leaned down and kissed him on his cheek, then walked away, not looking back.  He sketched a Benediction and wished her well, hoping their paths would cross again, but knowing that was wrong.

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