Bishop Jeremy Smallwood was so practiced at nodding and smiling that he could have taken a nap while he listened.
Mrs. Brightman-Pennington, referred by many except to her face as Bright Penny, was talking. Droning, in fact, her voice acting like a sedative, a very harsh sedative, as if she could simultaneously put a listener to sleep while dragging sharp nails down his arms. Her voice had an irritating, vaguely condescending quality that, if their meeting exceeded the allotted 30 minutes, Smallwood knew would drive him to a criminal act.
His mind stuck on that phrase – criminal act – and he nearly jumped up from his chair. Instead, he calmed himself, offering a platitude here, a cliché there, anything to avoid alerting Bright Penny that he was coming unglued and his life, so carefully cultivated and constructed, was beginning to unravel.
With each of his nods or comments, Bright Penny would smile and continue to talk.
He didn’t want to listen. Not today. All he wanted to do was to run to his Mini in the cathedral parking lot, drive to the Bristol airport, and hop a plane to Brussels. From Brussels, he would promptly lose himself, somewhere in Europe. Anywhere. His French was tolerable enough; he could find a village in Belgium or perhaps Provence.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Dancing Priest.
Photograph by Kiwihug via . Used with permission.