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The book 'It's God's wish' includes a novelette with this same title, which relates the troubled relationship of the protagonist who is a French Catholic priest with a couple of American missionaries that set a church in the same village in West Africa where he preaches. This novelette is accompanied by six more short stories.
Below is a glimpse of the novelette that opens up the anthology:
The orange sphere of the setting sun glowed above the western golden hill tops, sneaking time and again between the broad leaves of the tick trees, which separated the hotel from the horizon line; a crimson sunset so typical to this part of the world, was in mid setting.
Father Felix Desirade parked his light bike at the narrow parking place at the feet of the balcony of the village's sole hotel. He climbed the stairs that led to the hotel's entrance ponderously, and uttered a sigh of relief as he reached the balcony's plain. He crossed the entrance of the small restaurant and reviewed with a comprehensive gaze the restaurant's empty hall. A typical African music filled the air, and at the bar near the entrance stood a young African, listening to A typical African music filled the air, and at the bar near the entrance stood a young African, listening to the local radio station.
'Are there any guests today Francois?' Father Desirad asked him while advancing towards the bar.
The young African nodded his head from side to side, and a shade of a smile appeared on his face as he asked: 'Pastis?'
'No thanks, a local lager beer please,' Desirade hastened to answer.


Submitted:Jan 15, 2014    Reads: 13    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


IT'S GOD'S WISH

HAIM KADMAN

The plot of this book "It's God's wish" is a work of fiction, and is a product of the author's imagination. The protagonist and the different characters names, and the plot's background descriptions are fictitious; any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or places are coincidental.

Copyright © Haim Kadman 2013.

All rights reserved; published digitally in the United States of America by Amazon Kindle.

IT'S GOD'S WISH

The orange sphere of the setting sun glowed above the western golden hill tops, sneaking time and again between the broad leaves of the tick trees, which separated the hotel from the horizon line; a crimson sunset so typical to this part of the world, was in mid setting.

Father Felix Desirade parked his light bike at the narrow parking place at the feet of the balcony of the village's sole hotel. He climbed the stairs that led to the hotel's entrance ponderously, and uttered a sigh of relief as he reached the balcony's plain. He crossed the entrance of the small restaurant and reviewed with a comprehensive gaze the restaurant's empty hall.

A typical African music filled the air, and at the bar near the entrance stood a young African, listening to the local radio station.

'Are there any guests today Francois?' Father Desirad asked him while advancing towards the bar.

The young African nodded his head from side to side, and a shade of a smile appeared on his face as he asked: 'Pastis?'

'No thanks, a local lager beer please,' Desirade hastened to answer, and turned his face away from the mocking smile on the young African face. He rushed out to the balcony and sat at one of the tables that were next to the parapet. He watched the dying sun and glanced time and again at the road below the hill, on which the hotel is situated.

Every time when his lot of frustration reached an unbearable peak, he used to visit the hotel at about this hour of day; to watch the setting of the sun, and to exchange a few words with one of the village's residents that could afford a visit at the hotel's bar and happened by.

In this forlorn village lived his church congregation, he was the spiritual father of this miserable village residents, which expanded on both sides of the road beneath the village sole hotel.

He was sent from France to strengthen the influence of Christianity in this part of Africa some eight years ago. He did not entertain illusions concerning his future, this mission was in fact the last chapter of his life; a kind of exile, which he was forced to accept.

At the end of his first year mission most of his congregation members left him, and his church that was no more than an African hut, which was a bit bigger compared to an ordinary hut was empty and deserted even on Sundays.

At the beginning of his second year he almost lost his mind out of desperation, each time he was assaulted with fears of his seniors in France, and the shame that this state of helplessness brought him.

He used to visit the huts of those few he was still able to convince to come and listen to his preaches, not before he begged them and promised them paradise or threatened them with the Day of Judgment. But the few that he managed to return to his church after so many efforts on his part have deserted him again and again.

A slight trail of dust rose above the dirt road that climbs from the village to the hotel, and a clattering noise of a bike's engine was heard louder and louder as the bike was getting nearer.

Thank God someone is coming at last, Father Desirade thought relieved, watching the moving bike getting bigger and bigger and the ever increasing dust trail in its wake. When the bike reached the feet of the hotel's staircase, Father Desirade raised his arm and moved it towards the stranger in an inviting sign no matter whom he is, provided he will sit with him and pull him out from his stiffening loneliness.

'Hello Dave,' father Desirade called out cheerfully perceiving the handsome young man that has just switched off his bike's engine, and parked it at the hotel narrow parking space.

David Walters smiled back to him while mounting the hotel's staircase that led to the hotel broad balcony, having reached his friend he shook warmly hands with him and they both sat down opposite each other.

This handsome young man was twenty two years old; he was slim, tall and the fair forelock that fell on his brow above two blue intelligent eyes intensified his charismatic appearance.

'I wouldn't have been surprised if your forefathers were French Huguenots that were discriminated in France and had to immigrate to the new world.' Father Desirade declared with enthusiasm caused by the appearance of that good looking young American

'My forefathers were Welshmen and they arrived at the new world with the Mayflower.' Dave replied him with an amused smile. 'It was checked and verified.'

'So help me you should have been born a Frenchman.' Desirade declared despite the slight disappointment his guest caused him.

'Francois,' father Desirade raised his voice turning to the young African that stood in the entrance watching the newcomer several minutes already.

'Do fetch us cold beer we're thirsty.'

'And who's going to pay?' The young barman asked with impudence.

'Don't you worry my son,' father Desirade answered him pulling a few bank notes from his coat's inner pocket.

Francois returned to the hall and after a short while he came back carrying a platter with the glasses and bottles as ordered, and put his load on the table and smiled to Dave before he returned to the bar.

Father Desirade was very fond of the young and handsome American that arrived with a dozen of boys and girls, which volunteered to the American Peace Corps to serve in this forlorn village about a year ago.

Dave despite his charismatic appearance was a loner, and he kept away from his compatriots whenever he could, that was one of the reasons that brought father Desirade and him together and was the cause of their exceptional friendship.

'You're returning early tonight,' father Desirade remarked after they clinked their glasses and quenched their thirst.

'Yes that's right,' Dave mumbled and turned his eyes to watch the sun's orange orbit, which gleamed still above the green hills.

'I've been invited to have dinner with the Benson family tonight, but I don't think I'll accept their invitation this time, you do know them don't you?' He looked back at father Desirade.

'I wouldn't say that I know them although I've been introduced to them, but I wasn't invited yet to visit them.' Father Desirade answered him clearing slightly his throat. 'I doubt it very much if I'll ever be invited to visit them,' He added with a chuckle to cover how edgy he is, but his facial expression did not change.

Dave watched his friend's face rather surprised, father Desirade downfall was never mentioned in their conversations, not even in a clue like it has been exposed this very time.

'Correct me if I'm wrong,' Dave turned to his friend with caution. 'Doesn't their success worry you? Their church is crowded to its full capacity every Sunday…' For a friction of a second Dave was assailed with feelings of regret, lest he offended his friend inadvertently.

'I'm a very practical and a realistic man Dave; their success doesn't arouse my envy. I've been successful too during my first year here.' When father Desirade noticed the young man's embarrassment he hastened to add: 'During the eight years that I'm serving here, no eminent person of my church bothered to visit me; maybe it's the three hundred and fifty miles of dirt road strewn with obstacles between the capital and us is the reason and the guarantee to my survival here, and to my loneliness though it may seem strange to you.' Father Desirade remarked with a melancholic smile. 'Let's presume that the echoes of the Christian Unity Church success would reach France, and would emphasize my shortcomings; I'm not scared on the contrary I'm full of hope, let them summon me to Paris by a telegram my superiors and pull me out of that forlorn village… What can they do to me? They'll install me in one of their offices at the most, to take care of all the church's representatives, which are dispersed in the black continent. I'm tired and sick Dave out of disappointments and loneliness, and maybe I'd better stop preaching on Sundays.' Father Desirade summed his trial with a sad smile, as if he accepts his fate with tranquility.

But father Desirade masked the truth rather well in his supposedly open hearted confession, which was completely different from the true situation. He followed with alarm the successes of Benson and his wife from the first day of their arrival at the village, their successful industrious activity aroused in him extreme hatred that pulled him out of his apathy and his feebleness, which have overpowered him for such a long time; and in what was summed up his activity during the last years for truth sake? It summed up in secret drunkenness and sleeping with the African female that served him, in going from door to door between his ex church goers huts, begging them to return to his church, and in sending false reports to his superiors in France about the spiritual enlightening with which he endows his community of believers. While that American couple have no lack of means and they tend the needy among their community with money donations. So how can anyone wonder when their church is crowded every Sunday and that they are so successful, while he curses them every night on his bed unable to sleep out of jealousy.

'How strange I'm standing in the middle of a crossroads too,' Dave noted with a sad smile, cutting off father Desirade thoughts. 'What a coincidence I'm travelling to the capital tomorrow.' He added after a short pause. 'I've spent all the afternoon with my group compatriots taking leave of them, I'm returning to the States for a while.'

What an unexpected loss, father Desirade thought with despair, his cheerfulness changed into his usual gloom.

'What happened for God's sake Dave are you going to enlist…? He asked alarmed his young friend.

'No it's just a short homeland visit, I've been informed that my mother's health has deteriorated lately and I must see her.' Dave lowered his eyes for a friction of second and looked up again watching father Desirade gloomy features.

'I won't hide it from you I've no intention to return here and I'll do my best to get a transfer, I haven't integrated in my group as I should have, and thus there're good chances that I'll get what I want.' He coughed slightly and turned to look at the darkening hill in the distance, and on the line of pale crimson light that was fading slowly on the horizon.

Something has gone wrong between him and the Bensons; I'm sure that this is his problem. Father Desirade concluded excitedly. What kind of relationship Dave had with the Bensons was not known clearly to him, but he knew like many others in the village that Dave was their closest friend.

Just a little patience, father Desirade encouraged himself if this young man won't unload it right away, or if his moral commitment to his compatriots prevents him to unload it from his conscious right now; I'll find the way to his heart during this very evening, all I've to do is wait.

When father Desirade noticed Francois dark silhouette approaching them with a lighted lamp in his hand, he moved his head from side to side in a mute sign of negation, and Francois returned to lobby with the lamp without a word, leaving the bar's two only guests in darkness.

That's much better, the many insects that would be attracted to the lamp might distract Dave's attention, the insects' chirpings plus the likeness of a confession cabin darkness will open his heart. Father Desirade thought with much hope.

I'm so sorry to lose your friendship dear Dave.' Father Desirade said in a low voice. 'I'll miss you terribly,' he added with emphasize putting his hand on Dave's shoulder.

'I'm very sorry too, but…' Dave answered with embarrassment.

Father Desirade realized his friend's unpleasantness and released Dave shoulder. He put his two hands on the table and bent forwards his friend.

'Isn't there a danger that you'll be sent to that blood sucking inferno in Vietnam?' He asked Dave in a shaky voice.

'No there isn't the slight chance that I'll be sent there, my contract with the peace corp. is sound, but I must get a transfer that's all.' He said resolutely exhaling the air caught in his lungs with impatience. And again a short spell of silence ensued.

'I don't know if I'll express myself well enough,' Dave opened up again in hesitant French and with a heavy Anglo-Saxon pronunciation due to his excitement. 'I don't know whether I should tell you about my relations with the Benson family as I've never told you anything about it before, there were some reasons against it… But I guess you'll better hear it from me and not as a distorted rumor, which would be spread in the village sooner or later after my departure. Well I've never hidden my relations with them.' He added with a note of anger that surprised the French priest. Father Desirade took a deep breath of air and leaned forward putting his elbows on the table, and listened intently to the young man.

'I've had lunch on their table last Wednesday together with their offsprings. They've a son and a daughter and they very sweet. I used to amuse their offsprings whenever I've visited them. John to me is like my big brother and the relations between us are real close, while Edit kept her distance and treated politely not above it. I'd to travel northward to Palimay to meet several representatives of our group, which are dealing with preparation for the expansion of our activities in this country. I'd to bring them mail, information, tell them what's going on, and check how they're doing.' Dave cleared his throat and avoided a few seconds father Desirade intense gaze, as if he wondered should he keep on telling father Deirade what bothers his conscious. But he coughed aloud and went on talking:

'As I was about to leave them Edit asked me to bring her a box of mango from Palimay, there's an avenue of mango trees over there that was planted by the Germans when they ruled this country before world war one.' Dave made a second pause exhaling the air in his lungs without hiding his hesitations from his friend; it seemed somewhat hard for him to keep on revealing his thoughts

'Well I traveled northward and I'd no problem to pick a full box of mango for her as those trees don't belong to anyone; I've met my friends and passed about an hour or so with them, but I'd some trouble with my bike a malfunction that kept me there several hours. I've returned at day's end and was asked to stay for dinner with the Bensons; Edit was very happy and John decided to celebrate my safe return with a glass of bourbon, and we'd wine during the meal… I don't drink usually but I couldn't stop John from pouring a few more glasses of wine. I was loaded at the end of meal, I wasn't completely drunk but I wasn't able to drive on to my lodging with my group. So John said I'd better stay the night there and sleep in the guest's bedroom. Well do I have to add anything more…?' He asked with a sarcastic sad smile.

'Did you've a mystical enlightening dream during the night? No I don't think so.' Father Desirade noted smiling. 'But do go on please I didn't get what you meant to say.'

'At about three or four am I guess I woke up, and I saw Edit standing next to my bed in the darkness. I didn't have to identify her, she's the only woman at that hour in the house, as the local maid ends her duties right after dinner and I could perceive very clearly the shape of her white gleaming body. The moment she realized that I'm awake she bent down towards me and whispered "It's God's wish", she pulled the blanket off me and sprawled all over me stark naked…'

No wonder she was tempted, father Desirade thought in sober astonishment. If he wouldn't have shaved his face two or three months, he would have looked like Jesus Christ in his full magnificence; like our Lord Jesus depicted in the paintings of many masters of the renaissance era. But father Desirade did not open his mouth, due to his astonishment and not as a tactful reaction.

'I feel like I've betrayed John, it's an open wound that will never heal; while I've never been attracted sexually to Edit though she isn't bad looking, but not even one such thought crossed my mind while being with them, or on my own…That's why I'm not able to visit them or even see them from now on.' Dave remarked lowering his eyes. 'If you'll meet them and they'll ask you about me, tell them that you've heard that I was transferred urgently to the neighboring country, to replace a sick colleague, okay?'

Father Desirde nodded his head with a mute consent; he was not able to say a single word so bewildered was he.

'I'm travelling to the capital tomorrow at dawn, and from there I'm flying home.'

'Okay Dave that's what I'll tell them, and I'm so sorry that you've to leave.' Father Desirade recovered from his stupor, and muttered at last his promise to his friend in a low voice.

The two friends stood up and hugged each other before parting, a few seconds passed and Dave descended the hotel and stairs started his bike's engine; he switched on its lights and rode westward on the dirt road, while father Desirade followed his advancement till his red rear light faded gradually and vanished





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