Please, Sister (Part 1 of several)

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I used to live with nuns. Yes, real live nuns, the kind that dressed in long frocks, with only their faces exposed. But don’t get excited, I didn’t blossom into a lady inside a convent, I just lived in a dorm for a few years.

This was in high school, a time when parents are scared senseless by the onset of teenage hormones, so they take desperate measures to contain it. I remember it well, I was about to start sophomore year, a so-so year, but one that was marked by my entry into the lives of the Sisters.

The school dormitory, a three-storied monstrosity, was newly-renovated (modernised, is how they liked to high-brow it), with several common rooms and semi-private halls. There was of course, a chapel, a kitchen, offices, the nun’s quarters, and a very mysterious, constantly locked attic. Common rooms had up to 16 beds in them, and they were always noisy, crowded, unruly, and therefore, fun. Semi-private halls had a series of rooms that had only two or three beds, meant for college students or professional girls who for the life of me, I could not fathom why they would want to live in a dorm. But hey, to each his own prison, eh?

I was placed in a semi-private room, and was the first one to unpack on a Saturday. My roommate, a member of the high school faculty, would not arrive until a few weeks later. My first night there, a kindly Sister, thinking she would see to the pre-bedtime needs of the new girl, poked her costumed head in the door. It was the fashion among nuns to wear a dark gray habit that seemed to absorb all light. They also seldom knocked on doors in those days. I was halfway between dreaming and wakefulness when I saw a white face floating near the door. I must have let out a frenzied shriek, since the face immediately turned on the light. It was Sister Racquel, come to ask me how I was, and to remind me to say my prayers.

She knocked off the best of my teenage years, I believe, when she scared me like that.

More sister stories to follow, as memory will allow.


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