“Dude,” he said, “look out for the guy on the bike!”

“I saw him!” the driver said. “Take it easy. Relax. You’ve got a seat belt and we’re insured.”

The car was making its way up wending and  sinewy roads toward the monastery.

“How’d you get invited up here anyway,” the passenger asked.

“Well, I was thinking about joining,” the driver said.

“Well, that’s fucked up,” the passenger said, “I mean celibacy.”

“Why not?” the driver said. “It’s just reproduction, a biological function.”

“Yeah,” the passenger said, “So is eating. Gotta have do it, man!” He laughed and socked the driver in the arm.

“Right,” the driver said. “So is death.”

“And speaking of death, watch out for the fucking edge over here,” the passenger said. “You’re gonna kill us.”

They took a sharp turn up a driveway and then up and around more turns.

“Who are you gonna see?” the passenger asked as they parked.

“A guy names Cyril,” the driver answered. “He graduated about 5 years ahead of us.”

They got out of the car and ambled up the steps of a modest looking building with a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean.

“Well,” the passenger observed, “they’ve got a killer view. Too bad they can’t bring chicks up here.”

“Man, keep a lid on it,” he responded,” Besides these guys are Anglicans, like Catholic light. They have married priests.”

“What’s worse anyways, dude,” the passenger asked, “celibacy or marriage. Kinda the same.” He laughed.

“Okay,” he said. “Enough fucking around. Have some reverence and wait for me out here.”

He left him on a bench.

“Hey give me the keys in case you decide to stay,” the tag along asked.

He threw him the keys as he walked through the door.

Inside he spoke with at a monk at a small desk.

“Are you here for a retreat,” the monk asked.

“No,” he said. “I’m here to visit Cyril.”

“Brother Cyril is expecting you?” he asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“Very well,” the monk said standing up. “I’ll lead you to the visiting room.”

They walked together down a long corridor and through two large wooden doors. Then they passed the front of a small but ornate chapel with a large crucifix at the front. They rounded a corner and the monk opened what looked like a closet door.

He directed him into the room and held the door open. Inside the plain room were two chairs facing each other.

The monk stood at the door. “He’ll be here shortly.” Then the door slammed shut.

Several moments passed and the door opened and a man wearing white walked in.

“Hello,” he said. “I’m Cyril.”

They shook hands and Cyril motioned for him to sit. And they did. And there was a silence.

“Thank you for taking the time to see me,” he said. “I thought you would have been wearing black.”

“I’m in the Benedictine order but associated with the Pluscarden monetary in Scotland,” he said. “It’s a historical and monastical peculiarity that we wear white. It’s in devotion to Mary.”

“Mary?” he said, “I always thought of devotion to Mary as Catholic.”

“We are,” he said. “If you spend time studying monasticism you’ll find great variety.”

“I grew up as a fundamentalist,” he said, “You know, Jesus is coming, look busy!”

Cyril laughed and said, “Yes, I spent time with that when I was younger. I tried to be, you know, saved.”

“Yes,” he said. “I suppose that’s why I’m here. I feel, well, like I need to turn myself in.”

“Did you do something wrong?” he asked.

“Not so much that as that I,” he hesitated, “Something doesn’t feel right. Like something is in the way.”

“Of course there is,” Cyril said. “It’s you that’s in the way.”

“Well,” he said, “How did you get here?”

“I was going to be a musician,” Cyril said. “I wanted to play the trumpet. Chet Baker was my idol, my hero.”

“I don’t know him,” he said.

“Next time your in a record store, pick up Chet Baker Sings, the album,” Cyril said. “In any event, that didn’t happen. It wasn’t what I was supposed to do.”

“How do we know what we’re supposed to do?” he asked.

“There’s a song on that record,” Cyril said, then spoke the lyrics.

Whenever it’s early twilight
I watch ’til a star breaks through
Funny, it’s not a star I see
It’s always you

Whenever I roam through roses
And lately I often do
Funny, it’s not a rose I touch
It’s always you

If a breeze caresses me
It’s really you strolling by
If I hear a melody
It’s merely the way you sigh

“It’s a love song of course,” Cyril continued. “But who is in love here?”

“Sounds like the usual thing to me,” he said. “A guy obsessed with a girl.”

“Maybe,” Cyril said, “For me, the ‘you’ in the song was God. Often people think that monks and such are people seeking God. Usually it’s the other way around. God was obsessed with me. Everywhere I looked, there he was waiting for me”

“That . . . you know . . . that, what you said there” he stammered, “makes sense to me. But, well, it’s scary.” He shifted in his chair and leaned forward. “I mean it sounds like — and I mean no offense — like death.”

“You mean answering that call, picking up the phone?” asked Cyril.

“Yes,” he said, “I mean giving up sex, and life, and even my name. That’s a long way to go.”

“Giving those things up, that’s the method, not the purpose,” Cyril said. “The call is to be a witness to the eternal, to God, to always be engaged and listening for His voice.”

There was a pause. Now Cyril leaned forward.

“Giving up those things just makes way for Him to speak,” Cyril said.

“And what’s He saying?” he asked.

“I’m still waiting,” Cyril said.

“So am I,” he said.

“Exactly,” Cyril said leaning back. “Keep listening. There are monks here who haven’t heard him speak for years. And some of us don’t get along with each other.”

“Like feuds, between the brothers?” he asked.

“Yes,” Cyril said. “People still are people. You must make everywhere and everything — work, play, your studies — each of those is your monastery. He’ll find you.”

Cyril stood up and opened the door.

“He’s out there waiting,” Cyril said.

“Yeah,” he said. “He’s probably asleep.”

“Asleep?” Cyril said confused.

“Oh you mean God,” he said laughing. “I was thinking of my friend waiting outside.”

They both laughed.

Sure enough, the passenger was fast asleep on the bench outside. He was snoring a bit and some drool had started to flow from his mouth.

“Hey!” he said, “Let’s go!”

He struggled to his feet and yawned.

“I needed that,” he said. “So did you sign up?”

“No,” he said “Gimme the keys.”

On the way back to town he stopped at a record store. They walked around for a while and he found a cassette tape.

When they got back in the car he opened the package and stuck the cassette in the player.

“Who is it?” the sleepy passenger asked.

“Chet Baker,” he answered and hit play.

Long ago my heart and mind
Got together and designed
The wonderful girl for me
Oh what a fantasy

Thought the idol of my heart
Can’t be ordered a la carte
I wonder if she will be
Always a fantasy

Will I ever find the girl in my mind?
The one who is my ideal
Maybe she’s a dream and yet she might be
Just around the corner waiting for me

Will I recognize the light in her eyes
That no other eyes reveal
Or will I pass her by and never even know
That she was my ideal

Will I recognize the light in her eyes
That no other eyes reveal
Or will I pass her by and never even know
That she is my ideal