They stood next to each other holding hymnals as the procession moved down the aisle of the church. She leaned toward him and whispered something in his ear.

He laughed, then scowled, and elbowed her. She covered up her smile.

The processional was the ponderous hymn, Saint Patrick’s Breastplate.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet “Well done” in judgment hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

The crucifer passed and he turned and bowed. It was Trinity Sunday, an especially interesting day on the liturgical calendar. Somehow, she had convinced him to get high in the parking lot beforehand. He never liked pot, but she was a bad influence. He went along with it. Part of his brain was experiencing the liturgy like never before, like it was in technicolor, like Charlton Heston holding the Ten Commandments.

The other part of his brain was profoundly amused by the whole thing and the fact that he was there with her. He asked her to come and she refused.

“I’m not going to some fucking Republican church service,” she said.

Then she changed her mind. Then she decided they should be stoned. Now he was wondering how he would navigate her through communion without her making a comment to the priest about the wine. Or just taking it and walking out with the chalice.

They got through the whole service without incident except for her snickering and making comments that annoyed him and made him laugh, sometimes out loud. This was much to the chagrin of the older man with the bad luck to be sitting in front of them.

“Oh, sweet Jesus,” he said as they walked out of the church. “I thought that would never end.”

“Do you think anybody knew we were stoned,” she asked.

“They’re Episcopalians,” he said. “Half of them were probably stoned too.”

“On what?” she wondered. “Pain killers and high blood pressure medication? I haven’t seen a crowd that old since the last time I watched a Lawrence Welk rerun.”

That made him laugh.

“Oh my God,” he said. “I haven’t thought of Lawrence Welk in years.”

He imagined the Lawrence Welk Eucharist with bubbles coming down during the elevation of the host. His ribs were hurting from laughing so hard.

They walked down a tree lined street toward a park.

“That one part was weird,” she said.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“That thing everyone mumbled,” she said.

“I take you to church,” he said, “You said you wanted to see my church.”

“Don’t get all defensive,” she said. She took out the service leaflet.

She jumped in front of him and read from it.

“We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
and of all that is, seen and unseen.”

She looked at him with that light in her eyes.  

“Yeah,” he said. “So, what?”

She put her arm around a tree and smiled.

“They’re monotheists, right?” she asked.

“Look,” he said, “We were on our way to get donuts. I was promised donuts, not anthropology and theology.”

She hid her face behind the tree. She sang the creed from behind the tree, doing her best Ambrosian chant.

“We believe in one God,
    the Father, the Almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    the only Son of God,
    eternally begotten of the Father,
    God from God, Light from Light,
    true God from true God,
    begotten, not made,
    of one Being with the Father.
    Through him all things were made.
    For us and for our salvation
        he came down from heaven:
    by the power of the Holy Spirit
        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
        and was made man.”

He laughed.

A couple of ladies walking by looked at them as she sang the creed.

“Hello, ladies,” he said. “We’re just dealing with the Trinity.”

She peeked back from around the tree. She was wearing a tank top. It was warm. He felt warm as he looked at her face.

“So,” she said, handing him the leaflet, “Explain to me how we’re monotheists but we have God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and this lady Mary.”

He snapped it from her. He folded it and put it in his back pocket. He reached for her and held her close. She held her arms out for a minute, and then closed them around him. They looked at each other in an embrace.

“I could never fit all those people into my arms,” she said.

He laughed.

“You’re not supposed to understand the Holy Trinity,” he said.

As they kissed, they pressed against the tree.

“Hey,” she said, “Donuts.”

“Fuck the donuts,” he said, “I want you.”

“You’ll get me later,” she said.

“Donuts first,” he said.

They wandered into the park forgetting about the donuts. She sat down and pulled him down with her. Then they both fell back looking up at the blue sky.

“It is a beautiful day, anyway,” she said.

“Anyway,” he repeated mindlessly.

“Hey when you were a kid who did you want to be?”

“Besides President of the United States?”

“No, not a job, dummy,” she said. “I mean like someone in the world who existed but, you know, you wanted to be. Like I wanted to be Madonna.”


“Yes, she was like a god-hero. Powerful. Sexy.”

“Well, if we’re talking pop tarts,” he said. “I mean pop stars.”

Now she was laughing and rolling over on him on the grass, throwing one arm and leg over him.

“If I had to pick a pop tart,” he said keeping it going, “I’d have to say Bryan Ferry.”

She laughed.

“Why him? He’s such a fuddy duddy like Frank Sinatra born too late.”

“That’s exactly it. He wore a coat and tie and is just sexy. Yeah. Like Sinatra I guess.”

“But Bryan Ferry is just a pop tart version of you. Like a professor that stumbled onto the stage. Or politician”

He looked at her and said, “What about Lavert?”

She laughed. He started to sing quietly to her.

I ain’t much on Casanova
Me and Romeo ain’t never been friends.
Can’t you see how much I really love you?
Gonna sing it to you time and time again.

“That’s just silly. Lavert?”

Every man deserves a good woman
And I want you to be my wife.
Time is so much better spent with
A woman just like you in my life.

She sat up and looked at him.

“Wait,” she said. “Are you asking me to marry you or are you just stoned silly?”

He got on his knees and looked at her, took her hands, and smiled.

Don’t you know that I’ll get down on my knees for you, baby?

“Where’s the ring?”

“Why ring when you can sing? I’m stoned and I’m serious. Marry me.”

“But it’s illegal, we’ll have to go to Mississippi or something.”

“It’s probably a sin too, but let’s do it any way.”

“Yes! Yes. Whatever. Let’s do it.”

They kissed each other. They had been sitting close enough to two other couples sitting on blankets in the park. They’d heard enough to start applauding. They stopped kissing, and relaxed their embrace to acknowledge the approval with embarrassed smiles. Then they stood up and starting walking toward the donut shop holding hands.

“I guess it’s going to be me and you and our little buddy,” he said. “Just the three of us.”

“Yeah,” she said. “A trinity. Father, daughter, and Holy Ghost. I get to be the Holy Ghost.”

“That’s just perfect,” he said. “You are the fucking Holy Ghost.”