Me: I am not going to that ugly suburban church again this year. I am not going to church early on Christmas Eve. It’s bad enough that we aren’t going to church at home, with the pastors we know and like, but I shouldn’t have to go to Christmas church at an ugly church. I am going to Midnight Mass downtown at the basilica.
Primo: Are you sure it’s a good idea to go downtown by yourself that late?
Me: I traveled alone over land from Chile back to the US when I was done with Peace Corps, you know. I can handle myself.
Primo: Yeah, you’re right. But I’ll go with you. That’s a really pretty church. I wouldn’t mind going to a service there.
Me: Your mom and dad aren’t going to like it. They’re not going to like that you’re going to church. Your mom thinks Fernando is too involved in his church.
Primo: I don’t care. They don’t get to run my life.
Doris: Why are you so dressed up?
Primo: We’re going to Midnight Mass.
Sly looks pissed but he says nothing.
Doris: Church? Church? Nancy thought being baptized would save her. But it didn’t! It didn’t change anything at all! It was all for nothing.
Doris: Nothing! It did nothing! She had noted it on her calendar with three big exclamation points. She was so very excited, but it didn’t transform her! It didn’t fix her!
Primo: Mom, I am sorry. This isn’t about Nancy. We’re just going to walk around downtown to look at the lights and then we’re going to Midnight Mass. We’ll see you in the morning.
How would baptism heal mental illness, I wonder, and why would an atheist be upset that baptism hadn’t done so?
I slap myself. This is a woman who lost her child to mental illness. Be kind.
Sly glares at Primo and mutters something under his breath. This was not how they had raised him.
Primo glares back.
Primo: Let’s go, sweetie.