My Little Cherub

Posted: October 25, 2014 in Uncategorized


“Ginny, you look beautiful!” My mother smiled widely, patting the freshly pressed lacy veil that was covering my face. “What a gorgeous bride you will be…” she crooned, “Why,  you look just like a little cherub.”

I heard the last sentence trail off slowly, like the slow turn of a faucet handle, squeezing the water’s flow to a non-existent trickle. Mom’s words sounded distant in my ears, as I began to feel woozy. My cheeks flushed with fever, my ears burned and I felt…suddenly disconnected. I stumbled to maintain my footing, but nothing I could do would stop me from falling. I squeaked out a “Mom– I’m gonna pa–” when I slumped to my knees. I couldn’t remember anything past that. On that day, the day I got married. The day I remembered everything.

It was coming to me in little flakes of memory — bits and pieces of confetti slowly reassembling into fuzzy images in my mind. “My little cherub” — Why did these three simple words make my heart race and my stomach roll?

Black…I’ve always feared that color. Not black people, not black objects, just…black. I see an image of black stitching together. It seems “evil”, but I don’t know why. It’s black and heavy. Thick, with substance to it. I can almost reach out and touch it, but…no, it’s gone again. What does it mean? What’s happening here?

Back to the wedding day. It was almost a perfect wedding, once I came to, that was. Of course my mother was worried sick – her baby girl had turned ashen gray and collapsed like a sack of potatoes onto the cold, tiled bride’s room floor. She told me it took nearly two minutes to awaken me. Apparently, I was out cold. She almost called the paramedics. I was glad she didn’t – I would have been sooo embarrassed! Besides, I’ve been dreaming of my wedding day since I was nine years old — when I used to dress my cat Jester up in fake groom’s clothes and, together, we’d walk down the aisle (hallway of my big two-story brick home) and wave to the stuffed animals sitting “in the pews” as I hummed Here Comes the Bride under my breath. I must have married and remarried Jester about two hundred times that past summer. Before I moved onto Barbies and dancing.

My new husband–the handsome groom. We met at the ice rink. He was coaching a team of mini mites, and I had stopped by to watch my little nephew play in the championship game. He looked so cute out there on the ice – all six-foot four of  him, bunched over and deeply engrossed in conversation with a five-year old so terrified of falling the poor boy was immovable. Brad (that’s my new husband — HUSBAND!) was stooped over, with his arms bracing little Devin’s shoulders, gently coaxing him to put one skate in front of the other. I knew right there and then I wanted him to be the father of our children. I had my sister set us up on a date (where else did we go but the ice rink?) and the rest, they say, is history.

I remember hearing the processional music  begin – the organist was above me and the crowd stood on their feet and turned around to see me – ME! – little Ginny O’Reilly – start my first step into a new life as a happily married woman. And that’s when all the little confetti puzzle pieces clunked into place right before my eyes.

I was eight years old, and preparing for my first communion. I was so excited to finally be allowed to taste the body and blood of Christ, my Lord and Savior. I had practiced for weeks, folding my little gloved hands in front of me — finger tips touching in perfect prayer form. I spent hours trying on little bridal dresses with perfectly matching, waist-length veils. My white patent leather shoes were so brightly polished I could see my reflection in them. I could see the reflection of the other communicants as we practiced walking up and down the aisle in perfect, saintly synchronization. And then I saw him. Father Eoghan.

He approached me so quietly, I never saw him until he appeared, like Jesus himself – right before my eyes. He was in black – all black. Thick, black….oh god…

I remember him saying, as he led me hurriedly into the sacristy “My little cherub…have you seen the face of God?”

I absolutely hate the color black.

The Vatican Prepares For The Election Of The Next Pope




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