Writing competition – the Winner

The Next Good Joy That Mary Had

by David Abbott

I mean God being non-binary is old news, no? So much lost in translation. Did you ever see a nativity scene with folks the right colour? As if the only brown yolks were the donkeys. The baby Jesus, the colour of snow and his mammy a natural blond. Joseph looking on like some bearded Shoreditch hipster.

As a child I belonged to a funny old outfit called the Legion of Mary. We were some kind of army ready to fight if she returned to earth. Fearsome we’d have been. All aged about 10 and natural selection having removed us from sports activities on a weekend.

Me at that age an unknowing but obvious homo. Loved to skip. It’s actually a very economical way to travel. Always met with fierce resistance, mind. My mam let me cut bluebells from the garden, soak them in loo roll and take them up to the convent to adorn the Virgin.

So, this one day and I’m off to join The Legion and doesn’t Sister Mary Evangelista of the Holy Roses stop me at the door and ask me to nip down to the church and get the statue of the big Lady and bring it to the convent for our meet.

Talk about give me joy in my heart keep me burning! Flushed with the obvious leadership status this affords me among the ranks I race at speed to the church of the Sacred Heart of the Immaculate Jubilation.

Spotting Mary Marilyn of Monroe in the corner I am suddenly afeared that she is almost as tall as I am. Undaunted I pick her up and sure she’s made of something terrible light and no bother to carry. It feels wrong to put her under my arm, so I hold her upright and steady against my chest and head off back to Convent HQ.

It’s been a beautiful frosty morning and I’m careful enough not to skip but truth be told I can’t properly see my way as Mary’s big veil is in my eye-line and I don’t see the patch of ice on the pavement. I go down in slow motion, but the feels come at me faster than a bullet. If a single bit of her comes to harm, I’ll be hell bound before you can say a decade of the bountiful mysteries.

In my falling I cling on to her so tight. I make sure that every bit of my body hits the pavement and not one bit of hers does. I hear the tinny thud of impact and rejoice that it is me and not her.

I sit for a few moments on the ground. Mary stood next to me. Traffic going by and no-one pays any heed. Nor does Sr Mary Eva of the Angelic Fashionistas when I knock on the convent door, blood in my hair.

Sacred Blood, I decide.

Blood of Honour.

Blood of The Cross.

Blood of The Legion.

David Abbott lives high up on a hill in Wales with his boyfriend and a rescue dog called Roxy. He is a very occasional writer of fiction.

David Abbott

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