Blood On The Alter

Hello ruby in the dust
Has your band begun to rust
After all the sin we had
I was hoping that we’d turn bad
Neil Young

Ok, it wasn’t the perfect relationship. Sometimes he expected more openness than she was ready to reveal. But he was intense, and loving, and when he talked to her she could hear the way his voice changed and softened. And when he kissed her shoulders, her knees still buckled the same way as they had that first time…

No, it wasn’t the perfect relationship, but it was damn good. They had crossed the first big hurdle with surprising ease. Shayna wanted to wait for her wedding night to share that most intimate of experiences with Gato. Was she really that pure? He didn’t need to know. He loved and respected her. This was important to Shayna. That made it important to Gato.

But it was over now. Ambushed just as their love was about to take flight, Shayna and Gato stood next to her Ford Escort in the mall parking lot and held each other one last time. He couldn’t believe that he was willingly walking away from the most exciting woman he had ever known. She never expected it to end this way.

Both Shayna and Gato had grown up in the shadow of the Catholic Church. While Shayna had strayed over the years, Gato had completely abandoned the faith. His first marriage, an unfortunate experience for all involved, ended in divorce. His second…well even his closest friends don’t know all the details of that mess. Now, at the age of thirty-six, he found himself dueling with the Church and a parent for the love of a beautiful woman. He was not prepared.

Shayna’s mother, condemned to a loveless marriage, had devoutly dedicated her life to the Church. She couldn’t tolerate her daughter married to a divorced man. Wielding Father Lisinski like a blunt instrument, she pummeled her daughter with a faith whose core was LOVE. The choice was clear. Gato and HELL or her home, her faith, her family and salvation.

Shayna and Gato met in their usual booth in the Arby’s in the mall. Slowly she explained her dilemma to Gato. She was torn. She couldn’t decide. He could hear her say that she wanted to choose him while her eyes revealed her terror of losing her family and her Church. Gato wanted her to have it all. He spoke of peaceful coexistence. But after what her mother and the Priest had said, Shayna couldn’t believe that she could keep the Church, her mother, and Gato.

And now it was time to go. Gato knew that she could not make this choice. No matter what Shayna did, she lost. He told her that some people say “I love you” with flowers. Some recite poetry. But he, Gato, would show her today that he really loved her with all of his heart and soul. He would do this by saying “good-bye”. He drew her close, kissed her on the forehead, then the lips. And then he turned to find his car. He fought back the tears and the urge to return to his beloved.

So it hadn’t been a perfect relationship. But it had been a long time since they were perfect.