We drove into Montreal from a farm fifty miles north of Ottawa where in early October communion water had already frozen in the unheated chapel where nuns and novitiates chanted at 5:00 am every morning. Life with the “B” hadn’t been nearly as idyllic as C had led us to believe. In fact, K thought the B was the devil and not just a crazy old lady who had nightly orgasms with the Lord while her followers swooned.
Of course, C had been there during the summer when the farm was filled with passionate young soldiers for Christ, all dead set on becoming lay apostolate missionaries by adhering to the B’s strict regimen of sacrifice, duty and devotion. By the gleam in C’s eyes, the mist which always hung over the fields must have been dripping with pheromones that summer as the devoted in their chaste robes ended long days of sacrifice by watching light shows from the edge of the world while in the dark forests wolves howled as their victims cried and drunken Nunavat on stolen ATVs raced through the woods.
But the horny youth had returned to college leaving only middle-aged women whose idea of entertainment was listening to the B’s bad erotic poetry while drinking black tea from tin teapots. Yes, ladies. Jesus is coming to give you the orgasm of a lifetime.
The B’s bio, as recited to us each night in endless epic unrhymed poetry, dangled the prospect that she was related to the Romanovs (the B stood for Baroness). At fifteen she’d married a cousin and in the earlier 1900s the two of them found asylum in Canada from the revolutionaries. Her husband eventually died of his many weaknesses leaving the B in poverty. But, ever the marketeer, she’d managed to sell herself as an authority on conditions in pre-revolutionary Russia, giving her a platform and a speaking tour during which she quickly turned from politics to the divinity of marital sex after Jesus “spoke to her.” And as they say, a star was born.
Husband number two either bought or owned a farm far from civilization along the banks of the Madawaska where Jesus again came to B one night as the river beat like a heart and the moon shone closer to earth than it had in decades and His spirit flooded her body and they were one beating heart, beating like the river, beating, beating, beating until she knew his will must be done. The vision which came post-coital was of a farm that served as a training ground for His army, a place to denounce all worldly possessions and commit to a life of poverty and obedience.
If there’s a hell, that’s certainly where I’m heading, making fun of women who had helped us and who weren’t hurting anyone. But we were young and green, completely unable to understand passions that beat, beat, beat in the dark forests of Northern Ontario. We longed instead for romances of a pastel shade, love, love me do and I want hold your hand.
We didn’t have any pastel romances in Montreal, in fact we didn’t last long there. Too many Americans trying to escape the reign of Richard Nixon. But Mont Royal introduced me to this poet, who sat on a blanket at the top of the mount and strummed this song to poor college students and brought vivid colors into the lives of three clueless virgins.
From Writing for the Absent Reader available on Amazon