I make daisy chains. To make a daisy chain you have to own at least one decent finger nail. My friend, Monica, doesn't have any nails because she chews on them constantly.
- How many sins do you have, she asks, as she watches me pick the daisies.
- Well, I have to have at least four, otherwise, they're no good to anyone.
The stem of a daisy is the colour of an opened up lime and it is delicate the way I imagine a vein to be, so you have to be careful to find the right spot so that you can splice it. The thickest place is the best.
Monica keeps on talking even though I don't want her to.
- What's your first sin, she asks
- I thought bad thoughts, I say far too quickly
She laughs at that and points one of her raw scraggly fingers at me like a judge in a courtoom.
When you have made the proper opening in the stems you can begin to loop all the daisies together. Once you have about four daisies connected the chain starts to look like something.
- Go on, Monica says, that's only one sin
- I called my brother stupid. I said a bad word. I killed a spider.
Monica watches my creation unfold. I know she wants me to ask what her sins are but I don't want to know. When the chain is complete I slip it over my head and it settles softly on my skin.
The confession box is like the cupboard underneath the stairs at home. The cupboard where we put the coal scuttle and the old muddy boots and tins of polish. The ironing board and cans of paint gone stiff from lack of use. My sins spin around in my mouth like Gob Stoppers that I don't want to swallow. The latch slides open and a silhouette waits.
- Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been one week since my last confession.
Outside the church I scoop up the air with my clean mouth. My step is curiously light as I realise that it will be one long week until I have to search for my sins once more. When I get home my mother asks me what I got;
- Four Hail Marys and One Our Father, I say as I snatch the chain from my neck and toss it into the bin.