Holy Saturday, 2011
“We’re going to hell, bro.”
“Let’s toast to that, sis.”
I tapped my glass with Raf’s — bourbon & Diet Coke and rum & regular Coke respectively — and drank. We delivered the tithing envelope to St. Benedict’s earlier that evening. Rather than staying for Mass, we went to TJ’s, a sports bar, instead.
Our parents were never the wiser after these excursions. Raf always picked up a weekly bulletin from the vestibule and I kept Febreze in my car to neutralize the lingering stench of bar smoke. Reasoning with our parents about our lack of connection to the church resulted in the same monotonous lecture about faith and tradition.
“A toast — to our tradition –”
“– of having fun, instead of sitting through Mass.”
A random Sunday, summer 2012
Starbucks was surprisingly empty for a Sunday morning.
“How about a table on the patio?”
“Will we be able to hear anything?”
“You brought your earbuds, didn’t you?”
“Yeah — plus, we don’t wanna be those people watching a show while people are trying to do work in peace.”
“Watching and reacting to the show, you mean.”
Initially, I was skeptical. Game of Thrones sounded nerdy as hell. However, once we started watching the day before, we only stopped the marathon to eat and sleep. Somehow, we were more compelled by these fictional storylines than by any sermons we had heard.
Easter Sunday, 2013
“What is this — you guys get drunk so you don’t have to go to Mass?!”
We shrugged at our mother, wine glasses in hand.
“Too bad, you’ll just have to sober up. We’re going together as a family.”
An hour later while driving to church, we ignored our parents’ typical pre-church conversation.
“Stupid asshole just cut me off, Ting!”
“He’s probably a Korean. You know they can’t drive, Fran.”
“I hope it’s not Father Charles today. His sermons are so boring.”
“His Nigerian accent is hard to understand.”
I finally cut in. “You always fall asleep during his sermons. So what’s the point of going to Mass, when you get nothing out of it?”
“It’s important to go to Mass, anak.”
We exchanged exasperated looks. Our dad’s Filipino accent suddenly materialized, as it did whenever he was trying to impart wisdom. We tuned out the rest of the lecture. Today was no different from any other Sunday.
Still, we had hope. Treating others the way you wanted to be treated was the message we internalized from years of being dragged to church. Perhaps one day, our parents would realize the same.