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The Mass
prose [ ]

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by [mircealupu ]

2011-12-21  |     | 

On the street leading to the Patriarchy there are bookstores selling bibles and prayer booklets on display in the windows.
I am still a young boy eager to attend the Sunday Mass. On my way I pass by all those bookstores resembling each other.
Tightly squeezed between them there is a small shop, which looks nothing like those lined behind me.
Instead of books, there are wheels of cheese in the window. They are arranged one next to the other, like books on a shelf; it is cheese from Sibiu- a region well-known for its diary products.
I enter the shop. I think it is not too late to attend the Mass.
Inside the shop it is quiet. There is nobody behind the counter.
In front of me there is a red-painted wall. From the ceiling hang bunches of sausages like ceremonial candelabra.
From behind the wall suddenly appears the shopkeeper.
He is an old man, in his 80s, wearing a long white garment and, on his head, a black hat with a rounded top, it is a hat worn by people from Transylvania
I ask for some cheese and he silently takes a wheel off the shelf.
He slices the wheel and my imagination starts running wild. I see Cyrillic letters in the holes of the slices, the shop man with his big hat is a priest preaching a sermon. He stretches out his hand and gives me a piece of cheese. I ask myself “is this the holy sacrament?” This is cheese from our village, he says. It is cheese made by good people, take a small piece of their pain and sweat.
I take the cheese and feel an urge to cross myself. He looks at me and says "we have no wine here".
I want to pay for the cheese but the shopkeeper turns me down. Take the cheese, it is a gift.
I thank him and go out. I hear the bells from the Patriarchy ringing loudly and I see people going down the hill. The Mass is finished. I close the door of the shop and mingle with the other people on their way home, carrying in my heart the labour of some good people from some distant village. It was a nice sermon after all. I remember it even now after so many years.

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