Mona and Lisa reach the edge of the woods on their way back from the pond. Hours spent sitting, lying, kissing, caressing and talking. Now standing on the edge peering along the path, the heavens open. Rain pours. Heavy. Sound as well as sight of it.
- We'll get drenched.
Lisa nods, but smiles. Clutches Mona's hand. Squeezes. Softly.
- Wash away our sins, Sister Bridget'd say.
Mona feels her hand squeezed; looks down at it. Smiles. Warm feeling inside. Rain, rain, go away. And then they were drowned in their love.
- Are we to make a run for it?
Mona shrugs her shoulders. Looks up at the sky. Grey. Dull. Turning black over the hills.
- We could wait. Might be ages. Late for tea then.
Lisa lifts Mona's hand and kisses it. Lips on hand. Wetness. Another kind.
They both run out of the woods; hand in hand. The rain beats them. Thrashed by drops big as fists. Seems so.
They pause; look up at the grey sky. Stand with their heads raised; faces to the raindrops. Wet through and through as if knives were cutting down at them. They part hands.
Lisa raises her arms and hands to the heavens. Looks up and laughs.
- Wash me, Father for I have sinned!
Mona laughs. Puts hands upwards as if reaching to touch the hand of God.
- Here I am, touch me. Heal me!
The girls dance around, laughter reaches out from them; the heads nodding in mockery. Their clothes soaked. Their hairs bedraggled, they dance on in circles, round and round, and round until the sky turns into a grey blur and they fall down together on to the grass path. Rain soaked, they lay looking up at the sky.
- Heavenwards we look, but no God we find.
Mona shakes her head the drops fall onto her nose. Wipes with her damp hand.
- Fools. Fools for love.
- And glad of it. Glad. Glad!
They laugh; try to rise up from the soaked grass. They stand holding each other; then after looking at each other for a moment in stunned silence, they kiss. Lip on lip; flesh on flesh. Warm.
Lisa muses. Never felt such. Never felt such as this. If the Bridget saw this, she'd have kittens, the cat. The sensation. Sensation on sensation.
Mona sighs. Wants more. Kiss on kiss never to end. Enter this tongue as far as far. Rain soaks. Dress hangs; drowned rat. Knickers cling as if peed myself. Heaven can wait. This is it.
- Where'd we go now?
Lisa asks in a downpour heavier.
- Home or woods?
Mona says, looking both ways, one after the other.
- Home! Before we drown our poor souls.
They run towards the house in the distance. Hand in hand again. The laughter subdues. The sobering feeling as they get nearer the house. They part hands and run slower; feel the chill enter them. Damp through. Chill. Their dresses cling; show shapes; reveal figures. They pause as they approach the back door. Look at each the other. Smile weakly.
- Wait for the moans. The Mammy'll gripe, so she will.
- Don't they all? Born for it .Their tongues made to moan.
They stand at the back door of the house. Listen for sounds. Sense the tension. Drenched. Soaked through. Drowned rats, they look. Lisa sniggers.
Mona pulls a face. Here we go. What'll mammy say? Drowned. Look at you. Those clothes. The dress is ruined. Grass stains, mud. Sighs.
Lisa feels her nerves tighten; her tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth. Dumb. Wordless now. Remember the woods, memory. Forget not that. The kisses; the holds; the touches.
The girls remove their soaked shoes and carry them. Mona opens the back door. Creak of wood sounds. Voices from the kitchen. The girls enter and stand bedraggled.
- Mother of God, sweet Mary, what have you girls been up to?
Mrs Molloy stands with her arms folded.
- Got caught in the downpour.
Mona half smiles; looks around the kitchen. No one else there. Da in the other room. Thank God.
- Drenched you are. Those dresses. Never seen the like.
- We ran, but got the rain too much.
- I should think you have.
- Sudden it came upon us.
Lisa's words come soft. She smiles. Her hair plastered to her head; dark and drowned. Feels her dress chill her bones; her knickers cling to her like the fingers of the Collins boy until she slapped his face. Damn him to hell.
- Best get out of those clothes or you'll get pneumonia. You drenched kittens. Drowned rats you are. Find Lisa some dry clothes. Both. Go.
Mrs Molloy shakes her head; unfolds her arms shooing them up the stairs like sheep; lambs of God, not these.
The girls climb the stairs; pull faces at each other; snigger quietly; hands over mouths. Smiles. Upwards to the bathroom. To disrobe. Out of the wet things. Wonder what Da'd say? Mona muses. Words are words. In the beginning was the beginning and in the end the end. Laughter; soft. Smell of damp clothes; hair. Chill. Sneeze. Hold hands. Upwards and heavenwards. The sound of wood being trodden, the suppressed laughter and sniggers about them. The dampness clinging; the hands holding; flesh on flesh, skin on skin. Sin on sin. Amen.