This article is taken from Stand 219, 16(3) August - September 2018.

Peter Rawlings Online

I. Anonymity

They accepted that they would never meet, young nun and her follower. Their only contact came when she left the cloister to run errands and stole time online in the public library, where she was a user odd as a magpie in the rows of chairs. He, somewhere else near or far, was her sole outlet, she his mysterious other. Through their respective glassy apertures they wrote and read and looked onto a wide and novel world. They wrote about their longings, their inner lives, never before so clear, and locked their secrets together.
As soon as possible after each conversation she confessed her removal from convent discipline to cyberspace as a neglect of duty and a sin of omission.

He tried to explain to friends, even his barber, anyone who would listen, the marvel of the arrangement, its transgression and strangeness.

The authorities on both sides found out. He blamed the library staff, she his barber, but their evidence remained scanty.

To be forbidden stimulated them. They communicated even more. Gifts travelled into ingenious hiding places ‒ a robin's nest, a box hedge, the cup of a daffodil, the niche of a tomb. Appearances and disappearances came like the seasons.

To handle the weight of a silk scarf, a book of poems, a smooth white pebble, a filled fountain pen, samples of their handwriting, each tight inside their pockets, was their answer and their possession.

II. Disclosure

Psychoanalysts know that ...
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