I am knowledgeable about many things in life but I do not know anything about conducting the process of a funeral. For this special occasion, I turned to my precious Melania for help. She was the only person I knew and trusted with the arrangements. Before coming to Hardwick Manor, she served as an ordained priest, professionally trained in theology at the Vatican. She knew just as much about the denominations as the Pope himself, but their boys only club never let her formally practice in public. It was forbidden for women to enter ministry in the Catholic faith, but this never stopped her passion.
In Melania’s case, precisely the years of clerical celibacy fed her curiosity for kink. The human body can only take so much sexual constraint. I imagine that she discovered how to fulfill her wanton needs working as a secret escort, when she had full control over her body for the first time. Her elusive yet elaborate style brought her many clients, and eventually, through the gates of Hardwick Manor.
I allowed her to do the ceremony for Abby’s funeral. It was an impressive and moving sight to see Melania live out the only unfulfilled fantasy she had left, which ironically had nothing to do with sex. It was an expression of freedom to her in the world run by systematic patriarchy and its restrictions upon us all. Seeing her passion in both flesh and spirit reminded me again just how special she was. I also saw how much her faith meant to her and how it conflicted with her work at Hardwick.
Zora stayed by my side at every moment. Despite her own beliefs, she prayed right along with us out of respect for me. I was grateful to them both for their care and condolence. When we returned, Melania came to me with some news.
“Madam, I wish to say something. I hope you won’t be upset.”
“Yes, my dear,” I replied with a tone of sadness, as I knew what was coming.
“Madam, I wish to go back to Rome and practice again,” she confessed, “but I need your help in the transition. And I can’t go without your blessing.”
I took Melania’s hands in mine and looked into her eyes with the deepest respect. “Melania, you will always have my blessing. I know how much your faith means to you. Although your memories here will always be vivid, the world will never know about them. I will make sure you have a clean transition. I won’t lie. I will be sad to see you go, but if I were to lose you to anyone, I would rather it be God.”
“Thank you Madam,” she voiced with a slight laugh. “You will always have my love and gratitude.”
After all was said and done, I was happy for her and wished her well. I took my leave and went into my office at the main house. I needed all day, but I managed to find the most remote places that held retreats and put in Melania’s file that she’d been there the entire time she was actually here. Not a trace of her presence at Hardwick would ever be known to the outside world. Although she would always be welcome to, I had a feeling Melania wasn’t coming back.