Only Perpetua understood what happened to the hog. The deafening rumble of the Harley disturbed the quiet contemplation of the nuns in the Benedictine convent house. Sister Perpetua alone embraced the hog. She knew it seemed wrong to ignore part of her monastic vocation—to revere silence. Instead, she cherished the motorbike’s chanting cadence, the thrill that burned through her body. To Perpetua, the Harley’s voice came from God. What else could explain her burning desire to seek it out, feel the wave of mercy it bestowed. She felt blessed by the Savior, so never confessed her peculiar interpretation of God’s transcendent calling.
When the summer heat shimmered, she boldly took another risk. Alone in her room, she removed the oppressive nun’ s habit and waited quietly by her window—chastely clad in demure, virginal underclothes—alert to every sound in the neighborhood that surrounded the convent.
Late one night she fell asleep in her chair until the distant sound of the Harley woke her. She strained to see through the darkness, hear its approach. That night the hog throbbed softly, and as it neared the convent it began to slow, coming to a stop not far from her window.
She could see the helmeted rider was looking directly at her. She silently left her room, glided out the front door, and slipped across the front lawn, ready to be embraced by the Savior. In the dim streetlight, she saw her face reflected in the rider’s black visor.
Perpetua ached to see the rider’s face, but knew she couldn’t ask. Would God answer her prayers? When the rider’s face was revealed at last, Perpetua shivered in ecstasy. The rider handed her the helmet and motioned to her to take a seat.
PERPETUA is a project by Susan Koefod. New sections are released every other Friday. If you’d like to receive email alerts—and that’s all you’ll get, a short email—saying the new one’s up, sign up here: