February 11th 1977. Recoleta. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The eight o’clock bells summoned all the good people to their weekly pilgrimage, from the comfort of their bourgeois dwellings to the appointed place of absolution. Deep in the heart of Old Recoleta, Nuestra Señora de la Sagrada Misericordia waited for its loyal sheep to trickle into her inner sanctum, arranging themselves, like well-behaved pupils, row by row on each side of the checkered hallway.
One by one, the resigned flock climbed up the four white marble steps; one by one, they traversed the matching marbled arch that separated the earthly streets from the incensed purity of God’s mansion; one by one, they crossed themselves and tried their best to make themselves at home on the stiffness of the polished wood benches; one by one, they confessed to a half stranger, recited half the prescribed Hail Marys and patted themselves on the back for their good efforts; one by one, they returned to the cozy homeostasis of their fermented lives with renewed entitlement and divine reassurance in the innocuous nature of their routine offenses.
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