The shadow behind the sin.
The road to the village church was dirt and lined with trees that had lost their leaves for the winter. A stooped-looking man in a gray suit and hat of the same color walked as if his feet were heavy. Arriving at the open door, he hurriedly entered, took off his hat and knelt before the dark, polished wooden confessional, where the priest patiently awaited the arrival of any sinner who wished to confess.
“Tell me son, what sin have you committed," he said in a deep voice, bringing his face close to the louvered window.
“I am afraid father, I need you to listen to me, I have to ask forgiveness for my sins."
“God is listening son, speak without fear."
The story that man told him began two days ago, when he worked in the village cheese factory, which belonged to one of the most prosperous families in the region. The cool, dry climate was very suitable for milk production and the cheese was of excellent quality. Juan, as he was called, had been born and raised on the land, his father and grandfather had worked on the farm of the Romero family, who also owned the factory. His life had been very quiet and simple until one day when an event changed everything.
That day Juan was mixing the curd in the gigantic pailas used to make cheese, when one of the workers named Pedro, who was always making fun of him because of his calm and quiet appearance, approached the paila and began to make unpleasant comments to him. Juan was already tired of this situation, but he could not find a way to make him shut up. In his mind he began to imagine a shadow pushing Pedro into the kettle. To his surprise and horror he saw Pedro fall into the bubbling hot whey. He ran to his aid and was able to pull him out quickly, the other workers ran to help him.
The days passed and Juan thought it was a coincidence and continued his quiet life, but another surprise awaited him. When he arrived home, his neighbor was upset and with great strides he approached him.
“Good morning Juan, your dog has gone into my garden and has broken the rose plants that my wife had planted, you have to tie him up, he is always looking for a way to get in."
“Hello neighbor. I'm going to talk to my wife and my son so they can keep an eye out," was all Juan could say, lowering his head... ashamed.
“I'm just telling you! If I see your dog in my house again, be aware of the consequences!"
Juan was very worried and imagined the worst... the neighbor trying to kill his dog with a stick. At that moment he heard a scream and when he turned around he saw that a dry log had fallen on his neighbor's back and there was a shadow over him, he quickly ran to help him. They had to take him to the hospital because he was seriously injured. Horrified Juan thought that this was no longer a coincidence.
His mind was taunting him, thoughts were spinning in his head, the dog running, pink tongue panting and covered by the leaves of the rose plants, the man with his annoyed face very close to his, his big teeth threatening, his look cloudy, stirring the white, frothy, bubbling milk with the shovel. Everything was darkening and she saw his shadow approaching and disappearing between her body.
He woke up sweating, bathed and dressed to go to work. The path was very long, as if he did not want to get there, he was thinking how to control his thoughts.
It was early and he decided to get to the paddocks first, he liked to see the cows with their fat pink udders almost bursting, grazing the green grass, full of dew drops. He walked over to the fence, put his arms on it, it was cold and pulled up the collar of his jacket. My father took care of these cows for many years and he liked his job.“What if I ask to be changed so I don't endanger people?", was a thought that came to her confused mind.
He went to talk to the factory manager and made his request. He looked at him very strangely as if what he was asking for was crazy.
“That can't be," he said, turning back to the accounting books. You don't know that job.
“But I can learn," Juan begged.
“I told you it's not possible. Don't insist and asked him to leave the office".
The manager suddenly twisted around, put his hand to his heart and slumped back in his chair. Juan ran out of the office calling for help, his shadow following close behind him, close on his heels.
After leaving work, Juan decided he should go to confession.
“These are my sins fathers, my mind has produced these accidents, I have hurt three people."
The priest remained pensive, the breathing of both men was the only noise to be heard.
“God's designs are sometimes incomprehensible, what I see is that if you had not been there to help, at the right time and place, it is possible that those men would have died."
“But what about... my shadow!"
“Your shadow is part of you, it will accompany you as long as you live. The shadow you saw on people was not yours. Your penance is to pray three Our Fathers and three Hail Mary's and you can go home that God has forgiven you for not having faith in him and in yourself."