It is late, and dark. A man and woman lie in bed. He silently leans towards her, and she quickly turns over and away from him.
He lies there, staring at her, frustrated and hurt. She is as still as a stone, not looking at him. He doesn’t move, but continues looking at her.
But then, something terrifying to both of them happens. A strange shadow moves in the corner.
Alarmed, they watch in horror as it quickly solidifies into the figure of a middle aged man, who then walks towards them. It turns out it is a priest, urban, but untouched by the circumstances of his appearance.
Unaware or unconcerned about their fear, he speaks as though in a coffee shop, or perhaps Doctor’s office.
“I see,” he says, “that you are refusing your husband his conjugal rights. Have you thought about using the excuse of no contraception as a method of rejection to him?”
For a moment the couple are silent. The insane conjunction of an unwanted priest, and the words out of his mouth render them speechless. The woman recovers first (and why wouldn’t she, she’s used to this rubbish) and takes a breath.
“Listen here, sunshine. Firstly, you have no right to be in this bedroom; you weren’t invited.”
Father Trendy isn’t put out by her attitude. He merely nods and sits on the end of the bed. He opens his mouth to speak, but she’s not done.
“Secondly, I am not refusing my husband his rights. I am maintaining my own, and for reasons that don’t need to be explained to anyone else. You are aware I have bodily autonomy?”
At this, priest-boy falters. Mired in the works of St Paul and the 1 Timothy 2.12-13, he sees women as the handmaids of men, nothing more. He’s still trying to come up with a correct response when she continues.
“Also, why would not using contraception allow me the right of refusal? My own will, thought, inclination and desires matter so little that I need to come up with an excuse? That’s the best you can come up with? Not only am I just a tool, himself is just a child to be placated?”
Priest-boy leans back slightly, gathers himself, then leans in. “You seem to be of the opinion that your marriage is a loving relationship, and that you can just opt in to procreation. Your every act of intercourse should be open in principle to the gift of life. How can you refuse someone sex if you aren’t going to get pregnant from it?”
She’s speechless again, and he’s happy about that. Women disagreeing with him were disagreeing with God, he knew, and they really did have to cop on as to how wrong they were. But damn and blast it, she was going to speak again.
“You seem to be of the opinion that the only way God can be found to exist is in the procreative principle; that by pregnancy is He to be found. What about compassion, respect, seeing God in not just the creation of life but the betterment of it as a life is lived? Or does God not fully love us at all?”
He’s done, confused; either he rejects the principle that God loves us each moment, or he recognises that there is no concrete reason for the theological principals surrounding procreation. She sees the confusion and seizes it.
“Enough! Out you go.” And with the slam of a door, he’s gone.