Ideas in People's Heads
(translated from the Hungarian by Thistle, edited by Margaret
“You put ideas in people’s heads!” shouted Peter. “Stupid ideas. You just
didn’t think…” Assumpta started to go out without a word, but something stopped
“Is there anything you want to tell to a friend?”
“…Priests don’t have those kinds of friends.”
“What?!?” she wanted to shout, but because they were in the church, she
held back her voice.
“I am your friend, and I don’t know what it is that hurt you!”
She looked at him. “Since Leo is here, you don’t go to the bar either...”
Assumpta’s voice became thinner at the end of the sentence. She nodded her
head, and started to leave. Peter felt that she understood now. Assumpta turned
“Maybe, I’ve failed...” Peter looked after her with a painful face.
“You did what you have to do...” Assumpta nodded again, and left. Peter
collapsed at the altar.
After a long moment, Leo appeared between the seats. His walk was a bit
groggy. Peter stressfully awaited him at the altar.
“Father.” His voice told Peter that he had had many stouts.
“Leo.”- Peter didn't know what to do. He waited. Leo sat down in the first
seat, bent his head into his hands. Peter just looked at him. Leo looked up.
“Do… do you love her, do you?”
Peter played the innocent.
“You love Assumpta, don’t ya…?” Peter didn't say anything. He wasn’t able
to say to this man that he loves his wife. Leo continued. “Ehh, I can’t live
here... Assumpta can’t live anywhere el-else," he stuttered. "-She was different
after the uni... She changed. I have to give up the past, because the present
is not mine.” He sighed. Peter didn't understand him.
“Why do you tell me that Leo?”
Leo looked up at him, and smiled. His hand moved up. “She loves you. Youuu...
Understand? I... I’ll go.” He stood up, but he lurched. “I go. It’s not the
place where I can live. She’s not the girl I loved.” He started to leave,
but he lurched again. Peter caught his arm, before his head banged on the
“What did you drink, Leo?” He helped him to his feet. Leo leaned on him,
and smelled strongly of the alcohol.
“I… I don’t have to be drunk to know that my wife is in love with you...”
He tried to pull his arm out of Peter's hands. “I'll go.” Peter let his arm
go, but he nearly collapsed.
“I'll walk you home.” Peter took him. In front of the Fitzgerald’s, Leo
was nearly unconscious. Peter took out the keys of his pocket, and let them
in. Assumpta ran down the stairs.
“Leo…? Peter! What’s happened?” Peter looked up, troubled.
“Leo is drunk a bit.” He laid him on the couch in the hall. “I won’t bring
him upstairs, if you don’t mind…” He straightened up. Assumpta nodded, and
stepped closer to Leo. Peter sighed and waved. “Let him. He will sleep until
Assumpta glanced to Peter with shame. “Thanks.”
Peter went toward the door.
“You're welcome. Good night Assumpta,” he said shortly, and stepped out.
Assumpta went back to the bar, Leo just moaned. When she noticed, he started
“I’ll go tomorrow... He’ll take care of you... He lovesss youuu.” He smiled
stupidly. “A priest is in love with my wife!!” He laughed madly. Assumpta
saw him, astounded.
“Leo shut up, you are drunk.” Leo slept immediately. Assumpta watched him
for a moment, then went up to her room.
Next morning, when Assumpta went down to the bar, Leo was awake already.
He stared at a cup of coffee. He had a terrible headache.
“Good morning.” Assumpta tried to smile, but Leo answered, knackered.
“Morning… I waited for you to wake up. I want to pack.” Assumpta’s face
didn't move. Leo nodded, and went up. Assumpta set up for the opening. After
a half an hour Leo packed his stuff in his car.
“Come, go for a short walk,” called Assumpta.
They walked toward the bridge in silence. Leo started definitely.
“I'll go back to Dublin. Let me manage the paper work.” Assumpta looked
at him sadly.
“Forgive me, Leo.” Leo just stood there with a bitter smile.
“I should have known... When I was here ages ago, I should have seen it
then.” Assumpta listened him in quiet. Leo stretched himself, and smiled
at Assumpta. They started to walk back.
“I'll go. Just one thing, Assumpta... Don’t be in pain anymore. If Fr Clifford
is the man who can make you happy, then talk with him... You can’t live in
silence for good. Peter an intelligent man. It doesn’t mean that I don’t hate
him. He is just a dirty Englishman, and I’d like to hook in to his face with
pleasure...” He laughed. “But as you said, I’m a sophisticated cosmopolitan…”
Assumpta relaxed a bit, and smiled.
“Take care Leo!” Leo nodded, and went back to his car. Assumpta watched
him from the doorstep of Fitzgerald’s. Leo said goodbye. When he gone, Assumpta
went back to the bar. She didn't see that he stopped at the curate’s house.
He didn't find Peter, so he went through to the church. Peter was going out
with some children.
“Have a moment Father?” Peter nodded. Leo caused him some uncomfortable
feelings. They walked in the churchyard. Near to the grave yard Leo started.
“I'm going. I said goodbye to Assumpta already.” Peter listened to him,
astounded. Leo smiled sadly. “I know here is nothing for me now. But I don’t
want to complicate things anymore. I’ll divorce Assumpta. If you have enough
honour you should talk with her, and leave this ridiculous position…” Peter
“Why do you do this, Leo?” Leo shrugged.
“If I lose, I’ll do it with lifted head.” He continued sullenly, “It’s your
luck that I have a bit hangover. If I didn't have that headache, I'd have
punched you already.” He sighed, and his sad smile came back to his face.
“'m going. Cheers to Niamh. And Assumpta...” He nodded his head. “Take care
of her...” he said quietly. Peter was petrified. Then lifted his right hand.
“I’ll take care of her.” Leo stared at his hand for a moment, and eventually
shook it. “Good luck,” said Peter. Leo nodded, and went back to the car.
Peter just stood there and watched as he drove off. Finally he pulled himself
together, went in and tried to figure out what he had heard. He sat on the
stair of the altar.
-What’s happening with me? Assumpta loves me… Loves me? But how…? How?!?
And Leo? I have to talk to Assumpta. And Fr Mac! – He stood up.
He went back to his house, and called the Father. He set a meeting for the
next day. After the call he thought out his day. Sunday school was in the
morning, and Mass at six o’clock… Tomorrow was Monday, and a meeting with
Fr Mac. Looking around in the kitchen, he found out that he’d go to Hendley’s
and stock up with some food. He might eat at Fitzgerald’s but he just had
to gather confidence to meet Assumpta.
After the evening Mass, Peter went straight to Fitzgerald’s automatically.
He nodded to Assumpta, and said hello to everyone. Niamh stepped closer. Peter
told her Leo’s message.
„Niamh. Leo asked me to say to you his greetings, and his message is that
you should take care of yourself.” Niamh was surprised.
“Father, you know that he left?” Peter exchanged a short look with Assumpta.
“Yeah, we talked…” he said and quickly went to Brendan with his lager.
Niamh glared at Assumpta. “My God!”
Assumpta didn't understand. “What’s up Niamh?”
Niamh look up at her suspiciously. “You really don’t understand? These two…
Assumpta lost the track. „And?”
Niamh looked around and lowered her voice. „Leo talked with Peter, and he's
gone… Clear now?”
Assumpta just smiled and shook her head. „Nope.”
Niamh yelled for Brendan to look after the bar and went to the kitchen with
“Look. Leo is a smart guy, he don’t give up things easily. He went to ask
Peter, and decided himself. Everybody knows that Peter loves you, but Leo
though that was just gossip. He went to Peter to find out, and then left.
Assumpta, do you understand now?” Assumpta sat stunned.
“I thought that Leo was just jealous. He is a reporter, he can see a story
where there isn’t one… But Peter never said…” She looked up with trembling
eyes. “He never said… I was so stupid… Niamh!” Tears fell down, Assumpta cried.
Niamh hugged her.
“You loved him all the time, didn't you?” Assumpta nodded.
“Oh Niamh, I don’t want to tell him… his vocation… Niamh, he’s still a priest!”
said Assumpta in tears. Niamh smiled to her calmly.
“Maybe you can solve this. Look. You have to calm down. You have to talk
to each other.” Assumpta nodded again. “I'll send him in.” Niamh left.
Peter sat next to Siobhan, but obviously was not attending to the conversation.
He held his beer tightly, and slowly and unwillingly warmed it up. Niamh stepped
closer with a smile.
“Peter. I think you should go in to Assumpta.” Brendan lifted his head.
“Everything all right?” Niamh smiled broadly.
“Yes. I think so.” But when Peter left, Niamh leaned to Brendan. “I think
they know now…”
Peter took a deep breath.
“Assumpta?” Some teardrops went down on Assumpta’s cheeks. “Because of Leo…?”
he asked tactfully. Assumpta shook her head, and slightly smiled to Peter.
“’Cause of you.”
Peter was astounded. “Because of me?!? Assumpta?” Assumpta dried her tears
with a tissue.
“Peter I have to tell something to you.” Peter didn’t let Assumpta begin.
He stepped closer, and started.
“’Sumpta. I have to tell something to you too. Leo asked me for something
before he left.” He reached for her hand.
“He asked me to take care of you.” He lifted her hand and kissed it. Assumpta’s
face was in tears again. Peter didn’t release her hand. He wiped her tears
and stroked her face. Assumpta looked up to him. They had been close to each
other sometimes, and they knew that was not allowed for them. But that didn't
matter now. They belonged to each other and the rules didn't matter now. Peter
pulled her closer tenderly. Assumpta held his neck and leaned her head on
his chest. Peter hugged her and slowly started to stroke her back.
Assumpta sighed. Her breath calmed, she felt safe in Peter’s arms. Peter
kissed her forehead, and quietly said, „’Sumpta. What you wanted to say… I’ll
stay to help with the closing and we'll discuss it. OK?” Assumpta pulled closer.
They leaned their foreheads together, and just felt and enjoyed their closeness.
Padraigh’s voice came in from the bar. “Assumpta!”
Assumpta stroked Peter’s neck and smiled. “I have to go.” Peter nodded,
and stepped back. Assumpta caught his hand for a moment. “An hour and I close.
“I’ll be here.”
Assumpta ran out to the bar and jumped into the work.
Niamh and Brendan looked at each other significantly. Peter slowly slipped
out of the kitchen. He went back to Brendan. Brendan asked him inaudibly,
“You all right?”
Peter answered, deep in thought. “Of course. I'm all right.” Brendan just
saw him in doubt. It made Peter feel uncomfortable. “Brendan, stop it!” he
hissed. Brendan grinned.
“If you tell…”
Peter nodded tiredly. ”Outside.”
In front of the pub, Peter flopped down on the bench. Brendan sat down with
a serious face.
“You love her.”
Peter leaned forward in pain, his hands on his neck. “How can everybody
know that?! Leo, Niamh, you! And Fr Mac! Everybody knows what I feel, just
I don’t. Why can’t anybody tell me? Oh, and I know, everybody knows what
should I do too!” he cried. Brendan hummed.
“You know now. And that's what matters. Once in his life, Leo was correct...
Hey, don’t think about the future now. This is the day when you can tell Assumpta
that you love her! Tomorrow is another day. Don’t ruin this evening with
worrying!” Peter just stared. Brendan patted his back, and continued.
“This day will be a nice memory for her, if you stay a priest.”
Peter looked up, and whispered hoarsely, “It depends on her.” Brendan smiled.
“Than you have nothing to afraid of...” Peter looked up questioningly, but
Brendan went back to the bar. Peter sat there for another moment.
He stood up and stretched. The collar cut into his neck as he yawned. He
pulled it out and pocketed it. No need for that today. He went back and went
to Brendan’s table. On his way he looked toward Assumpta. He caught her glimpses.
“You get rid of your tag, did you?” he said with a sneer.
“What?” asked back Peter. Brendan pointed to his neck. Peter smiled, and
looked back toward Assumpta; their eyes met again.
Brendan looked up when Assumpta rang the bell for closing time. As the bar
emptied, Brendan went to the door too. He winked to Assumpta and nodded to
Assumpta locked the door. Peter smiled and started to collect the glasses.
Assumpta went behind the bar and poured two glasses of wine. Peter piled the
ashtrays up too.
“Yours. For the help,” Assumpta said. Peter lifted it up, and gave a silent
toast to her. Assumpta smiled, but stood up. “I have to turn off the lights,
or Ambrose comes over...” she started, but someone knocked at the door.
“Garda. Public house duty. Closing hours control.” Peter grinned, but Assumpta
“Assumpta, you have to let me in!” they heard Ambrose’s voice. Assumpta
opened the door.
“Ambrose, I closed ages ago!”
“Good evening Assumpta. Father.” He nodded. “Assumpta, you know that you're
not allowed to serve up...”
“I'm not...!” interrupted Assumpta.
“And Fr Clifford? What is he doing here, if he isn’t a customer?”
“It is just a friendly visit...!”
“Assumpta you couldn’t stand priests! Should I believe that you, just for
“Ambrose, it’s absolutely not your business with whom I spend my evenings.
Understand?” Assumpta was really angry. Peter slowly stood up and grabbed
Ambrose politely and led him to the door.
“Ambrose, it is better if you go now, okay?” He opened the door before the
stunned policeman. “Good night!” he said, and locked the door. He turned back
to Assumpta with a smile.
“Well done!” smiled back the girl. “You should stay here many a time.” Peter
“I wouldn’t object... The camp-bed is not exactly my style…” Assumpta started
to feel sorry for him.
“Of course. But why did you stay there, when I’m here with empty rooms?”
Peter smiled coyly.
“There were one too many people over here than I could bear...” Assumpta
turn the lights off, and searched Peter’s gaze in the dim light.
“You hate him so much?” Peter swallowed.
“Nope... I love you so much.” Assumpta heard him motionless. “I was just
jealous of my best friend in the town…” He stepped closer.
Assumpta answered softly. “It was hard to be your friend.” Peter stepped
up to her, and pulled her on her feet.
“What do you think about if a Catholic priest kisses a married woman?” he
whispered in her ear.
“It depends on many things.” Assumpta blinked.
“Like?” asked Peter and their faces nuzzled against each other.
“Like: Why does he want to kiss her?”
Peter couldn’t bear it any more. He kissed hot Assumpta’s neck several times
whilst he answered, “Maybe, he is madly in love with her... and...” His hands
slipped down to her waist. “...and he wants her...” he said, barely inaudibly.
Assumpta cuddled to him in a daze, and kissed him with passion.
They hugged each other liberally, and Assumpta was surprised by the heat
of the always calm Peter’s emotions, as he demonstrated his love with huge
passion. When she lifted her head for a breath they looked in each other's
eyes. Peter’s gaze was bright and straightforward. Assumpta smiled and stroked
“The famous English coldness...” she started, but Peter bombarded her with
“It never existed…” he said in a faded voice and embraced her. His kisses
went down and down along her neck. He gently drew a bit away from her neck
as he went toward her shoulder with his kisses. Assumpta pulled back his head,
and desired another kiss.
She whispered wheezily, “Peter we have to slow down...” She nuzzled his
neck and gave one more kiss. After that, Peter inhaled slowly.
“That isn't the way to slow me down.” He stroked her face. “But you are
right. I'm getting carried away...”
“It doesn’t only lie with you...” grinned Assumpta. “But I don’t want that
you regret anything...” Peter looked at her with exuberant love.
“’Sumpta, there is just one thing that I regret. That I didn't realize sooner,
that what I feel for you is more than friendship...” Assumpta grabbed his
hand, and started to pull. Peter followed her obediently, but at the bottom
of the stairs he stopped and pulled her back.
“’Sumpta, is there any chance that you just want to show me my room?” Assumpta
gave him a brief kiss.
“I can show you where you can sleep… But now, I want to show to you where
you can spend the night…” she whispered, and caressed Peter’s chest. She opened
his top button quasi at a venture.
She looked in his eyes to see his judgement and she wasn’t disappointed
in it. Peter's eyes and heart were in flames. He broke their kiss, bent down,
and picked up Assumpta in his arms. He carried her up to her room, and knelt
down to put her down on her bed.
Assumpta held out her hand for him, and pulled him up to the bed. Peter
blushed, but sat down on the side of the bed as he looked at Assumpta seriously.
Assumpta leaned closer, and kissed him as gently as their first time. Peter
kissed her, and stroked her with flame and tenderly pushed her down. As he
leaned above her he looked in her eyes and said, “I love you.”
“I love you too, Peter.” They smiled at each other and their souls were
nearer than any other time. Peter kissed Assumpta’s neck and she started
to unbutton his shirt. Peter straightened up, and took off his shirt. He
swallowed hard when Assumpta’s fingers brushed his chest. Assumpta sat up
and nuzzled and kissed his bare chest, his neck and gave him a chance to
notice the zip on her back. Peter hugged her tightly, and for a moment, he
leaned back his head and looked up. Assumpta knew deep in her soul that he
was praying a short thanks, and she was pleased and smiled that he hadn't
She snuggled up to his neck, and felt Peter’s hand unzip her top. The next
few minutes were spent in a nearly devotional silence while Peter undressed
Peter wanted to be cautious, but the feeling that he really was holding
Assumpta in his arms was more than he dreamed. Assumpta was happy to touch,
to kiss, to love Peter as she had wanted him in this bed so many times. She
enjoyed that Peter finally surrendered himself to his desire.
The heat of their love burned them and they fell in to the passion of their
love which had been denied for so many years.
Assumpta fell on her cushion exhaustedly. Peter leaned down at her side.
His fingers and his hot breath stroked her breasts.
“You are so beautiful,” he declared. Assumpta smiled, and pulled the cover
above them. She settled in Peter’s arms and closed her eyes.
“Stay here Peter. Please!”
Peter tightened his arms around her and whispered in her ear, “How can I
take care of you any other way?”
Next morning Niamh went to the pub before opening hour. She thought that
after the events of the previous night, Assumpta wouldn't be in a mood to
clean up the bar alone.
“Hi!” Niamh went in, then stopped in surprise. Fr Clifford was leaning on
the bar deep in thoughts, his face in his hands.
“Father?” Peter looked like he had just woken up. Two mugs of untouched
coffee with milk were before him on the bar.
“Niamh! Hi.” He adjusted a smile on his face. Niamh looked at him suspiciously.
Peter’s shirt was obviously the one from the day before; it was crumpled and
it wasn’t tucked in. His collar was opened.
“Assumpta?” she asked him.
“Upstairs.” Peter pointed up with an indecisive motion.
Niamh didn't know what to say. Officially she thought of a “You arrived
early this morning, Father!” but her instincts told her something else. She
went to the kitchen and made herself busy. Peter bent his face back to his
hands and his thoughts.
A sound of a closing door came down from the floor above. Assumpta’s quick
steps stopped when she glimpsed Niamh.
“Niamh!” she said in surprise. Niamh grinned.
“Why are you surprised? It’s not my presence which is unusual here at this
Assumpta smiled politely and went to Peter. Peter stood up and gave her
one of the coffees. She looked up and smiled cosily and gratefully. Peter
smiled back shyly. Niamh looked at them, touched.
“Thank God…!” she said, and continued louder, “Assumpta! Send this boy home
for some proper clothes, before the village wakes up!” Peter stared at her,
stunned, but Assumpta beamed.
“Niamh, would you start to make the sandwiches?” Niamh understood, and closed
the kitchen door soundly after herself.
“You knew that she knows it?” Assumpta stepped closer. Peter nodded his
“Yesterday evening she sent me in the kitchen to talk with you. She grinned
like the Cheshire cat then.” Peter raised his hand to stroke Assumpta’s hair.
One second he hesitated, but then touched her.
He stroked it and his hands slipped down to her neck. He pulled her closer
to himself and kissed her warmly. Peter was preoccupied by the kiss, but suddenly
Assumpta straightened up.
“Niamh!?!” she shouted past Peter’s back to the kitchen door. The door closed
Peter bent down his head, but Assumpta lifted it smilingly. “Don’t worry…”
She kissed him again. “I love you.” Peter snuggled up to her.
“I have to go,” he whispered. “I love you too, ‘Sumpta.” Peter tried to
finish their kiss, but his lips found Assumpta’s again and again.
When he closed the door behind him, Niamh’s head popped up in the kitchen
door. “Assumpta!” She smiled cheekily. “It’s so good, so romantic. Tell
me all about it!”
Assumpta looked at her with a bittersweet smile. “There is nothing I can
tell you Niamh. I have to discuss it first with Peter.” Niamh's face nearly
clouded over, but the cheeky smile came back to her face again.
“You two have no time for a discussion all night?”
Assumpta acted the indignant. “Niamh!!” But then she smiled too. “We really
did not discuss too many things at night…”
Niamh smiled meltingly.
“Are you happy?”
Assumpta nodded her head, and said, “Yes… But Niamh! Not a word to anyone!