When I made my First Communion, a famously bitter Catholic aunt of mine took me into a side-chapel of our church. She wrapped me up in her arms, right in the middle of all her perfumery, straightened my red sash, and told me I was ‘blessed, blessed, blessed’. Then out of her bag she handed me a wooden crucifix with a luminous lime-green Christ glued onto it. ‘It’s from The Grotto,’ she whispered. ‘Keep it beside you.’
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