Friday, October 29, 2010

Afraid of the Dark


I'm so glad it's sunny today.  I like light.  I mean, I really like light.  Sometimes I go through the house and flip every switch and turn on every lamp. Then I run around and light bunches of candles.  Little campfires to ward off the absence of illumination.

See, I'm afraid of the dark.  Have been as long as I can remember.  I'm scared because--  Well, God, you of all people know why, right?  That omniscient property you have?  Oh, and eternality, that too, you know what they mean, don't you?  You were there.

That fact used to burn me up.  If you were there, in my baby's breath pink room, with lime green shag carpet, and French provincial furniture, why the heck didn't you show up?  Be big.  Call down fire or locusts.  Do some signs, miracles, or wonders.  On my behalf.

As I got to know you though, I backed off the shoulda, coulda, wouldas.  It is what it is.  No amount of tears, wailing, or teeth gnashin' is gonna change the past.  And besides, you had your own bullies--tons.  I only had one. 


In therapy, I tried so hard  not to compare my pain, my experience, with other folks.'  Trust me.  That's a bad place to go.  "What happened to you?"  Counseling clients shouldn't be able to ask that.  It's like houses, cars, wedding rings.  You know how big yours is, what it's worth.  So then you try to figure out if theirs is larger, worse, sicker than yours.

I remember this one time.  I was in a group with a whole bunch of other damaged people.  I didn't say anything, but man, they did.  Jacked their jaws 'til I wanted to smack the big, long conference table and scream--SHUT UP!!

This one lady, she saw a car wreck.  Ooooh!  Scary!!!  She wasn't in the totalled car or anything.  Just watched the accident from the berm.  Said she had PTSD as a result.  Liar.  She just wanted attention.  Was willing to pay $95.00 an hour to get it.  She shoulda taken her money up to WalMart and bought herself a life.

This one gal sat across from me.  Probably 20, maybe 22.  For the longest time she didn't say anything.  Not a peep.  Boy howdy, she was  big.  I saw her lips move.  I cocked my head.

"Excuse me?"

Her voice was wee.  "If I get huge, maybe they won't want me no more."

I leaned toward her.  "Who, sweetie?"

Her gnawed nails traced the woodgrain of the table.

"The bad men.  They tie me up.  Stuff a rag in my mouth.  Drive me to that cabin way out in the woods.  Ever since I was four."

I'm glad she didn't look me in the eye.  No one wants to see pity and horror in someone else's gaze.  My fingers clawed into fists. 

"Who are they?  Where are they?  I'll kill 'em for you. Cut off their--"

Her eyes weren't pretty.  Not even when they got big and shiny with tears.  That just made 'em look muddy.  She folded her head, like she wanted to bury it between her prodigious breasts.  She leaned forward, then back again.  Did that.  Over and over.  Hummed something.  I think it was Ring Around the Rosy.  Wasn't that song about the Black Death?


Jesus, I'm sure glad you're light.  You know how the preacher man always says, "Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life?"  I always thought he said, "The way, the truth, and the light."  I wanted you to be light.  Needed you to be.  And now you are.  To  me.

One time I was at a ladies' luncheon, and a speaker gal told her story.  Dang!  She had a tough rough to hoe.  At the end of her talk though, she said,  in her sweet, quiet, tiny like a wren voice, "As I look back over my life, bad as it was, I wouldn't change a thing."  I almost stood up and said, "Lady, someone needs to knock you up side the head.  You are a fool."

But now? I think I kinda get what she was saying.  It's like the end of the Joseph and the Rainbow Coat story in the Bible.  Joseph told his brothers, the ones who sold him into slavery 'cause he was a goody-two-shoes, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

I hope I can do that someday.  Save many lives.  From gloom, despair, and agony on them.  I just have to find the afraid-of-the-dark people.  Hand 'em a candle and say, "Guess what, friend?  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light."

2 comments:

wvdiane said...

Hey Darling Readers:
I love you one and all. Wanted to let you know about a special event coming up next week.
My dear poet friend, Ted Webb, and I will be hosting a reading on Friday, November 5, 2010. It will be at 7:00 p.m. at ZenClay Cafe in Morgantown, West Virginia.
I must say, as much as I LOVE the written word, I love the SPOKEN word almost as much. Not sure if I'm boasting or not, but I am very, very good at reading my work out loud. I'll make you cry. I'll make you laugh. I'll make you FEEL.
If you can, please join us! I'd love to see you, or meet you for the firs time.

B. WHITTINGTON said...

Well written, but so sad, and hopefully somewhat healing.

Blessings.

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