Continued from Beyond the Blinds
Christmas was coming. A time for presents, , memories with family, and silver bells. At least, that’s the urban legend.
The church was having a Christmas pageant, and the teacher chose me to say some special lines. She handed me the paper, reminding me to memorize the lines before opening night.
I showed the paper to my aunt, and she asked my cousin, Sara to help me learn the lines. Sara took the paper. Every day for two weeks or so I asked Sara for the paper. She kept saying she didn’t know where it was.
In rehearsal, the director asked if I knew my lines. I said I was working on it. In desperation, I begged Sara for the lines. “Tomorrow.” The answer never changed.
Finally, on the day of the pageant, Sara gave me the paper. Sara told me since I didn’t know the lines, the director has asked someone else to say them. That was not going to happen! These were my lines!
I frantically reread the short sentences, repeating them to myself all the way to church. I ran directly to the director, quickly quoting the short piece. I had the role back!
That night is one of my favorite moments. I was a Hershey Kiss, dressed in tinsel foil, with a silver hat. A long white ribbon attached to the cap completed the picture-perfect look.
There’s no pictures from that moment, no congratulation cards, or home videos. But it is still cherished.
Just a few simple sentences from a little girl dressed as a Hershey Kiss. But can the biggest name on Broadway compare to a Hershey Kiss?
There were three Christmases in San Antonio. Today they blend together, like one mush of red, green and loneliness.
One year my aunt decided to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Each night we set a small basket around the tree: in the morning a small present appeared. My aunt warned us to leave the baskets where she could see them. I very carefully placed mine in the same spot each day.
About halfway through the 12 days, my basket wasn’t there. I asked my aunt, she simply shrugged. I searched, and found it under some boxes at the back of the tree. The morning’s present wasn’t in it.
Of course, I told my aunt it wasn’t where I left it. She didn’t believe me. No one needed to tell me who had moved it. Victor’s smug look was confirmation enough.
Another year, I was in trouble. Ostracized might be the right word. Christmas day, I was not allowed to eat with the family. My uncle prepared me a plate, and I ate after everyone left the table.
My cousins brought in a board game, playing on the floor across from the table. I had never played a board game before, it looked so fun. I kept staring, until someone yelled at me. They didn’t like me watching.
The best part about any vacation was the end. I could return to school, to the quiet love of the classroom. Do your work, don’t act out, get good grades. The rules at school were regular, simple, and unbreakable.
My 1st grade teacher was all kindness. She nurtured me, I knew what a sweet mother was from her example. She read to us, and said we could reach the stars.
Second grade was a curve ball. The beginning of learning teachers were fallible. Mrs. Gentile put me in the back row. Maybe it was because I didn’t act out; she liked the troublemakers up front.
But when she taught cursive using the projector, I couldn’t see the fine words. I squinted, studying the faded charts. But the lines mixed and dissolved. Mrs. Gentile never moved me forward, and I didn’t learn cursive. Could she see my struggle?
Did our school shut down during the 9/11 terrorist attacks? I don’t know, but I do remember coming home. I was so excited, I had to tell my aunt something.
She was in her bedroom, I ran back, babbling loudly. The tv was on, the sounds confusing. My aunt was angry, probably scared, but I just felt her anger. Why was I happy? …the words came in confusing shouts.
No one explained the tragedy, my aunt just repeated how bad I was. In the confusion, one thought settled. Something terrible was my fault, that’s why she was so angry.
I had not given up hope that Jesus would save me. My aunt and uncle repeatedly reminded me of how bad I was.
But if I was good enough, they would believe that I was going to heaven.They wouldn’t tell me constantly that Jesus hadn’t saved me.
But to prove that I was good, I needed Victor to leave me alone.
So every Sunday, I went forward. And after a year of praying, I thought God had finally answered my prayers. My cousin was riding his bike, and got hit by a car. His legs were broken; he wouldn’t walk for several months.
Surely, God had listened to me! Victor must realize God was mad at him. He would start being nice so God would like him. While everyone worried and fretted and felt incredibly sorry for him, I was so happy. I could hardly wait to see how he had changed while being in the hospital.
But being nice lasted only a few short days. Prayers were ground into the dirt as it seemed life taunted me. Fairy tale answers weren’t working.
Two years passed. While I began to think God didn’t want to listen to me, my Aunt was planning for a wedding.
The story continues here – Pages of Imagination
Just a quick word of thanks to every one who has read and and encouraged the writing of this story! Definitely kept me writing, even when it’s hard.