a truth at ten
I’m burning inside the confessional. I already know I’m lying. Always do. I hope God forgives me someday. Bread in the toaster has a better chance of not getting burned between heaven and hell. Can’t tell my truth to the wrinkled priest who is so old I hear his eyelids scratching against his pupils. He’ll never understand what I don’t. I’m hoping God gets me. God reminds me of Santa, except he’s much more fit and his eyes don’t twinkle. The priests’ eyes don’t shine either. There is nothing endearing about their silk garments or the weird mellifluous odors permeating my church. Why does it smell hot like hell. How can I tell the truth when I’m locked in a dark smelly box-like a demon trap. In blackness, where the best of me is at my worst. All the horrid things that tell me I’m going to hell. Don’t like myself in the daytime. Hate myself at night.
Jesus is stuck to the roof of my dry mouth. I don’t know what to do so I giggle. A nun slaps the back of my head. Can’t stick my finger in my mouth while wearing a Communion dress that makes me feel like a roll of toilet paper. I don’t feel very pretty in this white flouncy dress. I pictured feeling like a princess. I don’t look at all like what I imagined. I’m fat. I’m ugly. I look like squeezable Charmin. I wonder if Jesus uses toilet paper. Mary is so pretty and slender and doesn’t kiss anyone. No one slapped her on the back of the head. And now Jesus is stuck to the roof of my mouth. I’m parched. I fainted last week while my class stood outside in the blazing sun reciting the rosary. I remember my sweaty thick fingers trying to count the beads.
I won’t tell the priest anything. He has no right to know what’s in my head. I don’t care if I’m supposed to tell him the truth. Closing my eyes, I practice being in the dark on my knees pretending I’m going to divulge my darkest thoughts. The old smelly priest will tell me to say thirty Hail Marys so my sins will be forgiven. I know I won’t do this either. I wonder if devils can turn their horns into wings. I’m a slice of Wonder bread in the toaster burning on both sides. There is no holy peanut butter to hide my black thoughts. I prefer Santa Clause over God. I want to kiss boys even though they don’t like me. I look like toilet paper.
this writing is a combination of my childhood years – Communion is received in second grade – if memory serves I’d have been 7 at the time – the confessional reoccurred throughout my Catholic school years
A Crayon Crime
It seemed in 1973 everyone in school had 64 crayons – everyone – except me. On the day in question, desperation had clouded my judgement. It had corrupted my creative sensibility. I was ten at the time and in dire need of 64 colors. I had Crayola’s 24 pack which included colors for growing robust apple trees, fluid blue skies and abstract butterflies. It wasn’t enough. I needed more pigment. I coveted the built-in sharpener too.
One day while shopping with my mother and 2 other siblings, fate waxing at my feet, divine intervention struck. On this ominous morning, I glanced down at the beige store tiles. My disbelieving eyes engaged my sleeping brain. My little fingers snatched up the crumpled dollar on the floor. Much to my horror I discovered it was one-half of a paper dollar, and the other half was nowhere in sight. Nothing mattered. My heart was jolting in 64 magnificent colors. My brain was a prism of planning. “Art cannot be stopped,” my greying conscience defended. While Mom busied herself shopping and shepherding my two younger siblings around cans of tomatoes, I cleverly rolled the dollar into a cylinder.
There wasn’t much time. Grocery cart loading for a family of eight was nearly done. I told Mom I needed the bathroom. I flew to the school supply section, grabbed Crayola’s 64 box then sprinted to the register hoping to make an express purchase. I handed the masterfully rolled dollar to a young cashier. I didn’t know how much the crayons cost and I didn’t wait. I grabbed my fabulous box and bolted toward the exit doors.
In hindsight, I should’ve selected the silver-haired cashier. The swift employee ran after me as did my mother. My crime was foiled on the spot. I had to return the crayons. I had to write a letter of apology. And, I was grounded.