The night of St. Peter

I cried.  I was sent to bed.  I cried some more, silently.  I yearned to be confirmed in the GLC when I would have the ultimate salve of holy communion.  That would improve life dramatically.  Until then, I prayed.  I asked god to make me sick overnight so I wouldn’t have to go to school.  I asked to be liked, or likable.  I made plans to run away to New York  and sell myself on the street in Times Square.  I had the money for the train.  I couldn’t think of anything else to do to escape.

Some nights, my self began to rise until I was looking down from the ceiling.  All the pain stopped.  In fact, everything stopped.  Time, worries, the constant voices in my head, all were quiet.  I rested there for a while.

As I floated back down, St. Peter might be sitting at the foot of my bed, big as life.  Scraggly hair, with maroon toga thing, he fiddled with fishnets with big, gnarled hands.  I would tell him my problems as he mended his nets. He came for the two years of bullying, and then he stopped.

So I was a child with hallucinations.  I knew something was seriously wrong and read everything I could find, over and over, looking for clues:  Lisa Bright and Dark, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, The Bell Jar, Sybil, and even Freud from my parents’ bookshelf.  I wanted a name for what I had, and I really wanted to know what the future held.  In retrospect, it’s hard to say if this was the dawning of mental wildness, or a depersonalization response to the trauma of being bullied.  Did the bullying cause some permanent brain malfunction, like child abuse can?  It created deep gouges in the spiral of my memories. The deep voices of worthlessness are among the oldest in my head, the voices of my family as well as the girls who bullied me.  They’re the bass tones in the symphony.


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