The Day before St. Peter

My hard-soled shoes made ker splats as I ran down the school hallway.  Splat splats behind me were getting closer as I passed my father at the door of his classroom.  Sharon, behind me, had a bat and swore she’d kill me.  She was faster than me, but let me beat her through the doors.  She glared at me but didn’t pursue..

In the girls room, I washed my face and dried it.  My dad –  the principal – followed me in.  “You can’t let them see you cry.  If they see you cry, they win.”  He wasn’t going to do anything about it.  Again.  There had been the secret admirer practical jokes, the years of eating alone, the secrets they stole and revealed, the names they called me, and a hundred other things.  In over two years of this, he never once stood up for me.

When I got home, my mother wanted to know what I had done to get Sharon so mad at me.  “God has a purpose for this, and you will see it in time.  You’ll be stronger because of this,” she said.  I begged for the hundredth time to change schools.  “How would that look to the church if your dad’s child didn’t go to his own school?” she replied.

The voices inside me repeated my parents’ words.  What was I becoming stronger for, if not even worse things in the future?  I understood that I deserved this and much worse from god, believe me I knew it.  But the fact that my father observed my humiliation daily and didn’t stand up for me was crushing. I’ll always be a little skeptical of parental love.  People say how they would die for their children.  Maybe. But that’s easier than doing the everyday things.


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