by Pat Guy 12/29/2006 / Short Stories
I am here to warn you – to implore you. Do not … I repeat, do not visit or have anything to do with neighbors who display a Cross on the walls of their home and want to tell you ‘The Story.’ My family did and I lost them forever. It still pains me today.
Our neighbors seemed innocent enough as I think back to a time when I was a child growing up in the South. They were kind and nice people. But underneath their kindness I have come to believe they had an agenda – an agenda to recruit other ‘believers’ to join their own kind. They had fooled my parents and two brothers – but not me … I held onto my identity.
That’s when things changed. My home was no longer the comfortable place I knew and loved. And there was nothing I could do about it.
It wasn’t that my parents were abusive or weird, or anything. It’s just that … slowly … I began to feel like an outsider in my own home with my own family – and my resentment grew. It felt like they had left me behind. Maybe it was just I didn’t hop on the same boat as they did – I don’t know. But I knew that my neighbors, and that Cross on the wall had everything to do with it.
Not long after that fateful visit, my mother began to place her Bible out in the living room; and everyday it was always opened to a new place with underlines and pink highlights. She and my dad began to like Christian music. (Which really wasn’t too bad, but there was no way I was going to let them know that.) My brothers liked it too – I would shut my door and listen to my own music. Which by the way became way too restrictive on my parents part.
We eventually started to say a prayer before we ate together – even if we were at a restaurant. It was so embarrassing!
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t doubt their love or anything; and they took their time explaining (ad nauseam) why we had a Cross on our wall too – what it meant and all. But when you have to go to church, when your movies and friends are scrutinized, and your parents talk about things that aren’t natural … well, I mean … getting even with someone who does you wrong is natural – right? Not according to them.
So I’m warning you, if you like who you are and you’re happy with life, and want everything to stay just as it is, don’t show an interest in any displayed Cross where someone is close enough to hook you with ‘The Story.’ Something happens that I can’t explain.
And yes, there are times when I think about the pink highlights in my mother’s Bible, and the Christmas’ and the family prayers, and I wish … well … anyway… it’s lonely enough in this world, don’t make it worse for yourself. People don’t feel comfortable around someone who doesn’t think ‘normal’ and they’ll eventually stay away.