a novel by Theresa Glenn
“I’ve got secrets.” She whispered.
She cracked a devilish grin and then looked past me. I knew what she was looking for.
“I always feel like I’m being watched.”
She had said in her session the day before.
“What do you mean, watched?” I had asked.
“People are watching me.” She said nonchalant as she shrugged. On that particular day, she’d attempted to portray herself as a person who had it all together.. nothing like today. Every day there was a new her.
“Are the people real?”
She looked annoyed, but she tried to be patient.
“No.. it’s hard to explain.”
She was one of those people who used her hands to illustrate her words when she talked.
“It’s like, if I’m in the bathroom, I feel like there’s someone looking through the vent at me.”
“Does that scare you?”
She shook her head “no”.
“Its almost like a camera. They’re watching to see what I do when no one else is looking. It’s like I’m constantly on set filming a movie.” She laughed. “The story of my life.”
“Can you tell your secrets?” I asked.
Suddenly, I hoped that she could. I hoped that it was part of her movie script.
“I’ve never told.” She looked down at her arm as she rubbed it.
“You have hives.” I noted.
I saw tears dropping into her lap, but she wiped them quickly with her head still down.
“My hair’s falling out too.”
She looked up at me, and then around the room. My heart raced with anticipation as I knew, she was looking around the room for listeners.
“I don’t want to make my mother cry.” She said sincerly.
I nodded slowly.
“It’s not her fault that I am who I am.” She smiled the wicked smile again. “You know my social security number has 666 in the middle?”
She was toying with me. She knew I wanted to know her secrets.
“So what do you think that means, Theresa?”
She didn’t answer right away.
I looked at her skin. It was a pretty copper color, but because of an allergic reaction to medication, it was broken out. Her blue paper suit was swallowing her medium sized frame.
“Maybe I’m the anti christ.”
I wanted to laugh, but I knew she wasn’t playing because she whispered it.
“Yesterday you said that your relationship with God is a lot like the one with your father.” I said. “Do you believe God loves you?”
“I used to.” Her eyes watered, but she didn’t cry. “No disrespect to God, but I can’t believe him.”
“He lies.” Her eyebrows narrowed as if she was daring me to challenge her statement. “He made promises to me that he didn’t follow through on.”
“He gave me a dream, and he didn’t make it come true.”
“Well sometimes dreams take time.” I said. “Look at Joseph.”
“He said he’d never forsake me.”
“And you believe he has?”
Her face became extremely angry as she looked me in my eyes. “Look at where I am.”
“Holy Spirit hospital.” I reminded.
After a long pause she said, “The first time I was touched by a man, I was four.”
I wondered if I should speak.. I waited.
“He was our neighbor. One of my big brother’s friends.” “Well.. he wasn’t a man…” She smiled. “He was older than my brother.. Old enough to know better. If my brother knew, he’d kill him… today.”
She got quiet, so I spoke.
“How did that make you feel?” I asked. “Being touched.”
“Loved.” She smiled.
“How so?” I asked.
“I guess the touching didn’t make me feel loved.” She corrected herself. “It didn’t feel bad though.” She smiled. “It was the way he looked at me. The attention that he gave when I came around. It was like I was the only person that mattered.”
“You believed that he loved you?”
“I thought they all did.”