Turning Red (22)
Receiving a letter from my mom changed the entire tone of the house. I could sense that something had changed but didn’t quite know what it was. I didn’t talk about the letter with anyone and no one bothered to ask.
How was I doing? Could I read her hand writing? How did it make me feel? Did I want to talk about it?
Confused. Yes. Scared. Yes, but no one cared enough to ask.
I not only sensed a change in the house, but I sensed a change in myself too. I was angry and felt this urgency to fix something that was broken. My mother. I didn’t know how and it made me angrier. Over the course of a few months I received two more things in the mail from my mom. First came a post card. It didn’t say much but it silently said so much to me. She thought of me and that’s all I needed to know. Next came a package. In it was a small red bible and a note with passages she was wanting me to read. I sat on the edge of my bed and opened the bible. Two sticks of fruitstriped gum fell out on my lap.
I read over what she asked me too. I didn’t understand any of it, but that was fine by me. When I was done, I slid her note back inside and put that red bible on my bookshelf. My dad had been standing in my doorway. I noticed him as I started to turn back towards my bed. He shook his head in a disapproving way and walked down the hall.
Fifth grade was about the year that I truly started understanding what my dad did for a living. I always knew he was a doctor but not the kind that everyone thinks of. He was the kind of doctor that helped troubled kids, kids who had been traumatized. He helped kids that had been abused and neglected, kids that had committed crimes and kids who had lost their way. He spent his days, and sometimes his nights, helping these kids.
Where was my help?
As my confusion in his profession cleared, my thoughts and feelings about it became more cloudy. He spent hours talking to other kids about their problems, their abuse and all of their trauma.
I never talked to a soul.
But fifth grade was a year of change for me, a change that shifted my personality and the adolescent I became. It all started with this bible. I kept the bible my mom had sent me on my bookshelf and whether I picked it up every day or not, I always acknowledged it was there. It, along with my letter and postcard, were my most prized possessions. They were gifts from my mom.
I had a daily routine that I kept. It was simple. I got up with my alarm in the morning, got myself ready and walked to school. After school, I walked home. I got myself a snack, looked over my mom’s letters, did my homework and waited for someone to come home and cook dinner. If my dad and Karen were having a late night, I would make a microwave dinner and watch TV. This day was different though.
I got home and plopped my backpack down on my desk. I took off my shoes and glanced over at my bookshelf. The bible was gone. I couldn’t believe it. It was just gone. Panic swept over me as I looked around my room but nothing else was out of place and the bible was nowhere to be seen. I looked through every book on my bookshelf, just to ensure I hadn’t overlooked it. It wasn’t there. I looked in my desk and under my bed. Not there either.
I spent all evening searching for this bible that I knew I’d never find. I knew this because I had my routine. My routine always landed that bible right back on that bookshelf because I never took it far. Someone had taken it from me.
Karen arrived home right about the time I had finished my Swedish Meatballs microwave dinner. My room was still torn apart from searching for the bible but I didn’t care. “You’re dad’s working late tonight.” Story of my life. She dropped her purse and keys on the dining room table and said hi to her dog. She headed down the hallway to her room and as she passed mine, she paused. I got up and dumped my trash as she turned around.
“What in the hell happened in there?” she demanded.
I dont know… you tell me!
“I was searching for my bible. It’s missing”
“What bible?’ Karen asked playing dumb as a smirk crossed her face.
I could feel my face get red as it heated up. “The little red bible that my mom sent me. It’s missing.”
“Oh, is it? Huh… maybe you need to keep better track of your stuff.” Containing her smirk she turned to walk away but paused to add one more thing. “Oh, and clean up your crap.”
It was time I talk to my dad.