Sanity Fleeting 2

Sanity Fleeting 2

A Chapter by MeratheRestless
"

A disturbed young woman struggles to conceal her troubled past from those who seek her friendship

"
The sun beat down, yet a chill hung in the air one Saturday morning in late August as Carina and I emerged from her small Kia Spectra. There were five of us total in the car group including a congregation elder's 7 year old daughter. Freckle faced, blue eyed Lillian clambered out of her booster seat, her hands full of tracts and off we went. She had a child's zeal for the ministry and fearlessly went to the door acquiring several return visits for herself. Her goal today was to invite somebody to our Kingdom Hall for a meeting. Our job was to guard her from crazies.
Cherries fallen from over burdened branches littered the sidewalks and North Dakota's picturesque prairie blue skies stretched on forever overhead. 
Carina noticed right away as we made our way down this quiet residential street that something was not right with me. A kind and beautiful single sister in her early 30s with long wavy light brown hair, Carina had more or less taken me under her wing, not at all put off by my standoffish demeanor and melancholy personality. "Everything alright there, Sage?" She asked placing a delicate, ghostly pale, arthritic hand on my shoulder. Everyone in the congregation called me by my nickname, because I hadn't told anyone except for the record keeping elder, what my legal name was. 
Wordlessly I nodded my head, though my mind struggled to remain grounded in the present.
"Did you want to take that house then?" She pointed towards what appeared to be a sprawling ranch style home.
On the concrete driveway was parked a 15 passenger van, but even without its' presence, I knew she was mistaken.
"Trust me, there's nothing we can offer them in there!" I snarled bitterly.
Both Carina and Lillian stopped dead in their tracks to stare at me in disbelief. I glared back at them, gun metal gray eyes cold as ice, as I remained on the offensive. Carina's smoky blue eyes met mine and flickered sharply down at Lillian then back to me several times. After several tense moments, her silent admonishment dawned on me. 

My attitude was all wrong and I was not setting a good example. Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves to be as one whole loving human family regardless of race, nationality, or any other dividing factors. To Lillian, thick wavy black hair and cafe au lait skin and all, I was the same as a flesh and blood big sister. As much as I disliked young children, I'd effectively signed up to love and help take care of the children of other congregation members, physically and spiritually, when I'd gotten baptized a few months earlier.

I shrugged. "I tried here before and it didn't go too good, but who knows? Maybe we'll get lucky today."
Reluctantly I started up the concrete walkway with them on my heels. At the brown steel door I didn't bother knocking, but rather just mashed the blue and silver handicap button beside it. With a groan the door opened inward.
Only after we had all stepped inside the claustrophobic entryway and the door shut tightly behind us, did I mash the second button. Like I said before, I knew what Carina didn't and this wasn't an ordinary house. The second door opened inward revealing two teenage boys huddled off to one side.
At that point, my breath catching in my throat, I could go no further.
Bubbly Carina quickly stepped around me and greeted the boys opening her tablet as she explained our "community work". She was inadvertently preaching to the choir. There was no sense in offering hope in a place like this.
"Look a little girl like me!" Lillian's high pitched voice brought me out of my fog.
Sure enough, a girl around her age clad in a hot pink ballerina skirt and bare feet with her curly red hair in a high ponytail, walked down the hallway in front of us with her arms full of stuffed animals. She glanced our way briefly before continuing onward as if we didn't exist. Unlike the teenagers, she apparently knew the rules and wasn't willing to risk it even in the abscence of adults.
Lillian took interest in a sparkly My Little Pony backpack stuffed in a cubbyhole on our way out. She didn't notice the scuffed light up runners in the bottom of the cubbyhole and her innocence remained intact not grasping why that little girl was worlds apart from her. Carina however I was certain was starting to think I might be on to something.
"Gosh, that place kind of bummed me out!" She sighed. "And the way that lady came rushing out hollering at the kids."
I said nothing and walked down the sidewalk with my teeth gritted so tensely that my jaws ached.
***********************************************************************************************

"Hey, you!" A warm voice greeted me as I followed Carina in from the garage.
Just inside the door her stepfather, also an elder in our congregation, stood with his own car keys in hand, ready to go back to work from lunch. He was was in his mid 50s with a sweep of blond hair and genuine artic blue eyes betraying his Scandanavian heritage. Whenever Carina invited me over to her parents' townhouse, where she also lived since her chronic illness hindered her independence, Brother and Sister Stadt were always glad to see me. I could see it in his face. The atmosphere inside these walls was unlike any other I had ever experienced in my 19 years of life. It was  a true home, in which I was currently spending every Monday afternoon in for a standing movie date.

"Hello, Brother Stadt." I replied timidly and quickly stepped aside to allow him to pass by.
"Bye, Dad!" Carina shut the door behind him, but didn't lock it.
Leaving my shoes by the door, I headed to the living room to sit and wait for further instructions. Anyone who knew me for a bit of time would undoubtedly note my passivity and reluctance to show any autonomy. Carina knew and didn't like it.
"There are no maids in here, Sage!" She laughed appearing in the doorway. "Your lunch isn't just going to walk in there to you. You have to come in the kitchen and get it."
Though I wasn't hungry, I put a modest amount of deli rotissere chicken, buttered white rice, and sauteed sweet potato on the glass plate Carina gave me. It would have been too complicated to try to explain to her how, despite not eating supper the previous evening or breakfast that morning, I had no appetite whatsoever. At 5'9" and 140 pounds I certainly looked like I needed to eat regularly and that's what I allowed Carina to believe. 
"Water, juice, coffee, hot tea, pop....." 
Her hospitality was boundless.
I took my plate on a tray back to the living room and settled on the reclining sofa. We were watching a documentary series on the formation of the universe. While we waited for Netflix to do its' thing, I sensed something was troubling Carina, besides of course her illness. 
"So, Sage...." She started slowly. "About that house on Saturday."
Mouth full of rice and sweet potato I did not reply. 
"It was really weird and you seemed to know." She continued turning to look at me expectantly.
"Know what?" I shrugged after swallowing. "Know that it wasn't a house, it's a prison without bars?"
Her mouth hung open and honestly I expected nothing less. 
"But there were kids in there!" She sputtered.
"Of course." I drank some Sprite from the bottle to clear my clogging throat. "Those doors aren't meant to keep anybody out...they're meant to keep the children you saw in. That woman that chased us away was the supervisor."
The documentary started with loud sound effects that Carina hurriedly turned down.
"Do I even want to know how you know that, Sage?" She kept her focus on me not letting me get away with another indifferent shrug instead of a real answer.
"I know because 5 years ago, you would've found me there on a Saturday morning." I tried to sound casual. 
As a very private and guarded person I let little be known about me. Some in the congregation, particularly those who had brought the knowledge of The Truth to me during my childhood, knew my life was complicated to say the least. Those, the same few who also drove me from my older half-sister's apartment to the Kingdom Hall and back again on Tuesday nights during my younger years, had only half of the story. Now Carina alone, had the other half and I could tell that to her, it all suddenly made perfect sense.
"Oh...I'm so sorry." Her hand covered mine. "They looked so normal. They didn't...you didn't do anything to be shut up in some godforsaken institution. Why is the state punishing kids for having messed up parents?"
Story of my life, but I wasn't looking for pity.
From the pocket of my yellow knee length shorts I pulled two pills with my free hand and popped them in my mouth to be washed down with another swig of Sprite before Carina saw what they were. This of course did not stymie her curiousity or dull her worried expression, so I managed a small smile and said, "Don't worry, they're legal! Just a little something I need every now and again." Her concern made me more than a little uncomfortable. 
It was just anti-seizure medication and yet I could not even bring myself to share that small bit with Carina. I was afraid she would want to know more and the story which went along with the diagnosis was something I was not ready to confront. Words would undoubtedly elude me as I struggled to explain the angry fist that crashed into my soft 8 year old skull and cursed me for life. 

"I'm fine. I'll be alright. " I repeated like a soothing mantra. "It's nothing. I'm not worth the worry."

Mercifully Carina restarted the momentarily forgotten documentary and asked no more questions. 



© 2017 MeratheRestless


Author's Note

MeratheRestless
Feel free to commeby. Please tell me if the religious element is working or now and if so how effective it is.

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Featured Review

Well, I am not at all religious, but I sympathize with wanting to bring people to a place where they can find happiness and salvation. But i think I am in the minority when it comes to people knocking on my door unasked. I know a bit about Jehovah's Witnesses and I admire the clean life they promote, clean inside and out, not hypocrites but truly loving all humans. I think you show that in this story, the good intentions and the acceptance of all.

However, there are probably a lot of people with an aversion to Jehovah's Witnesses. It is hard to sort out who is secretly condemning you while handing you a tract about sin, weirdos from some cult trying to get members and a person honestly trying to help others.

I have an open mind, and the religious part works well for me, and helps me understand better. It might immediately turn off other people, though. But one writer cannot appeal to all readers. I think you're doing a good job with the religious element, a lot of showing and very little telling.

The mechanics of this piece are pretty good. There is a lot more showing here than in your previous pieces. You slip in Sage's back story details very subtly. I did find two sticky spots. The third paragraph, I don't understand why a woman in her 30's would have arthritic hands.In the same paragraph, I think it is missing a word:

"Everyone in the congregation called me by my, because I hadn't told anyone except for the record keeping elder, what my legal name was."

All in all, a good piece. I'm sorry it took me so long to read this. I haven't been on WC much lately. If you want me to read more, send me a private message, as I will receive an email telling me I have a message, but getting a read request does not trigger an email. I check my email every day, WC less often.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

MeratheRestless

2 Years Ago

Thanks for the honest feedback and your open mind. I know a lot of people are automatically biased a.. read more
SweetNutmeg

2 Years Ago

Ooops, I didn't see your question until now. When I first read these two chapters, i felt slightly c.. read more



Reviews

Well, I am not at all religious, but I sympathize with wanting to bring people to a place where they can find happiness and salvation. But i think I am in the minority when it comes to people knocking on my door unasked. I know a bit about Jehovah's Witnesses and I admire the clean life they promote, clean inside and out, not hypocrites but truly loving all humans. I think you show that in this story, the good intentions and the acceptance of all.

However, there are probably a lot of people with an aversion to Jehovah's Witnesses. It is hard to sort out who is secretly condemning you while handing you a tract about sin, weirdos from some cult trying to get members and a person honestly trying to help others.

I have an open mind, and the religious part works well for me, and helps me understand better. It might immediately turn off other people, though. But one writer cannot appeal to all readers. I think you're doing a good job with the religious element, a lot of showing and very little telling.

The mechanics of this piece are pretty good. There is a lot more showing here than in your previous pieces. You slip in Sage's back story details very subtly. I did find two sticky spots. The third paragraph, I don't understand why a woman in her 30's would have arthritic hands.In the same paragraph, I think it is missing a word:

"Everyone in the congregation called me by my, because I hadn't told anyone except for the record keeping elder, what my legal name was."

All in all, a good piece. I'm sorry it took me so long to read this. I haven't been on WC much lately. If you want me to read more, send me a private message, as I will receive an email telling me I have a message, but getting a read request does not trigger an email. I check my email every day, WC less often.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

MeratheRestless

2 Years Ago

Thanks for the honest feedback and your open mind. I know a lot of people are automatically biased a.. read more
SweetNutmeg

2 Years Ago

Ooops, I didn't see your question until now. When I first read these two chapters, i felt slightly c.. read more

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Added on September 11, 2017
Last Updated on October 5, 2017


Author

MeratheRestless
MeratheRestless

ND



About
Really there's not much to tell. I study in university, work a part time job, go to Kingdom Hall twice a week, out preaching at least twice per month, and spend the rest of my time at home. Don't like.. more..

Writing