Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nicaragua 5

She had been standing for an hour and a half, and her legs were getting tired. She was dressed in her best clothes, and they itched. She sung quietly, just to herself among the mass of voices. They raised and fell in swells of poignant emotion. They sung with all the vigor in their bodies, about regret, pain, and death. She did not. They had turned inhuman with the music, baring their souls with reckless abandon. Their arms shook with might, their eyes where shut tight, as they tired to see God. It was a blinding and muting sight. Every week, she was awestruck with the transformation of these people. They farmed all week long, uttering as few words as necessary, as stoic as the trees themselves. When they got here, to such a cross-bearing edifice as this, they mutated. Now they were animals, with all their sin laid wide in a neat display for the entire world to watch. She did not act as they did. She did not sing the words to the songs. She pretended to, but in a voice so quiet only she could hear, she sung about her cat, about the homework she had to do. A couple times she tried to sing for the glory of the savior, her God, but could not. She knew she believed in God; she had to. Her mother always told her about God, and all that he did, but she did not understand. When she prayed for God to giver her a candy bar, her pockets remained empty. This confused her.

When they got home from church, her mother would say little to her, just herd her into the kitchen so that she could help her mother cook dinner. She watched with fascination as her mother’s muscles rose and fell with every grind of the tortillas. Her mother was beautiful, and always stood straight up with pride. She tried to stand straight just like her mother, but it hurt her back, and so she just ended up slouching. Her favorite time of the day was when her mother came into her room to tell her a story. They were almost always about God saving someone, but she rarely actually listened to the story. She liked to feel her mother’s warmth next to her, and watch her mouth as it moved with dynamism. Her lips were full, and they bounced and stretched to accommodate the words as they sailed forth from her mouth. She had a pretty voice, breathy and hushed. It came from her cheeks and tongue, not her throat. Her eyes would grow wide and wet with a conviction that the girl could taste. Her eyebrows were thick and dark, and they rose in time with her emphasis. The girl wanted to be just like her mother. Her mother did everything right, and everyone the girl met said that her mother was a wonderful woman. They said she was as kind as she was beautiful. But the girl could not understand God. She went to church every week, but this only served to confuse her further.

Sometimes when she was alone in a field, gathering coffee beans, she would try to talk to God, like they were good friends. She spoke in barely a whisper, asking him what his favorite food was, and if he liked his teacher. She was always scared that someone would hear her and tell her mother what she had been doing. The girl knew that you were supposed to be dressed as nice as you could before you tried and talked to God, and that you had to tell him all he things you had done wrong. She also knew you were only allowed to talk to him on Sundays, but she tried it all the same. He never spoke to her in return, but he was a good listener. He always nodded His head in understanding as she told Him about how her friend had called her a mean name. She knew all that she was doing was wrong, and would probably send her to hell, but this was the only way she knew to talk to Him. Maybe one day, she would be able to act the way her mother did in church, yelling as loud as she could about everything wrong she had done, but it was hard for her. One time, she had accidentally hit a dog with a rock that she threw, and she told God about it, but it didn’t seem to do anything.

The girl tried to help in the kitchen, too, but she didn’t like to cook. She liked math. She loved the way numbers just seemed to always be right, and they way they talked to her. Her favorite number was thirteen, because none of the other numbers liked it. It was always cast aside as the worst number, and none of the others would multiply together to be like it. She drew the number all over her homework pages, so that there would be more of them. She pretended to not like school though, because no one else did. She pretended to like cooking, and making tortillas. She thought that maybe, if she cooked enough, God would like her better.

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