pencil on paper
The kid in the first row, sitting up straight with hands folded, eyes on the teacher — that was me (long ago when students did such things). I know how to meet expectations. I can sense people’s expectations a mile away, and I have this morbid fear of disappointing anyone, of dropping the ball. This […]
I was an urban professional with a preference for black and steel walking into a family of colonial country plaid and floral.
I had thought I could always go home. But suddenly I realized I didn’t know how. My trail of crumbs had long been eaten. I had lost my way.
“Mom, I never want to leave you,” he said. He was four years old. “Aren’t you going to work?” “I’ll only work on Tuesdays so I can be with you all the time.” He’s driving away in a car full of Marines. Her Marine. Her son. She calls out after him, “Don’t forget your jacket. […]
We carry him in, our day old son. We hug him close, pushing back the receiving blanket to expose his little heel. It’s just a heel stick, the nurse says. She jabs it in. He lets out an infant cry, a squeal. I feel the jab in my heel, my heart. I’m not sure where. […]
Cain loved the smell of the earth. His father and mother said it was cursed. “Farming was a lot easier back in the day,” his father would say, with that faraway look in his eyes. He said God had given them the job of working the earth, and Cain enjoyed the challenge of coaxing life […]
By the time she discovered the spring, her head was hot and throbbing. Dirt streaked across her face where her tears had mingled with the wilderness dust. Hagar sat down to rest, splashing the cool water on her face. For the first time since she left, she realized she had no plan.
Where in her life had she made the Wrong Turn? What had she done to deserve a barren womb? And where was God in all of this? What was the good of a God who controlled all things, if at best, he forgot you, or at worst, botched everything up?
“Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love … . Abraham’s heart had dropped to the pit of his stomach. He could feel the sweat cold on his temples, as he thought, “Lord, could this please not be a hard request, another stretching, another move beyond my comfort zone?” He had wanted to cover his ears, but he could not cover God’s mouth, and God had continued as if he had not known Abraham’s desperate thoughts, as if it did not matter.
Hagar had always been carried along by the current of other people’s lives. In Egypt she had been sold as a slave to the highest bidder. Abraham bought her and Sarah took her as her personal servant. They had brought her to Canaan, and then quite unexpectedly, her own body, her womb, had been called into service.
I watch the monster who is me pressing the blade into my brother’s flesh until his blood runs hot over my own flesh. I see my brother’s face, the shadow passing over it when he realizes what I’m about to do. I rewind and see him running towards me from across the field. He is just within arm’s reach. I can choose to embrace him, but instead I pull my knife from its sheath.