Adopting Elizabeth cont…
I could not believe what was happening. No! I was crushed. I felt small and lost. I was irate, too, but there was no one to call out to; no one to come to my aid. This punishment did not fit the crime, but it mattered not. There would be no second chance, no reprieve granted based on the extraordinary circumstances. As my classmates filed out leaving me behind, I could hear some of them snickering. The nun didn’t seem to notice.
An old building, the school’s floors creaked and groaned under the shuffle and weight of kids, teachers, and the visitors convening in the central foyer. The classroom where I sat was only steps from the spot where my mother would be standing now. Behind her, along one wall in that foyer, a full sized statue stood on an ornately carved pedestal. The Blessed Virgin, robed in blue with the infant Jesus perched on her right arm, watched over everyone. From her vantage point, she never missed a thing. My mind’s eye was creating the scene unfolding out there. Oh how I wanted to sneak to the door and look out. I did not. I was too afraid to move.
When I heard the introductions begin, my heart sank and a lump formed in my throat. My poor mother! She was surely smiling and nodding, scanning the crowd for any sign of me. She could have no idea that in seconds she would be mortified in front of all these people. My thoughts drifted to home and how much trouble I’d be in. My parents did not hit, but I could not help but wonder if this exploit would change that. It would be my father’s job to dish out the sentence.
As the applause ended, the sound of the principal’s voice snapped me back into the present. She was asking where I was. I heard Mother Petronella’s raspy voice reply forcefully, with no hint of apology, that I had been a bad girl, broken the rules, and was being punished accordingly. My mother’s disappointment and profound embarrassment oozed through the rough-hewn plaster walls and I started to cry.
When young, time ticks slowly and so although that day seems ages ago, it was in fact, less than two years. As I walked past the statue of Mary this morning, I realized she would have known all about who I was back then, too. Looking up at her glossy eyes, I wondered if she understood and felt pity for me. Did she think I had been wronged that day? I always felt I had. Would she perform a miracle for me today by erasing the past and making my nightmarish present reality change? Please, I begged. Please!
Remembering the events from before made this things worse which, seemed impossible because really, how could things get any worse? But knowing that all these teachers surely knew about me, everybody including Mother Petronella, was almost too much to bear. She probably acted as she did toward me and Mom because of it. Being adopted is a bad thing to be. She must have held my mother in derision for taking me in. Maybe my presence sullied her somehow and punishing us absolved her for having to teach me; be near something so wicked. She retained an air of smugness toward us after that. It was then I realized if I critiqued others’ treatment of me from this new perspective, a lot of people acted the way the old nun did.
As I sat down at my desk, I prayed that Mary would take me to heaven.
To be continued…
My wish tonight is for sun. Night is beautiful, a time of regeneration, rest, and calm. Seeds germinate in the darkness. Sleep comes. Peace. But we can also hide away bits of ourselves in the dark. Yes, it is okay to seek in the depths of solitude and quiet, but there comes a time when the light is needed. Invite it in. Do not be afraid. It illuminates a path for us out of the darkness. Here comes the sun, little darlin’!