Imitating Farrah Fawcett and a close call with a pervy Christian guy
Cathy was a short, pudgy girl in class. We made each other laugh. Her mother was a hairdresser, or used to be—she didn’t seem to work. They had a car with saran wrap that covered one back window. I thought that was funny. After school sometimes we’d play Wonder Woman with our mood rings or Farrah if we had one of her mother’s blonde wigs. Her father was going blind from ingesting some sort of household chemical. It was strange. She had a younger brother, too. They all went to church. What was strange for me, being a Catholic, is that they went to church on Friday nights, and Saturdays, too—not just Sundays. She talked about church a lot and how fun it was and how I should go. And that she was “born again.” I wondered if she somehow went up inside her mother and came out again. One night after the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary” I asked God to born me again in case I should be. Then I felt guilty in case it wasn’t a Catholic thing to do.
One day Cathy asked me if I wanted to go to church with her on a Friday night and sleep over. Sure, it sounded like fun. We went to a place near where my aunt lived. I wondered why they drove so far to church. Sometimes we drove to church but we could walk to ours. Why did they go to church at night in the dark? Her parents laughed when I asked. When we got there, there was no priest and it was like a cabin. I got a bad feeling. After the man talked, they brought me into a room with one of their family friends, Mark, and some other people, to pray with me. Mark asked me if I “wanted to be born again.” I was scared and I said yes. They told me to pray with them. Cathy and her brother were with me and I remember her brother squinting his eyes shut tight, because I peeked.
After that, Cathy and I drifted apart. In seventh grade, Cathy became too cool. She wore her hair in Farrah style for real, sort of, but always over one eye. She ran away with boys and talked about sex loudly. She pretended she didn’t know me. One thing she did talk about was how she would sleep over her friend from church’s house and how after everyone was asleep, the friend’s older brother would come in and they would “do it.” And that his “thing” was really big. The older brother was Mark. The one who asked me to pray with him. – Donna Lethal, author of Milk of Amnesia
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