“I hate this song” She said after a while of not saying anything.
“So,” he said, “What’s up? Are you okay?”
She glared at him. She knew about shit like that, she said.
“Crazy little kid, talking that sort of nonsense? I’ve heard people talk like that.”
“What do you mean?”
She was quiet for a second. She was digging something up. Something buried deep.
“Look, you can’t tell anybody.”
“Course not,” he said. Shit, he couldn’t believe he dropped the “of.” Now he was starting to sound like he was from here.
“You know my folks are like, divorced, right?”
“It wasn’t like a regular divorce. My dad’s in this cult.”
“Like Waco-type crazy?”
“No, not quite that bad. But he wanted my mom to stop working, get off the pill, have a bunch more kids, do everything this crazy preacher said.
“My dad was in a really bad accident a couple of years ago. This little kid was in the other car. His mom was killed, and the little kid lost a leg and his face was all scarred up. It was really bad. Dad got really depressed after that. Not getting out of bed, not working, nothing. Then, these folks came to the house and dad let them in. He was so sad, so lonely, and these people just knocked on the door and wanted to let him talk, and he did. He talked and talked and talked to them, and then they invited him to church, and told him that maybe things happened for a reason, and maybe there was a plan for him. So he went. Then he went crazy.”
“Were they like Jehovah’s Witnesses or something?”
“No, it was called something like ‘Church of the Living Bible,’ or something. Mom went along with it for a while, until it started getting crazy, like I said. The crazy preacher there starting talking about women being obedient to their husbands. Mom worked around it the best she could. I mean–it was hard. Daddy wouldn’t get out of bed, and he had something to be excited about. But when he started talking about giving all of our money to the church so the leadership could give us an allowance, that’s when things went to shit. That’s why I’m here.”
“That’s messed up.”
“Yeah,” she sneered. “That’s why I hate Cincinnati now. I’m never going back. Even if their malls are THE BEST.”
He tried not too laugh. She hit him on the shoulder, scolding and maybe flirting.
“I don’t just think about the mall, smart kid,” her eyes squinted, her nose crinkled, she smiled a bit. “I’m just saying–It was nice to live in a city. But it’s ruined now.
“I’m smart, too, you know”
“Yeah,” he said. “You are.”
He had just heard the two most messed up things he had ever heard in his life within about a half hour. Some weird kid had looked into his heart and was about to tell him his future (or something!) and the girl he was in love with escaped from a cult. But he was driving around town with the pretty escape artist.
Damn, Sam, he thought. You got it made.
It’s been a while since I thought about this thread. It was fun to return to, and bring in a couple of details from stories I’ve heard.