Believers

Sometimes I wonder if my friends aren’t just “gotcha” spies.
It’s like, no matter what I do, they look for me to fail, just so they can come screaming out of the bushes the “I told you so” chant. I’m starting to feel like if they just don’t like me it would be much easier to just leave me the hell alone. For example, take Jess. We weren’t even friends at first until she became my roommate Freshman year. I would never hang out with some bible thumping, sandal wearing, Jesus lover, but the girl makes the best scrambled eggs in the world. We don’t live together any more but we still keep in touch all of the time, for no real reason other than we’ve shared a room and several bottles of shampoo. But she thinks that we are besties and I can understand why she would, its not like a lot of people are lining up to kick it with her for obvious reasons. It’s not like she is even hideous or anything like that, you know, seriously, it’s just she’s awkward and not in some cool damaged emo way. No one is always smiling, except Jess. No one says Glory Be when there is a sale on heirloom tomatoes. She’s just a fucking weird lonely crazy chick. It’s not been a problem really before but …so …lately she has been all in my business, trying to convince me to eat more flax seed, or to go to bed at the same time every night, or that if I couldn’t kill a cow with my bare hands, I shouldn’t eat one, and on and on. Whenever I do something she deems improper or is immoral according to the good book, I have to hear all of this finger wagging bullshit. I’m getting close to the edge of cutting her out of my life completely but she said she was willing to see the psychic with me this afternoon, just to try something different. She knows how hurt I was when the other gotcha spies told me about Daniel. Last fall I won 2 free readings at our dorm’s Halloween sleep over and I thought this would be as good a time to use them as any. No one else would go with me so I asked Jess. I really need to know if I can trust Daniel and I feel like everything that I think about him is a little tainted because I love him. I don’t want my future to rest in the hands of someone unfaithful. Of course, God’s child Jess, had her two holy cents to throw in the bucket but she did agree to escort me to hear the psychic’s words of wisdom mostly because she is confident they will echo her own.
Between her and Daniel, I swear, I am so tired of this place.

 

 

Steph and I hop on the midtown bus at 2:30. It’s crowded with people who smell like smoke and bologna. Everyone seems so sweaty. Everything looks like its covered in a thin layer of slime. I have a hard time sitting still on buses, I feel like if I move half an inch in any direction I will contract some fatal disease. I’m more disappointed that I keep wearing bleached clothes when I go anywhere with Steph. I should just wear black sweats and garbage bag jackets with lots of antiseptic wipes in my pockets and latex gloves. I take a deep breath while she puts her expensive headphones on and say a psalm to myself…

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

I felt so terrible all of the time about Steph and Daniel. He has a weasly face. When we were roommates, he was all that she ever talked about, in the morning, between classes, after dinner. I never could have told her that he was cheating on her with her sorority sister, because good people mind their own business. Luckily, her lab partner was brave enough after he hit on her too, the Human weasel.
The part that is so troubling for me is how she keeps forgiving him, keeps chasing after him, keeps hoping that her love will change him.
Someone just got on the bus who smells like dead cats and curry.
Steph is such a beautiful girl truly, so smart and popular that anyone would want her, I’m sure everyone does but the fact that she doesn’t love herself enough to let go is so dangerous. Maybe that’s why God sent me to be with her, to help protect her. She sits next to me staring out the windows, with all sorts of lies blasting through her eardrums right now, hoping this charlatan psychic is going to tell her what she wants to hear and it almost makes me want to cry. I keep reciting to myself: Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart…. Nice people like Steph, who have no foundation, nothing to hold onto, fall for anything. Hopefully today she will see that she should just trust in the lord and love herself first and the right man, will come along at the right time. I’m not her judge, so I just pray.
Something on this bus smells like a used tampon or a severed foot. And honestly, even if Steph doesn’t find the right man right now, I can at least be a good friend to her, there have been many times that she has been a good friend to me.
I keep reciting to myself with my eyes closed.
I keep my hands on my lap as to not infect myself with city bus germs until we arrive at our destination.

 

 

The Parlor room was covered in purple fabric that felt a lot like crushed velvet, even the pillows and ottomans were covered in it. It was so serene and calming and lush. I felt like a royal movie character, like the number one concubine in a rich king’s harem. Incense holders were set around the room but they weren’t burning. The Psychic told Jess to stay in the foyer until it was her turn. I could hear her reciting her Psalms aloud. She always did when she was in a new situation or didn’t know what to do or say. It so reminded me of the night Daniel and his roommate came over to ours and his buddy, tried to hit on Jess. I will never forget her standing up and going I rebuke you in the name of Jesus at the top of her lungs, just because he had laid his hand on her thigh.
“Are you ready?” The Psychic asked me and motioned for me to come in.

 

 

Steph came out of the little cramped psychic area closet hole beaming. She looked more happy than I had seen her in years, almost like a cartoon floating around with heart eyes. I knew this was a scam before we got here but maybe this chick was more of a mentalist type con artist, you know, the ones that tell you what they can already see in you. I was hoping a little that she had an evil spirit, this psychic, that would recognize me as holy and have nothing to say but shrink back in fear. Steph told me she would be outside and that she had to phone Daniel immediately and to come out when I was done. She nearly skipped out the door. Poor Thing. So easily swayed.
“Are you ready?” The Psychic asked, eyes covered in dark makeup, a scarf over her hair and rings on every finger. Her costume looked cheap and stereotypical.

I simply nodded.

“Good, you don’t have to come in any further. Know this-your friend will die 3 days from now 3 hours from this hour. Your prayers won’t stop this from happening young one, the only thing that will is if you go away and never speak to her again, starting now.”

“What?”

“You know what you have to do, go now.”

“But she is my best friend, I don’t understand, why didn’t you tell this to her instead of me? You are a sick woman do you know that? This place is sick!”
“ I am not a man that I should lie, young one. All you have to do is never see her again.”

“I don’t appreciate you misinterpreting scripture like that, what an awful way to reveal to me what kind of demon you really are! You should be ashamed!”

Perhaps I shouldn’t have pulled down her lavender sheets to reveal the old Tears for Fears posters from the 80’s nearly faded into the walls. Maybe she wouldn’t have threatened to call the police when I kicked over her trashcan and nothing but cigarette butts and marijuana joint ends tumbled out onto her purple carpet.

“What I says is true, stay away from her, do you understand? And away from me, NOW GET OUT!”

I counted it a blessing, no, an honor to be kicked out of a thief and liar’s den anyway. So many horrible people in the world. So many lost people. So many spiteful.

 

 

The last three days with Daniel have been incredible, I don’t know but maybe that psychic was right. I was honest with Daniel and I started cutting people out of my life who only bring me down. I knew I wasn’t going to see any of my sorority sisters after college so why wait to stop whoring around with them, you know? Plus, all those girls, pretending to like guys who had money, weren’t the kinds of chicks I wanted to spend my last few months at school being associated with. I’ve never felt better. Its so nice to not have people over your shoulder all of the time, constantly telling you what to do or telling on you or telling you what someone else said about you.
I feel like I have my life back. I had a long talk with Jess as well and it made no sense for us to keep pretending to be friends when the only real relationship we had was forced onto us by the admissions office and the department of housing at our university. We had nothing in common and more than any of the other girls, Jess actually irked me the worse. How could you be a know it all and be alone? How could you love god so much but god never helps buy you food, and you never thanked me when I did? How come her family never came to visit her except her little sister who didn’t find it hard to tell me that no one could stand her condescending ass? Spending more time with her because I felt sorry for her wasn’t going to get her to grow up so after we talked I told her we couldn’t be friends anymore. Now its just me and Daniel against the world.
I truly have never been so happy.
This is the first time, in a very long time that I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

 

 

Psalm 91 keeps me calm. I recite it all of the time for remembrance and protection. But today I felt sick to my stomach thinking about what that charlatan had told me about Steph. Know this, she said-your friend will die 3 days from now 3 hours from this hour.

I started my Psalm…

You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday. …

This time, I simply could not find any peace though. I knew that psychic was going to do something horrible to Steph today and I should have told the police. But no one believes in psychics and they would have thought that I was crazy. I should have told Steph to her face but she was so quick to dismiss me and tell me we weren’t even friends that I knew that had been a part of the psychic’s plan all along. If she could convince Steph to remove someone so in touch with God out of her life, it would be that much easier to harm her or worse, kill her. I should have spoken up but I just spent the time praying that Steph would see the light. It just dawned on me now that the psychic told me my prayers would fall on deaf ears, that God wouldn’t be able to help me help Steph fast enough and maybe partly this is my fault for not speaking up sooner.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked……Could I stand idly by and let my friend get hurt by some lying thief? Wasn’t it my moral responsibility as a child of the most high to at the very least, alert her to the dangers she could face today? I could barely stop the flow of tears. I was put here because I was strong enough to handle it, I was the reason that everything was going to be okay and all I had to do was defy the devil. I have angels all around me and there is no one that I should fear. I knew Steph’s schedule like the back of my hand because I had always kept an eye on her, just like she had done for me. In one hour she would be coming from the gym and catching the train to psychology study group. I knew that she didn’t want to see me but what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t tell her? I reached for my phone to text her. It was the right thing, I know it’s the right thing. But the text wouldn’t go through. I called her number. But the message said all circuits are busy. I’d been blocked from her phone, which was probably weasel face’s idea. Was I too late? Maybe it was a hoax, maybe the psychic just wanted to scare me because she could see the protection of the holy spirit all around me…
Maybe I shouldn’t worry at all, Steph doesn’t want to be friends with me and psychics are liars. But as I walked past my window a sliver of light shone right directly into my eye and I could hear the Psalm I recite in my head in that moment of blindness- “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. …

I had 20 minutes to get to Steph and with God on my side, I knew that I was supposed to help her see the light too.

 

It was all so sudden. I guess the end always is.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead in one second and I could see the psychic I had met a few days ago smiling at me from the corner of my left eye – She didn’t have on her scarves but I could tell that it was her and she recognized me too and I turned my body, ever so slightly, to wave a hello to her and the weirdest thing happened, a thing that only happens in bad B movies or in nightmares. The psychic started walking backwards into the crowd which was weird because they were all pushing past her to get to the platform. Walking backward slowly, waving at me, or at someone near me, like she was floating away from me. I blinked and then she was gone.
If only I had used that heart beat to think of anything else instead of trying to make sense of what I thought I saw. My arms felt like someone else was controlling them.
I turned the other way, what now seems like the longest turn on earth but was less than a moment to my right to see if the train was coming down the track and I saw a girl running up the platform in my direction. My heart started to pound because I don’t know why I felt it so strongly but I knew that I knew her, she was coming to tell me something and the worst thing in the world flashed through my mind. Something had happened to Daniel. My Daniel.
I started walking toward her direction and in the shadows of the subway station, I could see her pushing back the other people in her way, she was trying so hard to get to me and I felt like I was dying. When she finally got close, more people piled onto the platform, we could hear the train coming closer and people had places to go- the closer you were to the edge the better chance you had of getting on before the doors closed again and the girl had her arms stretched towards me, which was scaring me even more and as soon as she stepped into the lighted area I could see that it was Jess. She had been crying and her hair was messed up and she looked horrified. Did she see what happened to Daniel?

Wait, was it her fault?

I started backing away from her, I couldn’t tell what was happening. I was shivering-was she going to hurt me for not being her friend any more?!?

“ Stephanie, wait, the side kick is behind you! I can see her behind you!”

I didn’t know what else to do but reach into my purse for my mace. What side kick, what was she screaming about? I was nearly half running backward and I could hear the alarm on my watch buzzing Five thirty- the train was due. I tripped over my own feet, that’s the only way to explain it and fell backward into some one who rudely pushed me right into a screaming, lunatic Jess. Her eyes were on fire, like she had seen the devil himself. She held onto me so tightly, it was weird, she never even liked being touched to my knowledge and I could hear her now, she was raving- she kept saying that the psychic is going to kill you Steph, the psychic is going to kill you, the psychic is going to kill you….All I did, I swear was try to pull myself away from her, I turned for three years it seems but in half of the time it takes to breathe one breath and my left foot just didn’t connect with the concrete. We had been too close to the edge of the track and the next second I am tilted over the side of the walk, in the middle of the air, with the train flying right toward my eyes.
It was all so sudden.
Between her and Daniel, I swear, I am so tired of this place.

I guess the end always is.

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