Hiding my face in my hands pressing my head against the window of the bus as the sting of tears burn fast down my cheeks. There was no point in trying to hide them from the other kids anymore. Now I was just trying to disappear into the vapor. I want to become part of the bus, the seat or to, seep out of the window like the fumes of exhaust str seeping in…a cloud of black filth and nasty that combined with the the motion and the overwhelming noise of the hour long ride between school and home that made me sick every day. That black cloud of filth and stink seems to be a reminder of who I am in the world and today I want more than anything to become part of it and float away.
Instead my head bangs against the metal frame of the window as my ears ring with the echo of the words that followed the spit that was now dripping down the back of my dirty brown hair to my neck. It was dripping down and I couldn’t bring myself to reach back and stop it. I couldn’t touch that nasty spit that was soaking into my skin the way the words had already soaked into my soul
“RETARD! CRIPPLED! FOUR EYES! YOU’RE SO UGLY I BET YOUR MAMA DON’T EVEN LOVE YOU! ” “YOU CAN’T EVEN GET ON THE BUS WITHOUT CRAWLING LIKE A DOG!” THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE! YOU’RE A DOG! A RETARDED, FOUR EYED DAWG!” “AWWWE LOOK! THE DOG IS CRYIN’ AGAIN YA’LL!
Then I heard it, that disgusting sound of someone choking up snot and spit and wadding it up in their mouth like a ball. Amid the laughter and taunting I knew what was coming next, I hoped I was wrong but I knew. Then I felt it. That ball of snot and spit landing in my hair and sliding down my neck into the back of my shirt and all I want to do was to disappear, to become the black vapor and disappear. The bus squeals to a stop and now it’s time to gather the guts to get up and walk off the bus. I have a choice. I’m a slow walker because it hurts so I can either try and hurry to be the first off to get away as fast as possible and risk more ridicule and pushing and yelling because my slow, stiff limping will piss them off more or I can sit and wait peeking over the edge of my arm to see when the last person is up and walking off and get in behind them. It means waiting a few more excruciating minutes but I decide to do it hoping it will end the torment with the spit that is now mixing in with the sweat dripping down my back under my shirt and making it stick to me.
I thought I was the last one off the bus and almost safe. I was wrong. One more boy got in line behind me. I don’t know his name. He’s older than me by a couple years at least. He lives on my street. I can see his house from my front porch. He is the one who spit on me…HE SPIT ON ME!… As I’m edging my way up the isle trying to move fast and narrow the gap between me and the person in front of me without tripping or losing my balance I feel him behind me. I hear him hissing insults at me. Then as I get to the last step I feel his hands on my shoulders. He pushed me hard and I fell off the last step. My hands slap hard on the hot pavement and I can feel the skin peeling away from my palms as he “accidently” kicks me in the behind. I have to push up with my hands and get my feet back underneath me by sticking my butt in the air making a great target I guess. I manage to get up and grab my bag of books and start trying to get home but he’s still behind me. He’s still pushing. Pushing with his words, pushing with his hands, pushing with his presence. As if his hatred of me could somehow make me move faster. I try to run to get away from him but it only brings more laughter and more taunting.
“AAAAAAWE LOOK AT HER TRYIN’ TO RUN! RUN DAAWG RUN! SHE CAN’T EVEN RUN! I BET SHE FALLS AGAIN! WHAT A RETARD.”
I crawled up the front steps of my house as fast as I could and ran in slamming the door behind me. I ran to the room I shared with my older sister and flung myself on my bed sobbing. The waves of tears came so quickly I could barely breathe. The asthmatic wheezing kicked in along with the sobs and the sweat and my shoulders rocked and heaved with each attempt at a breath. As I lay there with my face pressed into my pillow and my school bag on my feet I cried, I sobbed, I wailed until I had no tears left, until I had no breath left save the halting heaves like a baby after a temper tantrum. Between each halted heave I felt a question that had been pushing it’s way to the front of my mind for what seemed like all 10 of my years. I felt it pushing it’s way out of me as though it needed to be heard and so in weak desperation I asked God in a whispered scream: “WHY? WHY would you make someone like me? Why would you make someone so ugly, so disgusting, so broken that EVERYONE would hate them? Why would you make me so that everyone could hate me? My sister hates me, my father hates me, my teachers hate me, I have no friends, WHY did you bother to make me if no one will ever love me?”
As soon as it was out of my mouth hanging in the air, I heard the answer. It came back in a whispered yell just like my question: “I made you because I LOVE YOU! I made you EXACTLY the way I want you and I made you BEAUTIFUL IN MY EYES!” I turned over and laying on my side I curled up and swore I could feel arms wrapped around me. I whispered again: “How can that be true? How can anyone love me?” I heard back in a softer whisper “*I* love you, and one day I’ll show you why. One day I’ll tell you what all your tears were for. One day you’ll understand why I made you different and that being different is what makes you perfect and beautiful in My Eyes.” I lay there for a few moments knowing I was loved and finally feeling that someday this would all matter. Not bothering to question but accepting in my child heart that it was my Father, my Abba I had heard. I recognized His voice right away. I was not old enough yet to forget the sound of Him or to wonder the difference between His quiet still voice and my own. So, I sat up brushed away tears, and went to sit on the porch in the sunshine and fresh air to breathe and to wait.
I met God that day in my room, on my bed, in my hell, I met Him. He came to me and held me and dried my tears with the His breath of wind and warm Hand of sunshine. I knew in my heart that someday I would know the reason. One day I would use it all to do something, to be something, to change something that mattered to Him. I MATTERED TO HIM. Somehow, that’s all I needed to know.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16
There is more to this story. I don’t know for sure where God will take me on this journey but I know this is where it was meant to start. If you join me we’ll find out together where He’ll be leading. I have a feeling it’s somewhere great! Will you join us? I’d love the company. 🙂