Idiosyncratica September Challenge

This month, Archie challenged us to write approximately 500 words on the “joy of losing” . This was the most difficult for me so far, and I have to admit I’m terribly nervous about posting it. But I’ll take a deep breath and publish it, just as soon as I finish this introduction.

This purely fictional piece was inspired by Truthwalker, a fellow blogger who evacuated his home yesterday morning to avoid Hurricane Gustav.

Truthwalker is a former Christian who shares quite candidly on his blog his progress, thoughts and feelings as he discovers a new way to live . I can personally relate to many of the changes he is experiencing, and I appreciate his being so open about it all in the face of how difficult that can be, and for the opportunity to follow along on his personal journey.

I am thankful for the inspiration, and I’ll be looking forward to his safe return.

Here is my story:

Losing My Religion

Gail couldn’t believe it was happening again. Voluntary evacuations would begin tomorrow, followed by mandatory evacuations on Sunday morning. She surprised herself by chuckling at a time like this. At least she didn’t have to worry about missing church anymore!

She hadn’t wanted to go back to New Orleans; things were going well enough in Dallas. She didn’t hate her job, and it paid well. Her apartment was nice but quite expensive, so she’d taken out an ad for a roommate. The woman who’d answered the ad seemed nice. Cute, too! She blushed a little at the thought.

Settling in hadn’t been easy. She was just starting to feel comfortable; it was beginning to feel like home. But Daddy was alone now; Mama had never been found after Katrina. He was getting old and he needed Gail.

Things would be different this time. She would do what she could to help, but she would not go to church. Gail did not believe in God anymore. She had given it a lot of thought, and it just didn’t make sense. She didn’t want to hurt Daddy, but she wouldn’t live a lie.

She had just started settling back in, and here she was again, stuffing things into a suitcase. She started remembering how it had felt when Katrina hit. She had been afraid and confused. She had felt guilty for feeling that way. If she just trusted God enough, he would rescue her. Or maybe God was trying to teach her and all the other queers a lesson. She’d never actually been with a girl, but she wanted to.

The storm howled and blew inside her.

Hadn’t she been good enough? Hadn’t she prayed diligently enough, and wasn’t her heart in the right place when she did? She’d been a good daughter, student and neighbor. She was still a virgin, for Christ’s sake! Maybe being a virgin doesn’t count when it’s only because you don’t like boys anyway.

What had she done to deserve losing everything, including her mother?

But this time was different. The storm raged outside. And it wasn’t her fault. Gail had lost her faith since the last storm, but not because of it. Faith had been replaced. She could endure this tragedy without feelings of guilt, confusion or anger. There was no god claiming to love her, while refusing to rescue her. It was a storm, not a punishment. And certainly not a betrayal.

Without religion or faith, she could focus on what needed to be done; her mind was clear. She could act swiftly and reasonably. There was still time to get out and that’s all she needed to do. She wasn’t supposed to feel any particular way about it. There was no “moral” way to deal with the storm. She only had to escape it.

As she drove west on Interstate 10, Daddy dozing off in the passenger seat, she wasn’t sure how she would make this work. But she would. She couldn’t control the storm, but she had control of her life.

She switched on the radio and tuned into an oldies station. She laughed when she heard R.E.M., then smiled while singing along. Of all the things she’d lost, there was one thing she didn’t miss at all.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

8 responses to “Idiosyncratica September Challenge

  • psychmum

    I can totally relate to this and really enjoyed reading it, not only as fiction but as an affirmation of other ways of being that do not have to bring guilt and outside authorities into it. Nice work!

  • Lottie

    Thank you for the feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • Gary Murning

    This is an accomplished piece, Lottie! Well done! I love that line “It was a storm, not a punishment.” Extremely relevant… a walking away from supernatural explanations in favour of the rational that nevertheless shows consideration for the belief of others (her father.) It’s a tightrope at times — and this expresses that perfectly. Great stuff.

  • Mike

    I like it, Honey. I think you’ve managed to effectively capture the essence of what it’s like to be constrained by a “terrible secret” *cue duh-duh-DUH music*

    You’ve managed to show the awful claustrophobia that comes with keeping secret something which you wish to tell the world.

    I know you were nervous about it, but your fears seem to have been completely groundless 🙂 Well done.

  • truthwalker

    Yay! I inspired someone. That makes me day lottie!

  • Lottie

    Gary: Thanks! That’s part of what I was hoping to get across. Thanks for letting me know I managed it. I appreciate your support and encouragement.

    Mike: Thanks, Honey! I wouldn’t have posted it unless you had insisted. I’m glad I listened to you.

    Truthwalker! So glad to hear from you! I’m also glad to hear you didn’t mind me basing this on your recent experiences. It was so moving… I always look forward to hearing more from you. I’ll check yours later. I’m heading out in a few minutes.

  • Gessy

    This really hit home for me. I have relatives from New Orleans who lost their homes after Hurricane Katrina. I also know people who refused to evacuate despite those “mandatory” evacuations. Thanks Lottie for personalizing this devastating experience.

  • Lottie

    Sorry to hear about that, Gessy. This must have been a difficult one for you to read. Thank you for commenting, though.

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