January 1, 2011
I wonder what bliss feels like? Does it feel like love if that love is good? Daddy says he feels blissful when he’s around Mama. She always laughs and shakes her head.
In fact, he says that a lot.
But she laughs every time.
Is bliss a part of your imagination?
Here’s the definition.
Bliss: n. Extreme happiness; joy
Huh. Mama and Daddy must be pretty blissful.
They’re always happy.
On every day of the week. Even Mondays.
Today is the first day of 2011.
The year and I are both 11.
Next year we’ll both be 12.
I stayed up past midnight last night finishing a book.
I can understand what bliss is—at least a little—when I’m reading a good book.
I want to grow up and be just like Mama. And I want to marry somebody just like Daddy.
It’s just us three.
Mama and Daddy were both orphans and have no relations anywhere.
Well…Daddy once said that he might have a younger half-brother somewhere.
But he can’t find him…even though Daddy said he tried really, really hard…
January 1, 2014
“Hey, Meredith, Mrs. Greyden wants to see you!”
I looked up as Kelly’s voice invaded my thoughts. I studied her for a moment, waiting for her to explain.
“I don’t know why!” Kelly threw up her hands. “And how come you always look so peaceful, huh? You’re an orphan and you have no one, but you always look peaceful. Sometimes a sad kind of peaceful, but still peaceful. Oh! You should see the new girl! She’s a beauty. Even as pretty as you. I think Carrie will be jealous. You might want to—”
I zoned out Kelly’s incessant chatter and shut my journal and closed my Bible which was lying open on my bed. I tucked both of them into a bag and slung it over my shoulder. I liked to carry them with me if I didn’t have time to put them in their proper hiding place.
Carrie was known for doing cruel things like reading journals and making fun of others because of the intensely personal thoughts she thought were puerile.
She did it to me once. About a year ago.
But I hadn’t allowed it to get to me and she had been furiously annoyed as well as a little amazed.
But I had felt so much pain already, Carrie’s childish taunts were mere pinpricks. I looked about for Crystal before I left the room. I frowned when I didn’t see her. I trailed my hand along the hallway as I walked down it, following the chatty Kelly.
Where was she? She was always—not paying attention to where I was going, I bumped into a person rather roughly. The girl stumbled back a step as I rubbed my shoulder where her head had connected.
“Are you all right?” Kelly shrieked loudly, eyes going back and forth between the girl and me. I wasn’t quite sure who she was speaking to. After ascertaining that we were fine, Kelly launched into another monologue, throwing in introductions at the beginning.
“Meredith, this is Savannah. Savannah, Meredith. Merry, I told you she was pretty, didn’t I? Carrie will be positively green!”
I studied the blushing girl and smiled a bit. I put a hand on Kelly’s shoulder to dam the words for a moment. If I touched her, it almost always worked.
“It’s wonderful to meet you, Savannah. Do you know which room you’ll be staying in?”
I hoped it was mine so that I could protect her from the mean girls. Savannah really was extraordinarily pretty. She had thick black wavy hair and dark expressive eyes that looked like every orphan’s eyes in this establishment. Sad and lost and even a little bitter. She looked to be around 13. Her face was pixiesh and her mouth hinted at uncertainty as she kept on biting it, making her perfect red lips even redder.
“Um…room number 12?”
I nodded. “Good. That’s my room. Kelly, would you show Savannah the ropes will I go talk to Mrs. Greyden?”
“All right, Merry. Come on, Savannah! I’ll show you what we do for fun around here. Well…what everybody except Meredith does for fun. I have to warn you that Merry is a little different from the other girls. She sees things, you understand. No. I don’t suppose you can. I don’t even understand. But Merry is special. You’ll see what I mean…”
I smiled slightly as Kelly tried to fill Savannah in on why I was unique.
My psychiatrist was still trying to figure that one out.
I came to Mrs. Greyden’s office and knocked on the door.
“Come in.” Her voice was smooth and professional as it always was. Mrs. Greyden had run this house for twenty years. She always had exactly twenty five girls in the house. This house was for
None of those girls ever stayed in her house for more than three years. She always found a foster family within that time period.
I twisted the shining golden doorknob and entered, closing the door behind me.
I glanced about. Where was Crystal?
She never left me for so long like this. If she did then she usually had a replacement.
“You called for me, ma’am.”
“Ah, yes. Meredith Windsor.” The woman shuffled some papers around on her desk and peered through the glasses perched on her nose at a piece of paper in her hand. “I’ve assigned you a new psychiatrist.”
“I don’t need one.” I said calmly, taking a seat in the hard plastic chair in front of her desk. “Why should this one be any different than Miss Wilson?”
Mrs. Greyden sighed. “I’m still not quite sure why Miss Wilson gave up your case.”
“She began to doubt her beliefs as an atheist.” I replied, staring down at my shoes. “I don’t think she had ever heard of the idea that God is love and God loves her and that Jesus—”
“Nonsense,” She muttered, cutting me off, glancing up at me for the first time. “Your parents died three years ago. You are fourteen and you still talk to imaginary friends. And you are ridiculously spiritual for one so…young.”
My mouth tightened.
Where was she? Why couldn’t I see her? I looked around the room once more.
Mrs. Greyden noticed. “What are you looking for?”
I sighed. “I am looking for exactly who you think I’m looking for.” I replied quietly.
Mrs. Greyden shrugged slightly then said, “Oh, I forgot. You also have a new caseworker.”
“What happened to Nora?”
“She’s…ah…well…she’s dead, to put it bluntly.”
My mouth fell open. “H—how?”
“Car wreck. Semi hit her dead on.” Mrs. Greyden shook her head and sighed. “A tragedy.”
“But Nora had three little ones and a husband! What will happen—”
“Meredith, please. I know you are inordinately caring but do not concern yourself with this. You will be taken care of, I assure you.”
Blinking back tears, I scanned the room for Crystal once more.
“Meredith, you have a meeting with your caseworker tomorrow at eight in the morning.”
“Yes, ma’am.” I stood and made to leave, reaching for the doorknob.
“Oh, and Meredith…”
I stopped, suspended by her voice.
“I am truly sorry. I know you liked Nora. And she you.”
I closed the door silently behind me after exiting. I began to walk down the hallway. Slowly at first. Then faster.
Until I was running with all my might.
I burst from the house and ran toward the field that held ripe, golden wheat.
I tore through it, ignoring the slap of the heads of wheat on my legs and torso.
Finally, I tripped and fell.
The wheat arched up over my head and body as if trying to cover me. I looked up at the patches of sky through the gold of the stalks.
“Why does death come?” I whispered up to God.
My parents had died three years earlier from carbon monoxide poisoning.
I had been staying the night at a friend’s house.
After their death, I remember how I began praying, begging God to see something other than the grief and the world around me.
And He had granted me my desire.
I still remember my first session with the psychiatrist. “What do you think you see Miss Meredith?”
I remember staring into the kind yet piercing eyes of Miss Wilson.
“I see angels.”
She had tilted her head. “Can you see anything else? Like…”
“Demons.” I whispered.
“Yes. I can see both.”
She cleared her throat. “Do you think you are imagining these things, Meredith? Or do you believe that they are as real as you and I.”
I nearly smiled at her ignorance.
I saw Crystal laughing behind her.
“These angels are not just my imagination. They are my…unimagination, Miss Wilson.”
“You’re…unimagination?” She repeated in disbelief.
She certainly was pretty for an atheist. All long brown hair and big blue eyes.
I allowed a small smile to blossom. “Yes.” I had said.
Now, as I turned onto my back and stared up at that big blue sky I thought over my life.
I had awakened one morning when I had been twelve to voices. The room had been quiet, for all were still sleeping.
But the voices had belonged to Crystal and another angel.
I still remember their conversation as clearly as I felt the wheat scratching my skin now.
I closed my eyes and forgot for the moment that Miss Nora was dead.
I allowed the memory to wash over me, like rain washing over dusty, thirsty ground...
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