Chapter Four - Voices from different angles
I rolled over and let out a long groan, as bright and unwelcomed light was streaming in the window... pushing me to be awake. I could hear the morning birds twittering outside, loud and clearly. God forgive me, I wanted them to stop their racket.
I sat up on the edge of my bed, already feeling how heavy my body felt this morning. Every part of me felt like I weight a ton or more and my chest hurt so much from crying for hours... and the reason behind why my throat felt so raw and raspy. I took a deep breath in, trying to loosen my chest a little as I chased the sleepiness away, along with thoughts of Audrey.
I looked down at myself as I sat on the edge of my bed, seeing that I had slept in my clothes all night. I felt so gross in them, as I had sweat alot... it seemed. I stood up and began to peel them off, forcing myself to do so. I needed to shower and change into a clean uniform, so I can really make myself start my day. It would do no good for me to hid in my room like some hermit, even thought I wanted to at this point. It would be a lesson in futility anyways.. I cannot hide from God in the first place.
Finally out of those bed wrinkled and sweat soaked clothes, I put on my robe and readied myself to go to the shower room at the end of the hall. I looked at the time as I gathered up my bathing kit and towel I needed for this I was a little shocked that it was barely a few minutes after six in the morning.
I just shook my head and exited into the hall, listening to the stillness that St. Tomas was in the grip of. Heading down the hall with noiseless steps, I was glad that it seemed I was the only one up yet.
The shower room was empty, which was a good thing. After what I dealt with the night before, having to be sociable was not on my lists of things I wanted to do this morning... it was actually far from it. I threw off my robe and stepped into the nearest shower stall, hearing the soft echo of my own bare feet reverberate through the showers. Turning the faucet handle on the wall, I hoped that I could enjoy it even a little.
The water was running very hot this morning, which I had to admit was one of the perks being the first one in the showers. It was nice to actually have hot water to shower with, but it did little to cheer me up. With the water cascading over my head and down my body, I stood there feeling like I was wanting to cry again, but I found that I had no more tears left. I made a sighing noise and took my soap and set to work taking off the layer of sweat that my body had made over the night while forcing myself not to think.
It was not working, as I continued to see in my mind the girl I liked so much being with another girl. fighting off the feeling of betrayal I was having course through me, I wanted my mind to stop it. It was stuck there, and strongly too. It really seemed like God was really wanting me and to see the errors of my ways... and I accepted his punishment the best I could have... but I worried if the damage had been done.
After my shower, at least my body was finally felt better. I put back on my robe, smelling the light hint of soap coming off of my skin.. That little bit of pleasure seemed to lighten my heart just a little... but only a little. I just gathered up my bathing kit thought of getting back to my room, not wanting to see anyone just yet.
I had roughly about a hour until breakfast was to be served, more than enough time to dress. I really did not want to, but knew the penguins never liked people who skipped any classes whatsoever... and with them knowing the school even more that we did, they would find any person that tried.
Twenty minutes later, I had dressed and went for a little walk. Oddly, as I walked, I ended up finding myself heading into the old church that was the center of out school’s life... both in a figurative way and also with where it was situated on campus. It was not done on purpose, my body seemed to lead me into it.
Stepping in to the sanctuary of our school’s chapel, I found it still was dark and very still. The pews were sitting empty, but somehow having a inviting look to them... giving the room a very strong sense of reverence. As I stood there, the incense from the mass the night before still could be smelled in the air... and I breathed it in.
I looked at the large wood caring of the crucifixion that hung over the altar. It was lit by a single floodlight situated over it, the face of Jesus was the main focus of the lights purpose. I felt so small, as I looked at our saviour’s face, and felt my guilt now really building in my heart... along with the heaviness of shame.
I went to the front and made the sign of the cross on myself as I knelt down in front of the Jesus, still not too sure why I had came in here in the first place. I prayed for forgiveness and for the soul of Ashley as well... some habits die really hard.
I was just going to stand and leave the sanctuary, when Father Bowman appeared from his office that was behind the altar.
" Ah, Jenny..." He said, his warm voice almost musical as it echoed through the sanctuary. " I did not know anyone was here at this hour...,"
I stood up and looked at the man, feeling the guilt pound through me. I bowed my head as he neared.
" I came in here to think and pray for a while until breakfast was served, Father..." I said.
" Getting a little head start on your prayers for the day, I take it?" He asked.
" More like doing some searching..." I blundered out.
" Some soul searching?" He added in, his eyes sparkling with his understanding.
" Something like that, Father..." I said, feeling my face growing hot.
The old priest looked at me, studying my face for a few seconds.
" It appears to me like you are having a crisis in your faith?" He asked.
" It’s something like that..." I agreed, not quite ready to tell my priest about my crossing the rules of my faith.
He looked at me for a few seconds again, the gentleness in his eyes bore into me, causing my guilt to rise up a little more inside of me.
" Feel you have done something wrong?" He asked, leaning on one of the backs of a pew nearest him.
" Yeah.." I said, amazed that he had picked up something like that without knowing details.
" Sounds like you are dealing with something that is quite personal and deeply serious here..." He said.
" I am..." I said, my voice was sounding really flat
" May I be of any help?" The old priest asked, his sincerity was clear.
I shook my head, wanting to take a little more time to process things until I was ready to reveal my sins.
" Not yet..." I said, honestly.
" Taking the time to look it over for yourself is a good thing." He nodded, getting the fact that I was not going to say at the moment.
" Yeah." I agreed, feeling the man was searching my face with all of the love the man had.
" Then you know where I am, if you do..." He said calmly, reassuring me in some way. " Every day, I hear confession like clockwork... you know the times, and I will be there, Jenny."
The older priest turned to return to his office, but he oddly stopped. He turned and looked where I was. He smiled.
" I don’t know what is that you are having such a conflict with... but please take a little advice from this old priest to heart..." He said, wisdom oozing from him. " God walks with you always... talk to him as you would me, whether you have done right or have done wrong... just leave your heart open to find out who it was that he has made you... he will teach you his ways... lessons through our bad and good deeds, and thus help you through times that are confusing or hard."
The man nodded and turned, giving a warm smile as she did. Father Bowman left me to pounder what it was that he was saying. It was cryptic, as many of his teachings were from the pulpit... I knew nothing to what he was trying to say....as usual. In the end, I usually did figure what he would be getting at... but I was afraid of just what I might end up finding once I understood his words.
I made my way out of the old brick and stone made church, deciding to go to the small park area that bordered the main doors into the cafeteria. I wanted a little quietness, and to try and not to over think myself to death in the process. Clearly where my head was at this point, that will be a tall order to do.
Looking at the breakfast I had been given as I sat down in my usual spot, I wrinkled my nose. The eggs looked good, but the hash browns looked like they had been burnt to a crisp. The slice of orange that went with it did not seem all too good either. I sighed, as that was the only choice available to get... there never was a choice at breakfast.
As I began to eat, a dark haired girl joined me. Here was my longest friend in the world, now coming on to four years.
Kerri Hanson was tall with very long dark hair and deep resonating brown eyes, quite a sight compared to my smaller size. Pretty, popular and smart... I wondered from time to time how we had became friends like we had. I was nowhere near what she was, but somehow there was a connection that was there.
Kerri smirked as she took her place.
" You look like hell there, girl..." She said, seeing my face for the first time today.
" I didn’t sleep very well..." I said flatly, hesitantly answering her comment while looking at her.
The girl only nodded her head as she took her seat, but did not seem at all satisfied with my reply to her.
" Is that all?" She pried, eyeing me as if to tell me she knew better..
" What do you mean?" I asked, seeing this little glimmer that she knew something.
" Because I heard that you were sort of really upset about something late last night..." She said. "Carol Evans saw you running through the halls in ‘B’ building, and it all got back to me.." She leaned in, her face only a couple of feet from mine. " So... tell me...What’s that all about?"
I shook my head and did not answer. I was not going to have this sort of conversation with her... I already knew that she would not understand in, even if I divulged everything.
Kerri had a boyfriend that went to a prestigious prep school that was in the city... and was not in any way attracted to girls. I had met him while on a day pass to shop in the city, and by the way they acted with one another in the short time I was with them... she really would not understand it.
" Had a small sort of disagreement with someone..." I said, lying my butt off to escape saying what really was going on with me. " ... it has been resolved, and it is done."
" Had a bit of a argument with someone, eh?" Kerri said, still looking deeply into my face as she talked. " With who?"
" It don’t matter any more...It has been settled, and I will let it be settled!" I said, putting a finality on it.
Kerri nodded, seeming like she was going to drop trying to drag it out of me, which was more than fine with me. I was not going to say a damned word, and she knew that now... but her face told the fact that she still wanted to know.
Right at that moment, two other girls slid into the booth we were at, each with a tray of food. The two that had arrived to join us were Heather Kingsburough and May Gideon. These two were the other half of my main circle of friends, ones that I had known for as long as I had known Kerri for.
The redheaded girl named May, who was the most energetic of out little group seemed to be more animated than normal, even for her. I could see that there was something on her mind, while the mainly calm an cool Heather seemed to be as laid back as usual.
" Did ya all here the news?" May said almost instantly, through her strange southern accent.
" What did your gossip hearing ears get now?" Asked Kerri with a snuff, showing that she knew the girl all to well.
" Ya wouldn’t believe me... but I gotta say..." She giggled back, obviously what ever it was excited her to the point that she was going to vibrate off the face of the earth..
" Just spit it out then!" Kerri said, getting impatient with the girl.
May seemed like she was going to burst at any moment, which made Kerri roll her eyes. The red head looked at each of us for a second, her impish smile now wider than ever.
" Two girls from ‘B’ building got caught skinny dipping out in the reflecting pond early this morning..." She finally blurted out, her words literally tumbling out of her.
" That has happened before, you know..." Kerri said.
" Not like this..." Came back the red head, almost more excited than she had been. " They were making out in the water...."
" That is just sick..." Suddenly said Heather, who rarely spoke.
" They had their hands all over, and I heard one of them had a finger up in the other one... in her you-know-where..." May rattled out, her words were coming out like a raging waterfall as she ignored Heather’s comment..
I heard the news, and stayed silent. I did not know how to react after yesterday I just sat and listened instead... hearing how the girls were talking about it with such disgust.
" They were doing that?" Kerri said, her mouth falling open.
May nodded her head so hard, it seemed to hurt.
" Yes, Yes!!" She said, hopping in her seat. " They were both found totally naked... touching one another like lovers..." Nodded May, adding. " They were caught as they were kissing with tongues and they were feeling...places..."
" This is a load of shit?" Asked my best friend, obviously sceptical of the girl’s news. " Who saw these people?"
May leaned in, and looked right at Kerri who waited for an answer.
" Amy Tanner saw it along with a couple others who were going for their shift in the kitchen this morning..." The girl informed, with rapid words... her accent making it hard to understand. " I actually saw the girls who had been caught with my own two eyes... two of the nuns were pulling them in by the arms, spouting scriptures like they had ate the bible... and those two girls were still were naked..."
" Who were the ones that were caught?" Kerri asked, now seeming all too curious
" Yeah, who were they?" Came in Heather, still using as few words as she could possibly had gotten away with.
May smirked and giggled, seemingly loving gossiping like this. She took a second to looked at each one of us...almost as if she was doing it for dramatic effect or something.
" Gail Brinchuck and Tracy Green." Said the girl, almost proud with the fact that she knew. " Can you believe that??"
I was expecting to hear that it had been Ashley and that girl I had found her with... but this revelation shocked me. I was not expecting these two names to pop up in the same sentence together..
Gail was one of the group of girls that were constantly sneaking off from school to meet boys in the city... she had been caught many times trying To hear that she had been the one caught with a girl like that, really shocked me. It was the last one I thought of that way, besides myself...I admitted. This was perhaps why it did make me stop and think.
Tracy Green on the other hand, had long been rumoured to be a lesbian. That story had gone throughout the school as a rumour more than just once since I came to St. Tomas. I had actually heard it about a month ago again. I was guessing now that was more than just whispers in the halls.
I found myself actually feeling quite a bit of sympathy towards the two girls, then instantly started to feel guilty that I was feeling that way. I heard my friends still were talking away about it, there was no way of ignoring the disgust they felt for the two girls loving like they had been... or the fact that they had gotten caught. It was horrible to hear even my best friend talking like that, each word felt like it was cutting in to me...even if they never knew about me Ashley and I.
I realized that I had started to feel the weight, the weight of feeling out of place now. Even though I was with all of my best friends in the world, I realized that I could never talk this thing through even with Kerri. After hearing how they talked about it, I knew that... and my mind was knowing also that it could have been me that had been caught like that.
I just quickly finished up the last of my breakfast and stood up. Feeling very uncomfortable with my friends...even with myself, I needed to leave right now.
" Uh, I’ve gotta go now..." I stammered, slipping out of the booth with my empty tray.
" You going?" Asked Kerri, a little surprised that I had stood up..
" Uh, yeah..." I said meekly, hearing the vibration in my voice as I said it.
" You know that classes don’t start for another half an hour or so..." My friend pointed out, looking at me with a questioning stare.
I shrugged my shoulders while looking at her... I never gave a reason. I waved at the group and headed out the door, putting my tray where it was meant to be. I wanted to just leave, feeling more uncomfortable than even when I first came to St. Tomas. This was different though... way beyond different.
As I left, I caught sight of Ashley sitting with her group of friends deep in the groups of girls. She looked at me, then turned her head a little. I did the same, and made a beeline right out of the cafeteria as fast as I could... my heart could not take seeing her just yet.
I went searching to find a quiet place to hide away in until classes would start, wanting to hid just a little more. My mind was even more sure of what was happening to me, and around me. God was punishing me for my actions, and for the way I lusted... and he was showing me the errors of my ways ever so clearly now.
I repented in my head over and over again, hoping and praying that I could escape the ‘hell’ thing. As I hurried on my way, my only real prayer was that Our heavenly Father had heard me.