Jesus Freaks: Sins of the Father
Author:Andrea Randall

You don’t say.

 

Bridgette sighs. “They want to make sure we set an excellent example for our younger siblings.”

 

“How many do you have?” Eden and I ask at the same time, causing more giggles. This time, though, I’ve joined in the laughter.

 

“Twelve. Two older, ten younger,” Bridgette states matter-of-factly.

 

Eden’s face doesn’t move, while mine morphs into a gaping crater.

 

“Fourteen? Your parents have fifteen kids?” I ask, my mouth taking up more space on my face than it ever has.

 

She nods. “Yep.”

 

“Eden?” I turn toward her and find her picking at her nails. “How many siblings do you have?”

 

“Two. An older brother who’s an associate pastor and a younger sister who’s in high school. Only she goes to a new Christian high school in another town. What about you?”

 

I swallow. “I have an older stepsister. She’s in medical sch—”

 

“Divorce?” Bridgette whispers as she puts her hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay?”

 

I pull my head back, confused at first by her question. “Oh…no,” I chuckle, “my mom was never married to my birth father. When she met my stepdad, he already had a daughter from his first marriage. She’s six years older. She lived with her mom most of the time while I was growing up.”

 

Eden winces as she offers a sympathetic smile. “Sorry. It must have been hard growing up in so much confusion.”

 

Confusion? Who was confused? Me, apparently.

 

“I was little,” I admit. “It was all I knew.”

 

“Do you know your real dad?” Bridgette asks.

 

Real. Dad.

 

For most of my life, Roland was barely real, and he was certainly never my dad. This conversation is bordering dangerously close to “off-limits” territory.

 

I nod. “My real dad is my mother’s husband,” I snap ungraciously. Clearing my throat, I try again. “I know my birth father, but…I don’t really like talking about it.” I shrug and Bridgette puts her arm around me.

 

Eden slides off her bed and sits next to me. “Sorry,” she says for the second time in as many minutes.

 

I stay silent. There’s a battle inside me. I want to tell them everything about Roland and my confusion surrounding my spiritual roots. I want to scream that I’m here to learn about him as much as I am to learn about me, away from the expectations that have been shoved in my face my whole life. But I can’t. Not yet. I don’t know if I can trust them, and yet, they’re probably the most trustworthy people I’ve been around in a while.

 

“You know what we should do?” Bridgette’s tone perks up slightly. “We should pray. The three of us. For our lives together this year as roommates, our school year, just…everything.”

 

Eden’s hand tightens around mine. “That’s a great idea. Bridge, do you wanna start?”

 

Bridgette nods. Both girls take deep, shoulder-raising breaths, and lower their heads along with their eyelids. This posture is familiar to me. Prayer is familiar. For me, it’s usually confined to church settings and alone in my bedroom at night, though. And I can’t remember a single time I’ve ever prayed with friends. Especially without a priest at the helm.

 

I breathe through the turning in my stomach as Bridgette begins.

 

“Heavenly Father, I want to thank you for these two wonderful roommates, Eden and Kennedy. Thank you, Lord, for bringing me to Carter University, and I ask that you let your light shine through me while here on campus and out in the world, Lord…” she trails off, leaving an opening for another speaker. I pray, silently, that Eden will go.

 

I like immediate positive answers to prayer.

 

“Thank you,” Eden speaks a hair above a whisper. “Thank you, Jesus, for these women in my life. These wonderful, godly women that will help strengthen my faith. Let me help strengthen theirs, too, Lord. Help me stand firm against temptation, Father. I know it will be all around, on and off campus, and, Lord, I just want to please you.” Eden’s voice takes on an urgent undercurrent, still remaining quiet. “I want to please you and let you use me for your purpose, Lord.” She squeezes my hand. “Please wrap your loving arms around Kennedy as she struggles with the ramifications of a broken home, Lord Jesus. Let some good come from this situation…”

 

Broken? Some good? I clench my teeth together, growing angry at the assumptions spewed by Eden. Well intended or not, the rage bubbling through my chest is undeniable. I take a deep breath, reminding myself I know about as much about her past as she knows about mine, and I need to keep an open mind.

 

“Bless us, Lord, and guide us in our studies and in our social lives…” Eden finishes, and it seems both girls are waiting for me to go.

 

Me. Don’t they know I don’t do this? No, of course not. Everyone here does this, and I have about three seconds to prove that.

 

previous 1.. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ..94 next