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 Flori Paquette

Author of Under The Tamarisk Tree, Little Cotton Heart 

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God Will Be Glad And I Will Be Pretty

by Flori Paquette 

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I am just a lost girl.  Don’t stare at me because I don’t have any clothes.  Please, don’t touch me.  My skin is very sore and some of my dirt may rub off on you.  Then you will say, “yuk!  Get away from me!”

Stand far away from me.  I have lots of germs.  You wouldn’t want to catch what I have.  It feels terribly bad.

Don’t try to pull me in to wash me off, so you can dress me in your clothes.   Don’t try to make me wear your perfume.  There is a reason why I’m naked.

You see, some people found me wondering when I was looking for a home.  They took me to live at their house.  They told me it was God’s.

“Take off your clothes,” they said to me.  They told me that my clothes made God sad.  I didn’t want to make God feel bad, so I gave them all the pretty things I wore.  All the people stood around and stared at me.  They looked close at all my skin.  After that, they brought me other things to wear.  I didn’t want to put them on.  I could tell they were made for someone else, but they told me God said they made me pretty.  I wanted God to think I was pretty.

I had to wear those clothes all the time.  They pinched and rubbed so much, they made me bleed.  They made it hard for me to breathe.

The house looked very pretty for all who passed by.  It was clean in front.  It was covered with thick, white paint.  The yard was full of flowers and fruit trees.  People who walked by looked at the flowers and said we had a beautiful garden.  We would give them fruit from the trees in the front yard because the backyard had yucky fruit with lots of worms.

Inside the house there was a special place.  We saved it for people who came to visit.  In that place the curtains were kept wide open.  It was always bright and warm.  We had to work very hard to keep it clean.  There were lots of pretty knick-knacks.  We dusted and polished them all the time just in case someone came to spend some time with us.

All the rest of the house was different.  We had to keep the doors locked and the curtains shut tight.  We were forbidden to open them unless the master gave the order.  If someone did, they got in lots of trouble.  The master said we must obey the rule to keep us safe from bad people who tried to tell us they were good.

On the inside of the doors that locked, it was dark and I thought it smelled bad.  Everybody else said there was something wrong with my nose.  They said it smelled just the way it should, so I believed them.

The master of the house said he was good.  He said he knew the voice of God.  He said it was terrible to think bad things about him, because it would make God mad.  He told me that I would get hurt and die if I ran away.  I felt sick to my stomach most of the time because I had to try so hard not to think bad things about him. 

I watched people get in terrible trouble when they got mad at the master.  He would get other people to beat them with mean words that made them cry, until they would say sorry.  I got beatings too, when I got mad.  It hurt me.  I cried and cried until I couldn’t remember how to think like myself anymore.

I always wanted to run away, but I was too afraid.  They told me invisible monsters would attack me.  The monsters growled inside my head.  I thought they would kill me, or people who I loved.  The monsters would bite into me really deep and scare me in my sleep, every time I went too close to the gate and thought of sneaking out.

When I cried to loud and someone heard, I would get a beating.  The monsters would hear my quiet tears and bite me for being bad.  I learned to stop crying.  That’s when I looked in the mirror and saw someone else look back at me.

One day, something different happened.  The master opened a little window in the dark part of the house.  Everybody saw the light and got up close to it.  The sun came in and felt very good.  It was very nice to sit by the little window.  The sun felt warm on my sore skin.  The air smelled fresh and sweet.  We could sit there if we wanted to because the master said that it was good.

Then my nose wanted me to open another window.  I thought it would make the house smell better.  The monsters started growling and said that they would bite.  But my nose got stronger than my fears. 

Almost everybody wanted to let the good air in.  We started to open tiny cracks in all the windows behind the curtains, so the master wouldn’t see.  That’s when I knew my nose was working just the way it should. 

The monsters go really loud and bit me every night for being bad.  I was very scared.  They made me feel all mixed up.  I thought maybe God would tell them to kill me.  I cried because the monster bites started to hurt so much.  My stomach always burned when I tried to sleep because I was sick from being worried.

I told God that He could kill me if I was bad.  I made up my mind to run away.  If those were God’s monsters, I didn’t want to be with Him anymore.

I was mad at the master for beating me.  I snuck through the house to say good-bye to my friends.  Some of them whispered in my ears that they wanted to leave too.  We waited.  We walked around the house.  We opened the curtains.  Light came shining in.  That’s when we could see all bad things that made the house have a stinky smell.  We saw cuts and bruises on everybody’s skin.  I found out that those awful monsters bit everyone.  I thought that I was the only one.  The master gave beatings to lots of people.  He told them never to tell.

After we saw those bad, ugly things, the monsters ran away.  There was too much light.  They couldn’t stay.  The master didn’t have them to help him hide.  He got really scared because we saw all the bad things that he did.  He ran out of the house.  Some of the people went with him.  He hides behind them now.

I helped tear the house apart.  I didn’t want the master to sneak back in.  He could lie to other people who are lost.  Then they would get hurt like I did.

For a while I stayed by the wrecked-up house.  Most of the people were there because they didn’t know where else to go.  We helped each other find our things.  We cried and put band-aides on each other.

 

The time came for me to say good-bye.  I took off the clothes they made me wear.  It hurt way too much to keep them on.  I looked for my old clothes.  They were in the dirt, under the front steps.  I tried to put them on.  It didn’t work.  They didn’t fit me anymore.

I stood on the front steps.  My nose sucked up the fresh air.  I looked up the road one way then down the other way.  Then I walked through the gate.  No monsters growled at me.  I didn’t get bit.  The warm sun gave my skin a big hug.  My heart reached up to hold God’s hand.  It felt so good.

My feet are very tired now.  I have been walking down a road that is covered with sharp rocks.  I followed it around scary curves.  It seems like I’ve been walking in circles of glad, then mad and lots of sad.

Don’t feel sorry for me.  God is taking me to His river.  I will take a long bath.  All the dirt will get washed off.  I will lay in the sun, where all the germs will die.  My feet will feel better.

When I am ready, I will get up.  I will walk naked until I find pieces of clothes that I think look really nice.  I can pick flowers along the way.  I can rub them on my skin.  That is the kind of perfume I want to wear.

God will be glad, and I will be pretty.