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Someday I'll Get It -- creative nonfiction by Kat Scadley

May 22 2016

Before I turned 6, I used to think about dying. Not seriously of course. Only in the way that if I died before I turned 6, life would be easier. I wouldn’t have to pinch my nose as I went under the water. I wouldn't be responsible for my sins. I wouldn't have to worry about going to hell.

My dad told me that this would be one of the best days of my life. My two dutch braids were plastered to my skull, each strand of hair meticulously placed. The long white dress covered almost my entire neck and danced on the tips of my fingers and toes. I liked it better on the hanger. My mom told me to smile for the camera as I stood in the beet red carpeted hallway. I flashed my big messy grin. Both my parents came over and hugged me as they told me how much they loved me, and how they were so proud of me for making the decision to get baptized. The fluorescent church light was blinding. I didn't really understand what was going on. But it's ok. Someday I'll get it.


October 31 2016

“It’s Halloween we can be anything”. At least that's what my parents told me. I think this was the day I realized that adults are capable of lying.

I sat on the couch, my tiny toes tucked under a blanket. Light spilled through the windows reflecting off of my muted yellow living room walls. My mom sat on a kitchen bar stool. My eyes glanced off the TV as I watched her fingers jumping on and off the keys of her computer. All of a sudden the TV changed and an image of a woman and a woman holding hands came on the TV. They walked along a sidewalk lined with red roses. The screeching of the front door erupted into the house, followed by the clapping of my dad’s work shoes. The two women conjoined hands.

I turned around as I watched my dad enter. His smile slowly dropped. My mom then looked up from her computer to where he was looking. Their faces turned the color of the crimson wool sweater wrapped around me. “This is not appropriate to be watching, disgusting”. 

I lowered my head and fidgeted with the tip of the braid wrapped around my head. I didn't understand why they were so mad. The two women looked so happy. Someday I'll get it.


July 14 2021

I traced my fingers along the groves of the wooden bunk bed. My feet perched on the side of the battered wooden frame, my head balanced on my knees, all an elaborate game of Jenga. Screaming rang through my ears. It was the fisher cats.

This was my 2nd year attending church camp. The four other girls in my cabin sat on the adjacent beds. Their faces all lit up by the flashlight that stood propped up between the four of us. Ruth, one of my closest friends at the time, sat across from me. The red streaks in her hair glowed in the dim yellow light. The moon waited outside of the small battered cabin. I longed to see it before it was too late.

We talked about normal things Christian girls are supposed to talk about. What we wanted to name our kids, church memories, the guys we liked. The girls pleaded with Ruth to try and figure out who she liked. “Come on, it's not that deep,” they said. She settled on telling Kali.

Kali and Ruth left the cabin stepping into the woods. The two other girls dedicated me to follow. To try and eavesdrop. I didn't realize how sharp the rocks would be. They cut into my bare feet as I tiptoed behind Ruth and Kali leaving red stains on the fuzzy gray blobs illuminated by a soft skylight. 

“Don't tell anyone, I can’t have anyone know”. The voices grew louder. My ears stretched further and further to reach the clandestine voices. There's something about knowing you can't know something that just makes you want to know it more. Even if the truth might hurt you. Anxiously holding back, our ears manage to slip away from us and make their way around that limitation, that tree, until they are engulfed by the fiery flames that is the truth, and those flames shoot right back at you. You let out a few sweltering screams. Stop, drop, and roll, is all you can think because that's the only defense mechanism you were taught as a kid. All of a sudden, you wished you could have gone your life without knowing.

As I entered back into the cabin leaving Kali and Ruth in the woods, I watched as the other girls' excitement faded as they saw my blood drained face. They begged me to tell who Ruth liked. I sputtered out a few panicked words, “John, you wouldn't know him”. I lied. It was me.

Something in me changed that night. As I laid my head down against my scratchy sleeping bag, I couldn't grapple with the fact that I believed Ruth was a sinner. I didn’t know if I was a sinner. Someday I’ll get it. 


September 13 2023

I came home from school and asked if I could go to a friend's house. My dad told me if I promised that I wouldn't leave the church. Yeah of course, I assured him. I don't remember when I ever joined. But he told me it was his favorite thing about me. I thought about how maybe it's just something you're born with. I mean of course this is what I believe in. Like the color of your hair, you can't change it. Someday I'll get it.


December 11 2024

“Dear God'' the man started, his wrinkled hands gripping the podium like a lifeline. I looked around in the sterile chapel. Everyone in the chapel was staring down at their folded arms with closed eyes. Close your eyes. I forced my eyes shut until my head started to ache and when I opened them again, my vision was blurry from the constant pressure. Just close your eyes it's not that fucking hard. But I couldn't. I worried my boiling thoughts would spill out of my head into chapel pure chapel air. I finally settled on letting my eyes rest on the singular window near the back of the chapel. When the man said his last words, he let the podium go from his grasp, leaving his knuckles an angelic white. 

I watched as the silence evaporated, listening to the sound of people standing up, collecting their bags. My eyes stayed fixated on the window. I tucked my hair behind my ears. Susanna came over to chat about her latest life developments. I normally would have been riveted, but I found myself faking smiles and forcing laughs. I couldn't get it out of my mind why I couldn't close my eyes like her, like everyone else. I didn't understand why I couldn’t believe anymore. Someday I’ll get it


February 11 2024

The deep abyss of my ceiling had been looking awfully interesting. I counted the grates on the vent: 1, 2, 3. Over and over. My eyes tried to rest underneath my eyelids, but my eyelids were deceiving. They transported me out of my twin bed and back to reality. God is going to send someone to strike you down. To rid the demons out of you. I reach for my hands but they are uncontrollably shaking. My breath starts to run away from me, to further greener places, I want to run away with it but I’m stuck here. I didn't understand why God hadn’t killed me yet. Someday I'll get it.


April 3 2024

His sweaty hand rested on the crevices of my waist pulling me in as the slow music spilled from overhead. The orbit above reflected shimmering sequins off of the silhouette of his face. I fiddled with the rubber bracelet on his wrist the words on it spelling out the name of our church. The butterflies in my stomach were soon suppressed as I realized that we would never work. He wouldn't like me if he knew who I really was. The music slipped away and so did my hand from his pale neck. I stared down at my dirty converse wiggling my toes to make sure I was still here. I looked up at his face towering above me. He looked down at me with a kind smile revealing his dimples he had had since he was a kid. But I couldn’t do it. He opened his mouth to start to say something but I cut him off. “I think it's better if I go”. I slipped away into the dead of the night leaving no evidence behind. I walked faster and faster each step crushing the temptation of going back. It wasn’t fair to either of us. I was an identity thief trapped inside the body of a teenage girl.

That night I filled my free McDonald's water cup with cherry coke. I felt sick to my stomach. I wondered when I turned into a bad person, the kind that my parents whisper about at the kitchen table. What went wrong? Someday I'll get it.


April 10 2024

My hair lay sprawled out above the grass just above my head, face illuminated by the night sky. I looked up at the moon and stars and I felt a pit forming in my stomach. I tried to trace the stars in the sky to distract myself, but I soon realized the sky was far too vast and wide, with too many stars to count, I don't know why there was so many stars, why I would never be able to connect them all into one neat picture, how the moon finds the strength to keep coming back when people only ever wish on stars, I don't know where we go when we close our eyes for the last time, I don’t know if my parents will ever accept me for who I truly am, not just the potential of what I can become, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like a good enough person, if the internal wounds from religious trauma will always linger in my soul, I don’t know why God would love people less for things he created them with.

I don’t know a lot of things. But I can only sigh and focus on the beauty of a singular star. The light that it brings as it shines and glistens off of the faces of millions around the globe at the exact same time. And as the sun and moon circle over my head thousands of times, I sit in this prickly grass field and hope. I hope that someday I'll get it.


 

Kat Scadley is a 16 year old living on the east coast and has been writing creatively for as long as she could remember. She is an editor for her school's literary magazine and has had multiple pieces published there. Outside of writing, she enjoys hanging out with friends, singing, running and hopes to live in a big city someday.


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