Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Friday, April 11, 2014

J Is For Justice

The big cookie jar was on the counter, open. The cupboard above was locked. She forgot! a big smile filled my face as I whispered the words to my Friend. I pulled the kitchen stool over, climbed up, grabbed a handful of cookies, and stuffed them in the pocket of the light jacket I wore. Shooey ate one. I gobbled down the rest. His bulk and the shadows of rose bushes concealed me from the woman who sat reading near the playhouse, and from the other children as they biked and ran. My mouth was parched. I returned to the kitchen for a glass of water. The cookie jar still sat open on the counter. I grabbed another handful, carefully replaced the stool, took the cookies to the room I shared and ate them as I read Johanna Spyri’s, Heidi. Later, I walked back through the kitchen. Still, the cookie jar remained on the counter. I pocketed another handful and shared them with Shooey under the porch. Twice more, I repeated my careful promenade through the kitchen. Then, the jar was then empty.

Who ate all the cookies?! the woman demanded, her face red. Twelve children sat around the dining table or on the chairs pushed against either long wall of the room. The woman waved her arms excitedly, I can’t believe this! I go in to make dinner and all the cookies are gone. Whomever ate the cookies, confess right now! I remained silent. If no one confesses, I’ll punish all of you. I remained silent. Eve! Follow me, she led Eve into the little parlour and closed the door. The sound of her hand smacking Eve’s body resonated through the small glass panes of the door. Eve cried out, I didn’t do it, Mommy! I didn’t do it! The woman’s voice sounded, Send Gerard in. Eve came back through the parlour door. Gerard, she sniffed and pointed to the partly open parlour door. Gerrard disappeared behind the closed door. Whoever ate those cookies had better confess! she demanded, her face red and wet. It’s not fair that I should be punished! I didn’t eat them! I remained silent. Each child disappeared in turn behind the parlour door, returned crying, and loudly demanded the culprit confess. I remained silent. My stomach sank down to my toes. I sat sideways on the chair hiding my face in the hard upholstered back. I don’t want a spanking, I mutely told my friend. The youngest child in the house at the time, I was called in last. A lump filled the back of my throat; I closed the parlour door behind me.

I know you didn’t take them, the woman spoke softly. I’ll spank the piano bench and you cry. She spanked the upholstered surface and I howled. You’d better run upstairs or they’ll know you’re not really crying, she told me. I covered my face with my hands and ran up the steps howling. Gerard cried out, Whoever took the cookies had better confess. They deserved it, I told my Friend, as I sat on the window seat and hugged the eyeless bear: They hit me. And pinch me. And hurt me. And call me names cause I don’t look them or sound like them; cause I’m little. I took a deep snuffly breath, You know the horrible things the boys do to me? The warm, gentle tingle of my Friend’s hug filled me. Even Eve does those things to me! I hate them! They deserve to be punished! The well within me gushed over, She won’t give me anything to eat! Neither will he! She always gives them them things they can eat! I hate being hungry! The tingle surged to powerful, electric surge.

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