So, we’re kicking off the month of March with a new story! And what I like the most about it is, it’s not my story! As you’ve already seen from the title, this is a special from Makafui, who is an avid fan of the State, and it’s an honour to have his work featured here. Get ready for this involving and engaging journey!!
A million thoughts ran through my head.
“Bailey, your grades have been falling. What’s happening?”
“Bailey, what is happening to you? You did not receive any awards for the first time in a long time!”
“I’m beginning to lose confidence in you, man. You need to step it up.”
“Bailey, we recommended you for Student Congress Leader but a few faculty members have expressed their reservations. They say you’re not the golden boy you used to be.”
“Bailey, I’m really sorry. You’re a great guy, an amazing guy even, but your best friend is just more of a man than you are. Please understand. I hope we can still be friends.”
“I am your father, you useless fool and I say that as long as you’re my son, you will never amount to anything! You can be the smartest person in the world but you will always be a nobody!”
My actions after that last thought, words which were spoken right before my foot landed in my father’s ass and my palms pushed him out the house for good years ago, were completely out of my control. Reflex had taken over; time to spiral again. The darkness I felt and the darkness in my room made me feel less alone, after all. I’ll probably wake up in a few hours and scream at myself again.
“Goddammit! Again?” Well, there it is. Do calm your hooves; I did not say that out loud. But Goddammit! Again? Why do I keep doing this when I clearly hate it?
“Mowbry. Bailey Mowbry.”
Oh hell, she’s coming. Quick, cover up before she gets here, you idiot! Her footsteps are getting closer, this is no time to lie in bed and mope. Wanna get busted or nah? I dragged myself out of my bed and draped myself with a towel before Martha opened the door.
“Why is this room always so dark?” She brought back the lights just after I’d hidden my face. “Bailey, Why are you still in a towel? We have bible study to go for.”
Oh hell no, this could not be happening. I’d been kicking myself over having an episode without realizing that what I should really have been mad about was the fact that I’d had an episode right before bible study! How do I go in front of God now?
“Bailey, why are you still standing there? You’re leading today; you have to be the earliest one,” Martha said, as she rummaged through my closet to find something for me to wear. Oh, now I really wanted to slide back under my sheets and pretend this day hadn’t happened at all. Ironically, I’d been preparing for today for two weeks; it meant so much to me. Plus, I hated the idea of teaching the same tired stuff as everyone else. I wanted to be different, to be practical, and to be real. How was I going to be any of that if unclad bodies were the last things I saw before going to tell people about my thoughts on what the bible said about how we were meant to live?
“I have to go take a shower.”
“Bailey,” she started, walking towards me slowly, “I know we have bible study today but I kinda want to stay here with you.” In five seconds, her hands had cupped my cheeks and I was not sure how to fend her off. I held her waist, followed her lead as she slowly backed towards the door while I held her gaze, moved in swiftly to meet her halfway and then…
Bam! The pain snapped me out of that trance just in time for me to notice that Martha had been staring at me while I acted out a two-person romance all by myself and wasn’t sure how to react until I walked straight into the door, my hands out at waist level and my mouth partially opened, and slammed my face into it.
“Bailey, stop being silly and go take your shower now.” Funny thing was, it wasn’t even her face I saw during the trance; it was the face of one of the unclad bodies. Needless to say, I’d lost interest in teaching today. “Martha, could you please cover for me today? I don’t feel too well.”
Martha just gave me the blankest possible stare, then shot, “Hey, get your head out of the armpit of fear and get ready! You’re doing this today; the Lord says so.” Martha could not be outgunned when she pulled out that card and she knew this. Oh well, I guess I’m going to have to do this. Sorry God, I really hope I didn’t piss you off for being a walking lie, having episodes before bible study and all.
All I could remember from that service was me constantly fighting the images that frequently popped up in my head while I was teaching, and trying not to quote some inappropriate line from the episode before, but it was finally over and everyone had nothing but kind words for me, so I thought it went well. Martha had elected to walk me home. I had no say in the matter because she was super persistent. I’m not sure what got into her but the company couldn’t hurt, could it?
It was pretty uneventful until five minutes to my house, when Martha stopped. I went a few steps forward without realizing that she’d stopped and being occupied with my thoughts, I would have gone on if she hadn’t said in her super calm voice, “That was amazing today, Bailey. I’ve never heard anyone teach about grace the way you did today. The way you used Romans 3:20-24 to talk about how our goodness was not enough but God’s goodness made us good, and then you reminded us that our righteousness is not enough and that we needed God to save us. And how you reminded us to get up quickly when we slipped, remind ourselves that we were forgiven before we were born and then try not to repeat the mistake again: that was spot on.
“Even better, your warning at the end where you quoted Paul and then asked if we were meant to continue making mistakes and sinning just because grace covered us. That got people thinking. No one fell asleep and everyone followed your train of thought from start to finish. Beautifully done, Bailey. As perfect as usual and you exceeded all expectations. I’m proud of you.”
Was Martha just drunk or was she kite-high? I could not stand still the entire time because I was so damn nervous and guilty about the episode before service! I did not even hear, let alone remember, a word I said yet here she was, giving me props for a job well done!
“Thank you, Martha. I’m surprised I was actually able to pull that off. Thank God for everything, right?” Martha wasn’t one to ever give compliments on bible teachings and she just gave me a bunch! Maybe the episode didn’t do as much damage as I thought.
“Bailey, is there something you’re struggling with?”
Where did that come from? “What do you mean?”
“It’s just that the way you spoke today felt a little too personal to me. Of course, everyone else thought you spoke under divine inspiration and they were so excited to learn that Jesus loved them no matter what they did but to me, it felt like you were speaking to yourself more than to any of us in the room. Plus before we left for bible study, you acted as if you were trying to kiss me and walked straight into the door; it was like you had been possessed. Is there something you’re struggling with? An addiction or a behavioral anomaly maybe?”
Wow, mind readers really are a thing! This woman just read the pages out of me without even trying and my longer-than-expected silence was not helping at all.
“No, Martha, I’m not. I’ve seen people go through a lot with guilt and that has impacted me. It was personal and that’s why it felt personal to you. I thank God you felt that way.”
“Are you sure, Bailey? You know you can talk to me.”
“Yes, Martha. Look, I’ve to go. I have to take care of something at home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Martha’s perplexed look made me know that she was going to chase after this feeling she had until she found the truth, which she was bound to find anyway. My secret had to remain hidden if any part of my world was to remain intact. I was a model youth and the one who everyone wanted their children to become; this could not get out! I would be fine. I just had to move my computer away from my bed and try my hardest never to bring it back. That would do it.
Or so I hoped…