Over the River (Part Two), a Short Story

(If you haven’t read Part one, here’s a link!)


Jan. 14, 1987

I think I been hearing God talk. I was going to bed and I was talking to him after Becky went to sleep, like Grandma Mary said, and my mom was washing dishes, I could hear them clinking, and I was real quiet and when I asked God to please let me remember my spelling words for the test tomorrow, I had a thought in my head that I never thought and it said “I love you, Jessica.” 

And I for a second thought that my mom said it to me, because it was so quiet in the bedroom, and it was not me talking, but then I heard a pan clang in the sink way down the hall in the kitchen and so I knowd my mom was still way down there and I sat up really hard and looked at Becky, but she was really asleep, and my heart was beating loud, and I layed down again and I heard it again, “I love you, Jessica,” (and that’s my name) and I was scared and I almost yelled for my mom and then I thought about how nice it sounded, not like someone mean, saying I love you like that, and saying my name real nice, and I said, “Mr. God are you talking to me?” and then it was quiet and I listened and I listened and I don’t know if I heard anymore cause then I fell asleep. 

But then after that happened, and after school today I was outside and I was playing sardines with all the boys from the downstairs apartments and I was it and I ranned under a big bush by the clotheslines and hugged my knees and sat real still, and I could hear all those boys yelling and running in the parking lot, and for a long time they never came back where I was, and I was trying to be real still and quiet so they wouldn’t see me move, and I heard it again, and this time it said “I see you, Jessica.” and I knowed it was the same thing from the nightime voice, and I was going to answer it back but James yelled that he saw me and I forgot. 

And then the next time, I was in the lunch line at school, and Mr. Ferrero had turned off the lights because everyone was being too loud, and we had to wait for the fifth graders to leave so we were just standing and waiting and the same voice came in my head that said “I am speaking to you, Jessica, can you hear me?” and I said “Yes” and J.P. Fisher was standing in front of me and he turned around and said to me yes what?  and Mr. Ferrero said to us, “No talking, Mr. Fisher and Miss Freed.” and then we went to lunch. 

Jan. 22, 1987`

At Sunday School I told Carrie Anne that God was talking to me, and I thought she was gonna be excited because I finally can hear him like Abraham and Jonah and all the bible people, but she wasn’t excited at all, she said “Well I don’t know if God talks to people now that we have the Bible” and then afterwards she must have told my mom because my mom said not to think things like that, because God is busy doing lots of things and probably not talking to kids, but I have a video about a kid named Samuel who was laying down in bed and God called his name three times, and he got up and ran to the old guy that I think was his grandpa and the grandpa told him to lay down and say, “Speak, Lord,For Thy Servant Listens” and I remembered those words because I thought it was weird that you talk to God like you talk to a dog saying Speak, but anyway it was a kid, I remember that for sure. 

But I didn’t say that about the kid Samuel because my mom had a real bad mood and  tight lips aboutBecky spilling Hi-C on her new dress during Kids’ church and the Kid’s church lady saying Becky needed to stop acting like a heathen and Becky said what is a heathen and the lady said she had to sit out in the hall for being disrespectful and there is nothing mom is mad about more than being naughty at church. 

I don’t know why Becky is always so naughty at church. I learned right away that being good is what they want you to do at church. At school they want you to be smart or fast (in P.E.) or raise your hand right away but at church what they want is for you to say “Yes, ma’am” and sit up straight and cross your legs. All the girls who got dads with pastor shoes all wear white frilly socks and white shoes and since my mom got me them I know you can’t do anything like running outside with them on, you got to just stand still and talk quiet or sit with your feet together and color your paper all one way, not scribble-scrabble like a first grader. Also if you learn your memory verses, the teachers all like you real fast. 

But Becky don’t do none of that, she don’t even know where her white lace socks are and her shoes are always dirty cause she runs in the grass out by the parking lot with the boys, and she always is getting in trouble in class, like I don’t know what she does but all the time she is sitting in the hall on a chair when it’s time to get her from Sunday School, and two times now at Kid’s Church the man helper said “Why can’t you be good like your sister” which he means me, because I am always the best at Kid’s church.

But anyway, today is Thursday, and when I got to my Grandma Judy’s, I told her that God was talking to me, and she wasn’t mad at all, she listened to it and asked me questions and then she said, “Are you sure it was God?” and I asked who else could it be, and she said “There are all kinds of voices.” 

So when she was putting the frozen pizza in the oven, I went out back to get the laundry off the closeline like she said, but I waited and looked up at the clouds, and asked God if it was him or not, and I said those words like that Samuel said “Speak Lord For Thy Servant Listens” and I waited and at first there was only wind, and I could hear the TV on at the neighbors house, cause his window is open, and then I heard the voice again, real quiet, and it said, “Don’t be afraid, little one, for it is thy Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” And I don’t know what that means but I asked it to please be quiet if it was not God, when my Grandma said there are all kinds of voices I think that means there are bad voices and I do not want to be talking to them. 

Mar 26, 1987

My Grandma is sick. Not my Grandma Mary, my Grandma Judy- the one who is a witch. She has cancer in her lungs, my mom said it is because she used to smoke cigarettes, and I didn’t know she did that because she never lets my dad smoke when he is at her house. 

She is very sick and she was at the hospital all last week and I did not go there. I asked my mom if she is going to die and my mom did not say yes or no but she said that it would be a good thing to pray for her. 

I am going there today. 

I want to ask her about going to hell if you are a witch but I don’t want to make her sad thinking about going to die. I don’t want to ask my dad either because he is real sad- when I did not go to my Grandma Judy’s last week he came on Saturday and took me to Chuck E Cheese and he let me get a hundred tokens and a big cup for soda, and I made a suicide, which is when you fill up your cup with a little bit of every kind of soda, my friend Melissa told me about it at school but my mom never let me try it and it tastes okay but it was too fizzy because of the Mr. Pibb, which I don’t like because it’s spicy. 

And when we went I won a big rainbow color elephant that was hanging up above the prize counter, and it is so big, it is bigger than my pillows on my bed, and my dad let me buckle it in the middle buckle in his truck on the way home. 

But even though we went there (to Chuck E. Cheese) my dad was real sad and did not say a lot to me except we went to the grocery store and to the card section and he said I should find a nice card for my Grandma Judy and write a note inside. 

And mostly all there was was birthday cards, but I found one card with a bear on it that says “I miss you so much I can bearly stand it” and even though I seed my Grandma one week before, I still picked it out because it had a real cute bear on it holding a flower and she has two baskets of flowers on her porch which look like that so I knowd she would like it. 

And then I wrote a note inside that I said I love you and I hope you feel better soon. 

I wanted to write to her to believe in God and say the Come-into-my-heart prayer because what if she died before I saw her again? But she didn’t die (not yet) and I am going to see her today so maybe I can tell her today. I have a memory verse paper that I got from Children’s church and it says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” and I don’t know about if it is the right kind of verse to make you go to heaven but I don’t know if she has any bible verses at her house at all. 

God? If you are reading this right now, I wonder if you could make my Grandma say the Come-into-my-heart prayer because I think that my Grandma does not know that you have to do that or you go to hell. 

March 29, 1987

A lot of stuff happened. 

Last night when I was at my Grandma Judy’s, me and her was watching a movie and she was laying down on the couch because she said she was tired. It was a cartoon movie with a beautiful unicorn and I loved it until it got to a scary skeleton part that was creepy. And when the movie was all done, it was dark in the house because it had got dark when the movie was on, but we didn’t turn on the lights because of the movie. And my Grandma was asleep, and it was real quiet. And I all of a sudden got real scared, because the video player was making a clicking sound, and then it stopped and was just dark purple on the screen, and I was on the big chair with a blanket, but everything looked real dark black everywhere (like down the hall which I could see) and I whispered to my Grandma that the movie was over but she was real quiet. 

And then I started thinking about her dying and about witches and ghosts and things and I was wondering if she died right then on the couch and I was real scared, like all prickly all over and I heard something scratchy in the wall, and I said my grandma’s name again and she was still sleeping (only I didn’t know that she was just sleeping) and then I started to  feel all cold all over, and inside my mouth tasted real bad like how the metal slide at the playground tasted one time when I licked on it, and and I tried to say my Grandma’s name again but I couldn’t make any noise, I was only getting all hard and solid all over like as if I was about to fall through the inside of the chair but then  I heard God talking to me again, and he said 

“Don’t be afraid, I am with you.” 

And guess what? I yelled! Real loud I yelled JESUS JESUS HELP ME and all of a sudden, the light was on and my grandma was standing right in front of me, and she was shaking my shoulders and she said, “Jessie! You’re dreaming, Honey! Wake up! Are you having a bad dream?” 

And I started crying real bad and she hugged me and I told her that I was scared she was going to die and would go to hell and I didn’t want that to happen. 

Well then I guess she was real mad about that because after I went to bed (with the closet light on) I could hear her call my dad and he came over from his apartment. and And I wasn’t asleep or dreaming at all then, because I could hear them in the kitchen being real mad, even at each other, and saying all kinds of things about my mom and about Christians and I was so scared even more because I didn’t want my mom and my Grandma to be mad at each other even more! And I got upreal quiet and went into my grandma’s bedroom and called my mom tor tell her to come get me because the next morning was church morning and I thought maybe it would be better to go home at night when nobody was thinking about church. 

And my mom answered and I just told her that I watched a scary movie and that I wanted to go home, and she said “Where is your dad?” but I just heard the door shut to the outside so I said he was at his house, and she asked where was my grandma and I did not want to say that she was right there so I said that I did not know. 

And then she said “What! They left you alone?” And she said that she would be right there and she sounded mad TOO so I decided to get back in bed so my grandma did not know that I called, and it was quiet for a long time and I thought my mom was not coming, and I went to sleep, but I woke up again because my mom and my dad were outside in the front yard, and they were both yelling. 

I opened the window a little bit so I could hear because I thought they would both be mad at me cause I lied and cause I told my Grandma about hell. But they were not yelling about that. They were yelling about my mom said my dad is a deadbeat dad and leaving his daughter at his moms and my dad said that my mom was a bad word who has to stir up drama all the time. You know what I wish? I wish my mom and my dad were Carrie Anne and her boyfriend Josh because they are always nice and they do not yell at all. And I was thinking about how if they got married I could be their kid and maybe we would live in a house with a pool like Josh lives in, which I know because one time we went there when my mom went to a Tupperware party.  

And then my Grandma Judy all of a sudden made me jump because she looked in my door and said, “Honey, what are you doing awake? You don’t need to listen to that crap.” And she took me into her room and laid me in her bed and shut the door. 

And then she sat on the edge of the bed and she brushed my bangs with her fingers and I said, “I’m sorry for calling my mom.” And she looked real sad and said, “So that’s what happened.” And then she asked me if I wanted to go to my mom’s house, and I said no  because I love sleeping in my Grandma’s bed, and she has not let me since I was really little before Becky was born, and she tucked me in tight and kissed my head.

And then I asked her why everyone has to be mad all the time, and she said “I wish I knew.” 

But then she went out, and I know she was mad, too, because I could hear them all talking real angry even all the way in her bedroom. 

And the next morning when I woke up, I was in my bed at my mom’s. And Becky woke up and said “How did you get home? I dreamed you was home, Jessie.” 

And my mom was on the couch in the living room when I came out, and she said to me, “Come here and sit with me, Jessie.” And I thought she was going to be mad but she was real nice, nicer than she ever was, and I sat down in my nightgown and she put her arm around me and told me that I can’t talk about hell anymore when I go to my Grandma’s. And I shouldn’t be asking about the witch stuff, either, because it’s not for me to know about. 

And I said, “Well, at church they said we’re supposed to tell the world about Jesus,” and she said “That’s true, but sometimes people already know about him and don’t want anything to do with him.” But why wouldn’t anyone want to know about Jesus, I asked, because he loved the whole world. And she didn’t say anything to that but she told me that it just made a lot of bad feelings. 

We didn’t go to church that day, but my dad came over at lunch time and he brought me and Becky happy meals and he said he wanted to check that I was okay, and then Becky asked him to go to the playground, and he even said yes and he pushed us both on the swings and then he sat with my mom on the bench for a long time and they talked, and they weren’t mad at all. 

April 16, 1987

I guess  you would have thought that my mom and my grandma would be more mad about each other after that all but guess what. When it was time for my mom to pick me up from her house, my grandma came out to the car and was talking to my mom so long that my mom turned the car off instead of just driving away for us to go to church. And then Becky was fighting with me and so my mom said that we could get out for a little bit and go to the swings, and then the next thing I knowed, we were there so long we missed Sunday school altogether. 

April 29, 1987

Today my mom called my grandma on the phone and was talking to her in the kitchen, and not just about picking me up or anything, it was about something else and she was laughing. 

May 16, 1987

The weirdest thing of all, my mom is packing up our clothes and we are driving over there today because we are all going to stay there- not just me but mom and Becky, too. I asked her how come and if her and my dad were going to get back together and she said no, he was going to do a travel job for a few weeks so we were going to stay with Grandma Judy to take care of her (because she is sick now enough that she can’t even carry the laundry or drive anywhere.) 

May 17, 1987

We live at my Grandma’s now! My mom slept in my bed and me and Becky made a bed on the floor from a mattress. (We both share and Becky has not been wetting anymore so I don’t mind.) 

Grandma Judy is so sick though,, she had to go to the doctor today when I was at school and my mom had to take her. Also my grandma  had to take pills at the doctor that made her really sick and we have to be real quiet.

(The ending is live, just click here!)


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