Trying to figure out how to display insecurity/anxiety more realistically. This is the same scene from two different perspectives from two characters that have anxiety.
What do people think about me? My skirt is cute right? Suck in suck in. People will think, "she’s cute she’s enjoying her life," right? Alright, gonna walk up to the cashier and order my quarter moon latte. Gonna do that easily and not mess up my words and seem cool. Pretend to look at the menu like I don’t know what I want. Look around, not looking at my phone. Continue looking around, shit. It’s John and Carol again. I forgot they came in here on Sundays after church. Am I supposed to get out of line now to say hi? I can’t pretend I didn't see them. Maybe I can wave and then say I’ll come talk to them in a minute. I don’t want to talk to them in a minute, I don’t want to talk to them at all.
God. They are gonna talk about God aren’t they, pretend they’re better than me and invite me to their Bible study. They know I’m agnostic. Why do I even pretend for them? Well, I’m not pretending for them, I’m pretending for Dad, and for myself really, protecting myself from being yelled at in some way. I don’t wanna step on dad's toes. “Oh, Hayley, hi” John’s eyes light up and his voice boosts, way too loud, across the coffee shop, probably wants everyone to hear him, especially his church friends. I swallow. “This is our niece,” I see Carol nod in my direction. I can’t believe I’m related to these people. I swallow again. Guess I have to walk over there now. Then I'll have to get back in line awkwardly and everyone will see that I got out of line then I got back in line.
Why do we have to live in the same town? The Bibles sit on the table in front of them, symbols of their denial of reality. The denial of the cause of Noah’s death. It was not his time, he could’ve been saved. The image of my dad trying to swallow some air as he sat Cody and I down to tell us Noah had committed suicide.
I haven’t forgiven them.
And we are so different. Bet they haven’t done one bit of introspection in their lives. “Whatcha reading today?” John says in the most annoying baby voice he can muster. He’s not gonna be able to pronounce the author again is he? He’s gonna pretend to know what I’m reading. It’s not a fun game to play. We get it, John, you don’t read. Well, maybe he reads his Bible. That’s better than nothing, right? For a moment, I feel as though I have free free-will. Maybe I can say something like the Koran or something just to mess with him. I don't.
It’s so good to have a routine, to have these friends we can discuss the Lord with. I hope they don’t think I am a bad person. I am a bad person. May Jesus forgive me.
I think of my late son, Noah, and bile rises in my throat. What we are doing now, though, is finding forgiveness, from Jesus and from ourselves. Being good Christians, we might still get a chance at salvation.
Our niece, Hayley, just walked through the door. Wonder if she noticed us since we are in the back corner and she is looking up at that menu, so focused. It’s such a crowded Sunday here and I know I’m gonna have to speak up pretty loudly, I don’t want to scream. Seeing her reminds me of Noah. Most things still do. The last time I saw her was at family Christmas. She was nice then, her and Alexis actually got along for once. She got along with Noah so much better, all of the cousins used to play. People liked him more. It’s always the good ones that bad things happen to. The Devil visited our child, our poor boy.
I felt frozen, so I coughed a little, clearing the bile out of my throat. I perk up, preparing to call out, but my husband does first. “Oh, Hayley, hi,” he says, loud enough to get her attention away from the menu. She smiles and walks over. Cute skirt. She always looks so put together, much better than our children. “This is our niece,” I say as sweetly as I can. Do I want them to meet her? It seems like she went to church this morning. Good. No questions will be asked of us of why there's sin in our family. There’s a lull in the conversation as Hayley continues to smile and John breaks the silence by asking, “whatcha reading today?” Good, I thought I’d have to ask about her day.