My young mind couldn’t fathom the thrashing
and jerking of the woman who seemed
to throw herself backwards against the floor.
We’d come to the video store to get movies
and a Nintendo game for my sister and I to pass
the weekend with. Momma, always so calm and easy,
led us away from the ruckus, never knowing
what was rolling around in my head.
“The devil’s done got her,” I thought,
“ain’t nobody that can save her now.”
Trying to occupy our minds so we wouldn’t see
any more of the devil taking that woman over,
Momma told us to pick out our movie and to stay
in the back of the store. But with curious eyes, I spied
through the shelved walls the EMTs rush in.
The woman, still shaking on the floor, had bloodied
the back of her head. Other customers, who’d been holding
her still, let go of her as people in blue uniforms took over.
I did not know if they were kind Christians, unwilling
to leave her with the devil, or if they were making sure
she’d go on to Hell. I couldn’t tell, and my time sitting
on the edge of pews, anxious to escape the red-faced swell
of Southern Baptist preaching, hadn’t given me
the know-how to judge the situation squarely.
Momma came and got us after the EMTs got the woman
up and aware. I figured God must have intervened
and given her another chance at righteous living.
Then we were told the woman had a seizure. As unholy
as that sounded, I didn’t know what to make of her future.
Able to tell we were confused by it all, our mother
explained on the ride back home just what a seizure is.
I sat there wondering why the woman hadn’t thought
to pray it all away. Next: I learned to question God.