I wriggle my way through the dark earthen tunnel. Little roots, probably those of dandelions, tickle my face like coarse living hairs. The truth is that I had been warned against sticking my hands into holes dug in the ground. On the school yard, we children dug through the sand until we reached a layer of Indian clay. It would have been very fun to dig up some of this stuff and play with it, but it was rumored that hell lay just beneath that layer of clay, so when its ruddy hues could be seen, all digging stopped. I was never one to push my luck when it came to frightful mystical warnings.
My sister and some other girls from the neighborhood went into the bathroom to call Bloody Mary, locking the door behind them. They would turn down the lights and turn in circles chanting her name and then face the mirror to see if it would reflect her gruesome face. I would not go in. I stood outside pounding on the door begging them to stop, hot tears streaming down my full young cheeks.
She was my younger sister. I was the elder. I had been sent to a Christian pre-school so that something of human spirituality could be imparted to me without my parents having to confess their own ignorance, their own fear and confusion.
My father did not believe in the Christian story of Genesis. He held that a race of Alien beings, called the Annunaki, had come to this planet in search of gold which played a crucial role in their technology. They used their advanced understanding of genetics to engineer mankind by synthesizing their own DNA with the DNA of the apes that already inhabited this world. We were created to do the dirty work, the mining of that much needed gold. Despite this idea, my father was strangely superstitious. Despite this idea, he sent me to a Christian school.
My mother had never read the Bible. She had scarcely ever been in a church and certainly had not been in one since marrying my father. They were married by a judge in the town hall. My mother wore a blue dress. She told me that if anyone asked me what religion we were I was to answer that we were Christians. If they asked which church we attended, I was to say that we studied the bible at home. We did no such thing.
My sister did not attend the Christian School for more than a week. She hit the other children and was sent to sit to the picnic benches with her head down. I, being a good Christian quite naturally, sat with her with my own head down although I had done no wrong.
So you can see that crawling down dark earthen tunnels represents a dramatic change in course. Otherwise, the first line might be that I am building a flying machine to join the choir of angels that sings gods praise and makes it rain when they weep over the sins of mankind. I have gone through a sort of metamorphosis to be wriggling through here today.
I will be honest with you and explain that it is not that I have rejected all that I learned at that tender age. It is that I embraced it more deeply than others. I let the truth dig down into my heart like a shard from a broken mirror. There it sits keeping a space for me to reflect on the nature of my existence as a human animal.
Spirituality is an affliction from which I suffer where no other member of my family does. It is very strange that a choice that they made for me has set me so far apart from them. As an ostracized member of my own family, I am on my way to visit a man who found that his kin felt one way and he felt another. They rule the seen and he guards the hidden chamber at the heart of existence, endlessly polishing the mirror fragment that lodged itself there as it has within me. This is what makes him “otherwise” than they. This is how it is that we are two of a kind.
While Red Riding Hood is delivering a basket of goodies to her grandmother, I am inching down past the Indian clay with a basket of biscuits for El Diablo.