Chapter two

“I was born in sin and shaped in iniquity…”

What did that even mean? To me, it wasn’t stealing. I had just put the hundred dollar bill in my purse since I would see that same kind of money coming out of one belonging to my mom. I was learning how to grow up. A grown up had cash in her purse. A woman also had cosmetics and a mirror. Why not? I did not want to wear my pretty white purse just to church. No one I knew was there. The children there did not care to know me either. Why get something so pretty for no one to see? Who taught me to be vain at 6?

My teacher Mrs. John couldn’t help but notice the excitement, especially from the girls at my table in first grade who were gasping at the sight of my new things. She may have turned a blind eye had I not oozed out the crisp money bill. Hard cash. Where did she get that from, my teacher must have thought. Sooner than later, my mom showed up, because for the rest of the time all I could see was my bag hanging from the coat section off limits to me. I was in deep trouble. I believed that I would return all the things I had ‘stolen’ because it belonged to my mother and I knew where I took them from. It was the robbery of cold cash that got my teacher angry. For my mom — all of it. She had told me not to touch my purse and hid it on the top shelf in the closet. I pulled up a chair to reach that thing. I was indeed sneaky with it, hiding the white handbag in my backpack. Hiding? Who taught me to do that?

At the time, my conscience was just developing so it could not yet be seared. The time was ripe for punishment/consequences. That’s the only way I’d learn that what I did was wrong.

The pastor I barely knew, but using a strong grip on his hands, I couldn’t afford to let him drown me. Not in the sea of forgetfulness. I only wanted my sins washed away.

Water all I could hear was water. Dunking me backwards was not a good idea, but it had to be done if I wanted to be baptized. It had to be done if I wanted to be clean. Some may say that was a year to remember, but on that day, I wanted to forget.

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