Everything seemed perfect. Maybe too perfect. You could blame it on my naivety. Maybe through some childlike wonder. I used to think things were happier then. I used to feel like my family was together, like nothing could tear us apart. Laughter filled the house, we would tell jokes, play games. The fun was never ending. I remember when my brother Andrien and I would stay up half the night and listen to records, just the two of us. We would think about the endless wonders of the world. We would get lost in the music. We would tell stories of different scenarios, these characters that we made up in our minds. How they would get themselves in predicaments and how they would prevail. Sometimes we would mock their voices or reenact their scenes. Even if our parents thought it weird, we knew we could understand each other. As if we were in our own world. The world seemed a lot less scarier with Adrien around, I felt like I could do anything. It's as if he built me to be ten feet higher than I actually was. It was simpler times, nothing between us. Nothing could stop us. We were happy. So, what happened? I wonder over and over again. How could he leave me? How could he just go away so suddenly. It was as if he were dead. “Adrien Beckwith is no longer one of Jehovah’s witnesses.” Those were the words any witness wanted to hear. This was as close as you could get to a death sentence. It meant that any contact and any mention of that person would cease to exist. It was as if they never existed in your life. The calls, the laughter, everything that made us family, gone. This was our life now, Jehovah above all. I didn’t even bother to hear the announcement, I waited in the car and cried. I loved my brother Adrien more than anything. I buried my head further into my hands, hoping that they would absorb my tears and make me feel whole again. Maybe to give me some sort of comfort. My big brother was another victim of the world. The only hope for him was to repent or to come back and accept Jehovah’s help. To be forgiven. Our family of five was now four. Our house of laughter seems broken. It was like a huge elephant was in the room. Like something was barely holding us together. I could tell this tore my parents apart. This was something that wasn’t supposed to happen. The well respected congregation elder, or authority figure, someone who did for others, heard their problems and who protected the congregation. My father. The good christian wife, meek and submissive. My mother. Then the three upstanding witness children, obedient, pioneered or like missionaries. We were the examples of our congregation. The need to be perfect was always there. To uphold our standing. My brother Adrien was a very well respected brother in our hall or place of worship. He always did what he was told. Pioneered, Helped out in the hall, and made an outstanding effort. He was on his way to Bethel(our headquarters where people volunteered).He was on his way. Then of course my brother Atoine, he is the walking Bible. Nothing can go unnoticed around him. Everything he does has to be in line with scripture. He’s not as down to earth as Adrien is. He’s also seen as an example in our congregation. Sometimes I wonder what toll Adrien’s departure will have on him. It seems as though he has already moved on. To try to forget. Then there’s me, the youngest and only girl. The one that sets a fine example for christian sisters. At least that’s how they put it in our congregation. I am a pioneer, I have prgressive spiritual goals(progressing in the organization), I am mild mannered, I try my best to please my parents and people in our congregation. Never a complaint, never a single mutter. Perfect. And to top it off, I have the wonderful spiritual man my parents adore, although we’ve only been dating for a year, Lionel seems set to spend eternity with me. So, if everything was so perfect, why do I feel like I am drowning. The world that was so beautiful as a child, seemed to just turn on me. The colorful wonder of a child, diminished in gray. The world that my brother and I built, erased with reality. The pain of growing up, the constant changing of times. Things that were perfect back then, were now filled with sorrow and a bleakness that suffocated the memories we had. The people around me who once were my source of comfort, their faces seemed distorted. The smiles they carried seemed as if they were plastered on their faces. Their words, once empathetic, felt rehearsed. Everything around me seemed fake. It feels like I am in a different world, trying to claw my way out. I feel like I am in a cage, and without Adrien, I feel lost. I feel like I am just floating here waiting for the end. I long for those days, the days when everything was so happy, and simple. I wish I could bring him back. I wish I could give him a hug and beg him not to leave. I wish I had control. But I don't. I don't know if I will ever see him again, but it hurts. Maybe my family can forget, but I can't. I see everything differently now. What if this all isn't true. What if everything we were taught wasn't real. If he could be discarded like nothing, then how? Or was he not good enough? I don't know, the more I wonder, the more it hurts. The more I realize that maybe things aren't what they seem. Maybe there's another life out there that I never knew. The world, a world that was viewed with disdain. That world seemed more appealing, more hopeful, and meaningful. The forbidden life, the life of freedom, seemed better than this. Where do I go from here?