Christian Coming of Age Inspirational

Warrior Woman By Karen Lankford-Carnes

Dorcas hated everything about her life. “Why would you ever name your child Dorcas?!!! It’s cruel!” “Honey, it’s from the Bible.” “Well so is Nimrod! Good thing you didn’t have twins! Honestly! Great idea. ‘I wanted a perfect baby instead of a crippled one, so I’ll name her Dork-Ass!’” “Now stop it! It means gazelle”. “They don’t know that. If you wanted to name me gazelle you should have just named me gazelle. Then they could have called me ‘Guzzle’ instead.” “'I don’t like you swearing like that.” “Swear…? Oh, because I said ass? Guess what else is in the Bible, mom?” “Who do you mean ‘they’? You said ‘they don’t know that’, who’s ‘they’? Those kids from school?” Dorcas was getting angry. “Those kids. Those kids. Yeah, ‘those kids’. The normal ones with normal names, normal friends, and normal lives. ‘Those kids’ who don’t use an elevator to get on the bus. Those ones who run around my wheelchair calling me ‘dork-ass the crip’. Those ones.” “Tell me who they are,” Dorcas’ mother demanded. “I will NOT!” came the reply. In the safety of her room, Dorcas sobbed openly. She had locked the door behind her because she knew her mother would hear her crying and try to come in. And here she came now. “Dorcas! Unlock this door!” “God, mom! Don’t you know when to stop?!” Her mother, having finally gotten the idea, walked away. “Oh I don’t know what to do with her, Jacob. I can’t do anything right.” “We knew this might happen. She’s a teenager. If we would have named her Mary, she would be angry that we gave her such a common name...like you were with your parents, right?” Mary laughed and wiped her own tears away. She does need some space,maybe a little breathing room. We’ll have to watch her closely these next couple of years. It seemed that 2 they were hearing more and more incidences of playground bullying linked to suicide. As if her daughter hadn’t suffered enough, physically, from birth. Lately, it’s been manifested in emotional outbursts. Meanwhile, in her room by herself, Dorcas found her one and only refuge. To add to the soothing nature of solitude, she had a collection of snacks and various soft drinks in the little refrigerator in her room. Boasting a state of the art television, dvd player, tons of movies and music, music, music, her room was a paradoxical oasis for Dorcas. She wanted a guitar, too, but her hands wouldn’t...they just wouldn’t. She loved to sing though and she didn’t think she was really half bad. She hated the games. She didn’t used to hate them, but when Dorcas got frustrated trying to play one of the trickier ones, her mom started to make her play. It was good therapy for her hands, she said. Mom said. Not the therapist. Maybe that’s why she didn’t push too hard for the guitar. I don’t know why I always get so mad at mom. I feel like I hate her sometimes. Between mom’s pity-yeah I can see it right there on your face-and dad’s “it could be so much worse”pep talks, please, both of you, give me an effing break. I declare it an official movie night! One or two, or four. No school tomorrow! Dorcas’ favorites were the action movies where the women did all the asskicking, they saved the day and didn’t let the bad guys get away. They helped the ones that needed help. Those ones were always the easiest to pick on. They weren’t weak, they were just in a different circumstance than some others who never got picked on. This first one is her favorite. She’s so cool, and gosh, maybe I could grow my hair… “Dorcas! Open the door!” “Mom, no, mom! I JUST started a movie! Dang it mom! Hey, do you think maybe I could grow my hair out?” “Oh no, it would just be more trouble to wash, when I’m bathing you…” “FUCK IT! IT’s MY HAIR!!!” “Dorcas! Stop that language!” Dorcas slowly 3 opened the door, calming herself. “Mother, our case worker told us that when I’m ready to have a different care-giver, I can get one. I’m ready. You're fired.” She closed the door with her mother knocking and yelling from behind the door. Now where did I put those sound-canceling headphones? Dorcas laughed when she thought about her words to her mother. She didn’t laugh when she remembered the words that she’d heard. “Just be more trouble…” That’s right. ‘More trouble…’ maybe I do hate her. Of course I wouldn’t have picked up on it as a child. Hell, I don’t care if a man comes to ‘bathe’ me now, with my long hair. Mom would freak out. I probably would, too. Done, done with this for tonight. Dorcas stayed up till early the next morning, not giving in until the last cheese cracker had been eaten, the last bad guy, bloodied. The weekend was quiet. Nobody so much as looked at her until Sunday, and that was when she was supposed to pull a Tiny Tim and listen to the “aws” when they stared at her. “Not this week.” She said, determined. “ Yes. This week.” her father replied. “At least if you’re so determined to be on your own, we’re going to take you to church while you’re still with us.” “Whatever.” Dorcas fairly slept throughout the service, and did her best to act her age, she was fifteen after all. “C’mon, Doc, let’s go get a sundae, I want to give you a little ‘pep talk’.” Dorcas rolled her eyes, but nodded ‘yes’. Her dad didn’t get on her nerves nearly as much as her mother. She liked his nickname for her, too. He’s always called her “Doc.” Dorcas was actually some long dead relative on mom’s side. “Tell me, hon, can you just think of ONE person who has had it worse than you?” “Dad, if you’re gonna compare me to Jesus again…” “No, someone that you go to school with? Anyone with no parents? Anyone who has a different type of situation than you, but just not as visible?” Dorcas' eyes filled with tears. “Dad, I heard her. I hear her all the time.” “Who? Your 4 mother? What do you hear? What do you think you hear?” “Friday, she did it twice!” “What, hon?” Dorcas was tired of pretending she didn’t hear, so she told her father. “Dad, she’s always talking about how much trouble it is to take care of me and how I’m more of a problem and she doesn’t know what to do with me.” She stopped, she didn’t want to be seen crying in public. Again. Looking shocked, her father tried to explain. “Doc, oh, no, honey. These are things that have been misunderstood, sweetheart. I understood what you heard, but I also understand why it was said. No, your mother has always and will always cherish you. You’ve been nothing but a blessing to us. You answered our prayers!” “Yeah. Whatever.” “Hold on. This, this brand new attitude is disrespectful. You realize that, yes?” “Yeah I do, dad.” “You want to try to reign it in some?” “Can I change my name?” asked Dorcas. “Would it make you a different person?”her dad answered. “How about when you're eighteen?” Dorcas said “I thought it was worth a shot.” she smiled at her dad. `When they got home she apologized to her mother and they spoke of attempting things that would help Dorcas be more independent. They even talked about chores and getting a checking account for Dorcas. Mary would help Dorcas care for the longer hair, she even knew how to do a French braid! They agreed that her mother needed time as well as Dorcas, and both would seek other arrangements for transportation. Since she had stayed up too late for two nights and ate too much unhealthy food, Dorcas felt ill, but mostly sleepy. She went to bed at six o’clock in the evening and slept straight through the night. When her mother woke her up at seven o’clock Dorcas said, “Alarm clock.” “What’s that?” “That’s one thing I can do myself. Use my phone as an alarm clock. You don’t have to get up to get me up.” “And you can just keep hitting snooze till the alarm turns itself off.” her mom 5 laughed. “Yeah, you’re right.” They both were laughing when Mary transferred Dorcas to her wheelchair. Bathed, dressed and breakfast, like clockwork, because it was. When it was time to say goodbye, they waited by the curb for the bus. “Mom?” “Yes, honey?” “You’ve got this whole thing down. Thank you for taking such good care of me. You’re a badass.” Mary laughed and said “I hope that’s a good thing.” Dorcas replied, “In my world, it’s an incredibly good thing. Hey, I’m hiring, are you interested?” “ I just might be,” said Mary. “Great, stop by around four and we can work out the deets.” Mary smiled and said, “Whatever.” The End 

August 12, 2021 08:56

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