Whatever Deanna Fuentes Saw
Going to her room to study her lessons meant that she had to take the main door out into the courtyard and head back towards the dormitory. The problem Deanna Fuentes had to face was the heavy front doors. The clang of metal on the floor was one of the most earsplitting sounds that Deanna ever heard. Everyone who used that door left clutching their ears, and the only exception was Sister Mary Ambers. She was almost deaf and when she had hallway duties she stood by those doors with a satisfying expression on her face.
Deanna Fuentes wanted to ask Father Anthony Marco if she could use the side fire entrance instead of the front doors. She went to his office and her dark eyes widened when she saw something most disturbing and unsettling. She stared horrified and said excuse me through teeth that were clenched in an uncomfortable smile.
“I didn’t see anything,” she half whispered as she ran out of the office.
Deanna wasn’t really paying any attention to where she was going. Instead she just barreled down the hallway, her arms pumping, her thoughts racing. The students standing by their lockers pointed and snickered as she passed them. She was almost thankful for that, because for a moment it took her mind off of what she saw in that office.
Suddenly vice Principle Sister Agnes Simon was in front of her, and Deanna almost bumped into her. She had exited from her office as if she was shot out from a cannon. If she had been remotely interested in telling anyone what she saw Deanna would have noticed her. Instead she said with urgency, “sorry Sister Simon,” and started to continue down the hall.
“No! Ms Fuentes,” She grabbed her by the arm with such force that Deanna thought it might have been wrenched from the socket. She was grabbing her like a life preserver. “Ms Fuentes, wait!”
Deanna stopped pulling and stood directly in front of Sister Simon.
“Why are you running down the corridor?” she asked slowly. She circled Deanna, her hands draped behind her back. “I don’t like running in the hallways. What were you running from?”
Deanna Fuentes looked at a poster on the wall next to a row of lockers and in that poster were three Jesus Christ figures on crosses. The first Christ was covering his eyes. The second Christ was covering his ears, and the third was covering his mouth.
“Something made you storm down these halls,” added Sister Simon.
Deanna felt her heart sinking. She looked at her fingers and then back at Sister Simon. “I wasn’t running.”
With a forced demeanor of casualness Sister Simon smiled at Deanna and said, “don’t lie to me. You almost bowled me over like a bowling pin.”
Lies kept tripping over each other one by one. “I was late for class.”
“Classes were over hours ago.”
“You passed three of them.”
“My ass was on fire, I don’t know why I was running!” She half screamed as she felt her arms and legs weakening.
Sister Simon shifted uncomfortably and then moved closer to Deanna until her nose was touching Deanna’s cheek. “Don’t you ever swear in front of me again. God doesn’t like the evil that we do. You lied and swore, so now I want you to go to your room and write down I will never lie and swear a hundred times and bring it back to me tomorrow morning. Am I understood?”
Deanna Fuentes stared at Sister Simon for only a moment and in her mind righteousness spilled over into self righteousness. She wondered if religion was blind or naïve. These little mental skirmishes were becoming outright battles. The truth behind religion ricocheted off the corridor walls and the innocence of her childhood had been snatched away just like that. Although she could have told Sister Simon what she saw, she didn’t. The strength in her arms and legs were starting to return, but nothing seemed to be interested in functioning.
“A hundred times?”
Deanna Fuentes turned and looked back at Father Marco’s office and saw the peacefulness of a closed door. There was mute nodding from other students all around. Some of the students still had that childhood innocence staining their faces. It was a gift and no one should ever snatch it away.
“Sister Simon,” she paused.
“Can we go into your office, I want to tell you why I was running and what I saw,” she said without somber. “And if you won’t believe me, then you and this whole religion can go straight to hell!”
© 2013 Frank Atanacio
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