(c) Jane Hertenstein
When I was fifteen a prophet came to my church. What I really wanted was for her to speak over me, a laying on of hands. She preached and then issued an invitation for us to meet her at the altar.
The future was a yawning black hole, I could see no hope. All I needed was to know. Was I loved? Why do I feel so worthless? Are there other people out there like me?
The prophet clapped her hands over a woman who fell out in the aisle, her skirt riding up revealing her lardy thighs. Slain by the Holy Spirit. Praise God!
I felt Jesus knocking on the door of my heart. Tell me, I silently begged. Where did my dad go when he left me and my mom? Will my baby sister from Mom’s new marriage, will she be okay? She was born with a bowel obstruction and at only five days old the doctors had performed surgery to shorten her small intestine. She’s still small by comparison to other three-year olds.
A thin young man came forward and, after prayer, he vomited up a demon. Hallelujah!
Tears brimmed in my eyes. I was so afraid. Will I make the cross country team? Will the squad leader ever stop calling me a fag? And, that time in the locker room when the guys hid my clothes while I was taking a shower, does the universe ever even things out?
I stood on quivering legs. I needed a blessing, faith abounding, a heart for God. The prophet laid her hand upon my sweaty forehead and spoke in tongues. She came on a Honda, she came onaHonda, shecameonaHonda. My soul cried out. Yes, Lord Jesus!
That night the prophet didn’t have any answers. After a few seconds she went on to the next person. The pastor had wheeled a lady in a wheelchair to the front. They anointed her with oil.
In the parking lot I looked up at the sky and felt darkness pressing all around. It would be a few more years before I stopped being afraid.
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Jane Hertenstein’s current obsession is flash. She is the author of over 70 published stories, a combination of fiction, creative non-fiction, and blurred genre both micro and macro. In addition she has published a YA novel, Beyond Paradise and a non-fiction project, Orphan Girl: The Memoir of a Chicago Bag Lady, which garnered national reviews. Jane is the recipient of a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in: Hunger Mountain, Rosebud, Word Riot, Flashquake, Fiction Fix, Frostwriting, and several themed anthologies.
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