I watched as Pucker my goldfish swam around and around in his little glass world seemingly content to be in full view. I wondered if goldfish ever want to hide from glaring eyes that penetrate their privacy. I wished I could hide, but like Pucker, my world was transparent.
It wasnít my fault! I had no choice about being born into a ministerís family. God did it and I wished He hadnít. I wanted to be out of the glare of public opinion. Where do you go to hide when everyone sees and knows everything about you?
These are questions I asked as a teenager, but I never got answers. My dad didnít like discussing it. He said it was part of our life and it was best to accept what couldnít be changed. People are just people he would say with a shrug of his shoulders.
Yeah just people, mean spirited, nosy and criticalóneed I say more? When I was young, I felt the people were more important to Dad than I was. He worked very hard. Many nights I was home alone because he was with one of the people. Someone went to the hospital, someone died, or someone needed to talk to him. I was lonely, but the people needed him.
Dad liked being busy. It kept him from thinking about Mom. She left when I was nine and we never heard from her again. Early on, I heard my dad cry in the darkness when he thought I was asleep. He hired detectives, but they couldnít find her. After some time Dad didnít cry anymore, he worked and worked.
I worked too. When I was 12, I could cook, do the laundry, press Dadís clothes even his preaching clothes. I kept the house clean, and I hoped Dad would notice me. He rarely did. I went through changes that girls go through without a Mother to talk to. Dad was mortified when I told him I needed feminine products. After the first time, he made sure I had money so I could tend to things myself.
The ladies at church felt it was their duty to take me in hand and make sure I dressed appropriately since my dad was the minister. I hated the clothes they picked out for me. I hated the way they talked to me like I was some kinda nitwit. But there was one lady I liked a lot, and when she asked me to go shopping I jumped at the chance.
Her name was Sable. She was pretty and I loved her clothes. Her hat always matched her suit and she wore the prettiest shoes. I soon realized the other ladies didnít like Sable. I didnít care what they thought, I liked her. She treated me nice and she sewed clothes just for me. I felt like a princess when I wore the dresses Sable made.
When I turned 16, Dad decided I needed a job besides all the work at home. He talked to Sable and she gave me an after school job at her sewing room. I was happy to work for Sable. She even let me do my homework while I was helping her. I got paid every Friday and the first thing I did was buy new fabric for Sable to sew a new dress for me.
I worked for Sable all day during the summer when I was 16. It was a happy time for me. She took me places and I met her friends. There was a nice boy, Marco who was the son of Sableís friend. I liked him right away and to my surprise, Marco liked me.
Thatís when my life totally turned into a transparent globe with everyone peering in. The people mostly nosy old ladies decided Sable was a bad influence and ran her out of the church. Dad stood by and let it happen. I no longer had a job. I no longer had Sable, and I couldnít see Marco anymore.
From that point until I left for college, I was watched, reported on, and criticized for just about everything I did.
Oh Pucker, donít you ever get tired of swimming around in circles where everyone can see you? Poor little creature, itís all he knows.
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