Beyond the shadow of a doubt

    At nap time the sun would persist through the window diffused by one of those roller shades. You’re familiar with the type I’m sure. If you tug it gently, some kind of mechanical thing happens at the top of the window frame, and the shade rolls up.  As a five year old this used to fascinate me. Obviously being the hands-on-explorer that I was, I’d tugged it hard enough the force with which it will roll itself up would be extraordinary. The shade would flap flap flap against the top of the window frame and I would just laugh and laugh. This was typically followed by the redirection of a parent to the tune of what  was that, or don’t make me come up there. 

    This is back when I met him. It was definitely the Devil.  He was straight up chilling on my window sill behind my fun little window shade. 

 I know this is tough to wrap your mind around but there he was, meandering to and fro between the glass and vinyl. A taunting silhouette. 

    If I had been a more brave child I might have explored what was happening but no, not me. Me, I was scared as shit cowered in my bed head under the sheets and talking to God as if it mattered.

 This wasn’t my first talk with God. He was the one thing I was sure of, and I was just begging him, like a little bitch to make the Devil go away.

 This of course didn’t work and it became a daily nap time routine. Me in my bed crying like a baby and him, the Devil, pacing. 

This went on for weeks and that fucker drove me crazy. God wasn’t listening but instead just sort of watching, letting the Devil play his game. 

Finally I’d had enough.  There I was ignored and abused but oddly comfortable. No one was rushing in to save me and I realized I needed to save myself. 

I pulled all of my five year old anger and fear together into strength. And right there, standing on the edge of my bed I yelled at that thing in my window. “Go away!” It was simple but definitive and he stoped pacing.

 His cherub body was complete with a pointed tail and horns. He turned to face me, reached his tiny hand up, grabed a small handful of the shade, and pulled the damn thing out of the frame. 

The shade, crippled on the floor left the Devil and my fear fully exposed for the first time. 

What I saw was still just a shadow.

The sound of my mother coming up the steps ignited a sort of bravery in me, safety was near. 

I climbed off the bed and went straight for the door. Looking back, the Devil seemed to fade right before I heard mom say, “What was that?”

“What’s going on in here?” Mom was mad but that didn’t bother me. The elation of my safety was all I could feel. I ran to her, threw my arms around her legs and said, “The Devil did it.”

“What are you talking about?” She scaned the room and noticed the shade. “What did you do?” The anger just steamed off of her. 

“I didn’t do anything. It was the Devil.” 

“Stop saying that. Tell me the truth.” Obviously my mother didn’t believe me. As a punishment she draged me to the bathroom and put toothpaste on my tongue, “Until you can tell the truth.” 

Me being the kind of guy whose conviction is always intact; I stood there for what was most definitely half my life at the time.  

To this day I am certain without mistake that the Devil was taunting me and that God was maybe just testing me. 

I stood firm on my story and finally rinsed my mouth out before I was sent to bed. 


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