by Whisper Rain
Whisper ran outside, down the slope, and into a tangle of trees. She sat down in the grass, in shock. It was kind of a blur, what had happened just now in the house… something that had never happened before in her sixteen years of life. It was joked about maybe, but never for real… but this… this was dead serious.
Her parents used to feel kind of sorry for her friends who lived their lives inside a rigid cage of rules. The Rains didn’t operate that way! Whisper’s parents were her friends! But the way she had just been talked to in that house felt anything but friendly… it felt demeaning.
Denny Kenaston’s archaic chatter about “modesty” and “submission,” and warnings about “harlotry” had sounded so silly and harmless coming out of the stereo… but when it was rephrased into new rules… into new expectations for her behavior, those words were like weapons. The amount of pain they inflicted surprised her. They suggested that her individuality was evil… that her preferences were rebellious… that her independence was ungodly. She was furious. She knew she had blown up- she had shouted at her parents. She had probably sworn at them, and she knew she had slammed the door on her way out. Her heart pounded and her eyes burned… she wanted to go anywhere… anywhere but back into that house.
She looked down at her jeans. She had saved up money and bought them herself. She didn’t have very many pairs, but they were cute and flattering, and she lived in them. Whisper knew that when she stood up and went back into the house, she was expected to go straight to her room and replace them with a long, frumpy denim skirt. The thought made her sick. If she were really a “godly daughter” according to those horrible tapes, she’d probably give away her jeans. Or even throw them away so that she wouldn’t “allow another young lady to dress immodestly”… Whisper groaned. This whole thing felt embarrassingly ridiculous. Obviously she wasn’t very godly. She curled up on the ground and stayed there for a long time. It got dark.
Eventually, Whisper dragged herself up off the ground and walked back up to the house. She stared at the bright windows. Her house was beautiful. Her family was fun… maybe… maybe it wasn’t such a big deal. Maybe her parents hadn’t meant it the way that it came across. Maybe she should just wear a stupid skirt for awhile out of respect for her Dad, and the whole thing would blow over.
Something inside of her wanted to turn around and walk away that night. She remembered her aunt jokingly telling her that if she ever needed to run away, she was welcome at her house. It was tempting… just walk a couple miles to a neighbor’s and make the phone call… Whisper jerked herself back to reality and slowly walked back into the house. She carefully folded her jeans and put them away… and then she went to bed.
In the morning, she put on a skirt. Her parents smiled at her, and she fake smiled back.
On the inside, she was seething. The “discussion” didn’t come up again. Life went on. Whisper’s anger built up… it was always there. She felt like a volcano, barely under control. She loved her parents… she didn’t want to hurt them. She knew they meant well. But she also knew that, inevitably… one day it would all be too much.
Her CD collection was the next target. Whisper blew up. More bible-y sounding quotes. More shouting and cursing. She held on to those CDs like her life depended on it, and finally a compromise was reached. She was not allowed to play them (or the radio) on the sound system in the living room anymore, but she could listen to them in her room, or on headphones. She felt a tiny sense of victory. She had a place to go when the big stereo was pumping out the latest arrival from Charity Tape Ministry.
While all this was going on, Angelica Dietz still faithfully wrote letters to Whisper. However, the attack on Whisper’s music had come partly from something that Angelica believed, that there was something satanic about the rhythm of rock/pop music. Angelica gave Whisper a book explaining the “slippery slope” of how listening to rock music led young people down the road to doing drugs and getting involved in the occult. Whisper was disgusted, and didn’t bother to hide it in her letters back to Angelica.
One day she got a letter from Angelica in the mail and opened it with a hint of perverse curiosity to see how this “godly young lady” would respond to Whisper’s latest account, which she had baited with a story of how she had sneaked out to see a boy her parents didn’t like. Admittedly, nothing happened, but Whisper left that part out.
Angelica’s letter only addressed Whisper’s story with one sentence, sandwiched in between news about her family’s garden and her latest craft project. “Whisper, are you saved?”