It was raining that night but not enough to really cast a shadow over anything and we walked calmly to that huge churchy building that we hadn't gone to yet. It was sort of away from the rest of the campus we were staying at for our retreat, and spooky enough that we hadn't found the courage to explore. It was dark out, it was probably 10? I wasn't keeping track of time well, the whole day had seemed so surreal. When we walked in and turned on the lights it was just empty. A big old dancing hall out of use and creaky. John started laying out a long rope completely cutting the room in half vertically. We were confused and apprehensive, they had warned us that this workshop would be intense. We went over guidelines and then the game started.
If you are white. If you are black. If you are Christian. If you are jewish. If you are muslim. If you are some other faith. If you have experienced poverty. If you have experienced hunger. If you have not. If you have been a victim of physical violence. If you have a family member who has passed away. If you have thought about suicide. If you have tried to commit suicide. If a friend commited suicide. If a friend passed away. If you like Science. If you like math. If you like languages. If you like English. If you like History. If you were born out of state. If you have lived in the same house all your life. If you have moved. If you have been out of the state. If you were born out of country. If you have been out of country. For each continuing sentence you were supposed to cross the line and show how much you agreed with each sentence. If it resonated a lot with you you could go all the way to the wall or you could back up to the opposite wall if it didn't apply to you at all.
The sentences went on and on and on and we just walked silently from side to side. I bit my necklace. The special one and it gave me courage to hold back tears as I pushed against invisible walls that held me back. I could hear his voice and feel him there behind me and I could see all those boys next to me and I could feel that other ones lips and another ones hands. I could remember tears and I could remember hunger and I could remember shame. I could remember secrets that were never ever told because they were his secrets to tell not mine. I could remember all the things unsaid and all the anger in their blood dripping into rich white carpets. I could remember all the walls stained with knuckles. I could remember floors stained with sin. I could feel cuts reopen and I could feel my mind bleed for release. I could remember culture telling me to wear prettiness like a drug and blind myself with happiness. I could remember poverty and hunger and rich chocolates and skinned knees. And most of all I felt so many hands of so many different boys clasping around my neck and pushing my necklace into fair Portuguese skin and I could remember breathing like it was the best thing in the world when they let go and I could remember why it was that it always happened and I wanted to drive my body into the walls that were stabbed with nails because someone didn't take time to make them well enough. But my walls were slowly collapsing as I slammed them with my fists.
And then it was over and we sat in a circle on the floor and I couldn't speak I was silent to the point of not breathing. My necklace fell out of my mouth and I began to sob. Matt put his hand on my back and I shook violently and we left and in the misty cold freezing rain I cried and I screamed and I made those fucking glass walls crumble. Crumble into broken bones and broken breaths.
And we were not
pure or innocent or clean. We were dirty tired souls. But for once we