by Purple Snowstorm


My pencil scratched words across a thin, blue-and-red-lined piece of paper as I had my eyes on another white printer page, ink words about a Jewish poet from the crusades written across it. I had basically been answering the questions as they came, not paying much attention to what I read, until I came across a small piece of information that caught my attention.

"...Jews would kill themselves and their families rather than abandon their religious ways or be killed by the Christians..."

My jaw dropped. I, as a Christian, was brought up thinking all religions had their own rights, and that we had mostly lived in peace, only killing when necessary. I had known only the other religions to start the wars. Teardrops stung my eyes as my hand limply scrawled the last few words of the answer to the last question, my mind somewhere else. I felt betrayed. Betrayed by my own religion. I felt as if my whole being had been torn in half. I felt like one of the Jews that had killed themselves, or one of the innocent Muslims fighting for their city.

I thought my eyes had to be deceiving me, because there was no way in any world that Christians had done such a thing. The twenty thousand Muslims they killed to reclaim Jerusalem was bad enough, but...slaughtering innocent Jews was too much for me to handle. My pencil hung suspended in midair, my hand seemingly paralyzed.

So many things were racing through my head. The whole time, my eyes were threatening to let loose all the tears they contained. I felt as if I couldn't move out of the shock and the sadness. Everything was flashing through my head, though all I felt was a numb pain, like someone was stabbing at my chest with a butter knife. One thing came to mind, what my mom had said a month before, when I began telling her about our new unit in history, the Middle Ages, the early Middle Ages, the Crusades...

My mom smiled darkly, sadly, when I mentioned the word. "Those were not bright times for the Christians, hon," she said softly.

I, not knowing exactly what happened in those dark times, said, "Well, they were fighting for a cause."

The only response was a sad smile in my direction, like I didn't know at all what I was talking about.

And I didn't.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to scrawl my emotions on the paper. The first thing that went through my head when I thought about writing an opinion? If I would get extra credit or get marked down. My eyes were stinging, but, though I tried to let the tears loose, nothing came out. I knew I couldn't cry in class. All that came out was a dry, stifled sob that I knew no one heard. Deciding against writing the opinion, I went back to work, standing up numbly to return the borrowed biography on the poor Jewish writer who had suffered much worse than what I was feeling at that moment.

(Note: This whole story was from my point of view. This happened to me. This was my reaction to it. I needed to let it out somewhere. I wanted to write it on the paper where I had written the questions, but I knew I wasn't supposed to.)