She first found sin in the bathroom stall, scribbled in dirty blue and black ink. The words were familiar although not overwhelming enough to turn her attention away from the printed pages and imitated stained glass. She had her prayers memorized, asking for a bigger bedroom and a baby brother routinely every night before bed. Sometimes she would talk to Jesus out loud as if he were sitting in the rocking chair next to her dresser, or tiredly scrubbing the dust and dead mosquitoes from her windowsill.
They were more than just imaginary best friends with priceless little secrets resting on their tongues like communal wafers. She felt his overwhelming presence on every sunny and rainy day, and it made her feel more than just happy to be alive. The girl was a beacon of joy and wonder.
By the age of thirteen shifts occurred, first with her collared father's nicotine habits, and then her mother's spending. The thirty-six-year-old wife with long slender legs and cherry hair started buying various pieces of fine art, scaled down to size and tacked with inspirational and highly irrelevant bible quotes. The girl began to notice the blankness in all of the saints' eyes as she passed them in her upstairs hallway. They were either too excited over being martyred or too vacant from long walks around in circles, pretending to listen. She asked Christ what was lacking in these well-respected artists' renderings, but he claimed to be too busy. "Ask again later" he would sigh, like a runny magic eight ball.
The girl started to become irritated with his lack of concern. Jesus was acting far too human and less than divine. She soon began to drift like her grinning classmates, folding their hands and kneeling out of habit instead of purpose. Genuflecting became like walking the dog around the block every morning, carrying plastic bags for the brown remains. She was coming to the realization of how utterly dulled down each and every one of her movements were. They were no longer solely for her humbled piece of mind, but rather some understated good that the girl was no longer seeing any benefits from. Self-preservation soon descended into the spectrum of her thoughts as both her parents argued over scheduled details and fine print.
It was at this time, amongst the overwhelming catcalls and gossipy entrails of her fellow students, that the girl bought her first set of headphones. Drowning out the sound of her own thoughts as well as the audio larceny of others was the sanest act the girl could think of doing, soon using her father's personal computer to illegally download translucent hymns to fill the void. Love became an exaggerated concept, but nevertheless one that the girl could still find some vague understanding of, as pop music readily consumed her free moments.
An addiction then started to grow for sparkly publications full of airbrushed pin-ups with toothy smiles. The girl was particularly fond of a young heartthrob named Fin. His rebellious glare and fuck-all attitude made her want to touch herself; an act that systematically worked itself out every Wednesday evening when her parents left for couple's therapy. The girl would usually feel seasick following her hourly dabs in impurity, and yet couldn't bring herself to stop. She would anxiously wait each and every week for the rumbling click of the garage door; her father's exhaust pipe releasing smoke that rivaled the knowledge of a thousand modern Edens.
And she would feel smart and centered by the end, before casually apologizing to the ghostlike remains of her faith, and completing her final arithmetic problems. The first few stains would be heartfelt, before their subtle accumulation made the girl wonder. Was anyone even bothering to notice her mistakes anymore?